Fox News' ACA Delay Freakout Ignores History

››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

Fox News attacked the Obama administration for announcing a delay to the Affordable Care Act that resembles administration delays by other presidents, such as President Bush's 2006 delay of the Medicare Part D penalty.

ACA Individual Mandate Deadline Delayed For Some People

NY Times: Obama Administration "To Extend Sign-Up Period" For Those With "Technical Problems With The Federal Exchange." On March 25, the Obama administration announced that the ACA's deadline for individuals to sign up for health insurance would be delayed for people whose efforts to enroll were stymied by Healthcare.gov's notorious early technical glitches.

Under the move planned by the administration, some people will be given a special enrollment period, beyond the deadline, if they can show they were not able to enroll because of an error by the federal exchange or by the Department of Health and Human Services. Federal officials allowed a special enrollment period, on a case-by-case basis, for some people who were unable to meet the Dec. 24, 2013, enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1 of this year. 

Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal insurance exchange, said Tuesday that the special enrollment period could be particularly helpful to people with special circumstances and complex cases. [New York Times3/25/14]

Bush Issued A Similar Delay During Medicare Part D Implementation

Bush Administration Waived Fees For Seniors Who Faced Enrollment Deadline Under Medicare Part D. A May 2006 McClatchy article pointed out steps taken under former President George W. Bush to waive penalties and extend enrollment deadlines for seniors under his Medicare Part D rollout:

With pressure mounting to extend next Monday's enrollment deadline for the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, the Bush administration took another small step in that direction Tuesday, waiving penalty fees for very low-income seniors and people with disabilities who sign up late.

[...]

The move follows a recent administration decision to allow the same impoverished beneficiaries to sign up for Medicare drug coverage until Dec. 31. [McClatchy, 5/9/06]

Fox Still Used the Delay Announcement To Attack The Law And The Obama Administration 

Fox's Kelly: Obamacare Mandate Has Been "Converted To A Promise Ring." On the March 25 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly criticized the limited extension granted by the administration, asking "Are you telling me that the Healthcare.gov website and signing up for [insurance] ... has now been converted to a promise ring?" Kelly continued her marriage metaphor, adding that "[y]ou don't have to walk down the aisle and get married. You don't even have to get the engagement ring, just a promise ring." [Fox News, The Kelly File3/25/14]

Fox's Rove: Delay Is "More About Making Certain The Administration's Not Embarrassed By The Enrollment Number." On the March 26 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Fox contributor Karl Rove claimed the extension "is politics," adding that "it's more about making certain the administration's not embarrassed by the enrollment number that was supposed to be generated on March 31st." [Fox News, Happening Now3/26/14]

Fox's Doocy: The Extension "Could Be Forever." On the March 26 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox co-host Steve Doocy falsely reported that Obama administration officials "don't know" how long the extension for people to sign up for insurance in the ACA's exchanges will be, claiming "it could be a month, it could be a week, it could be forever. " [Fox News, Fox & Friends3/26/14]

Fox Host Hemmer: "Deadline? What Deadline?" Fox host Bill Hemmer attacked the announced extension of the individual mandate during the March 26 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom. Hemmer claimed "the feds will not check whether people are telling the truth," later adding "we've entered the honor system." [Fox News, America's Newsroom3/26/14]

Fox Guest Blakeman: Issuing Delays Is "The New 'Too Big To Fail' " For Obamacare. America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum moderated a discussion between Fox's Alan Colmes and Republican strategist Brad Blakeman. After MacCallum hyped GOP proposals to delay the ACA during the 2012 presidential election, Blakeman claimed "this is the new 'too big to fail,' Obamacare." Blakeman explained that "as long as the American people are the ultimate underwriters" of this failed program they will "keep moving the goal post" with delays. [Fox News, America's Newsroom3/26/14]

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