Fox News regularly turns to serial misinformers and right-wing activists to analyze the Affordable Care Act. Here is a guide to Fox's health care "experts" and their history of misinformation.
ABC's The View hosted Betsy McCaughey to attack the Affordable Care Act (ACA), praising her as a "health care policy expert" and ignoring her history of misinformation, including inventing the persistent lie that the health care law contains "death panels."
On the October 29 edition of The View, co-host Barbara Walters introduced a segment with McCaughey by calling her a "health care policy expert" and asking if health care consumers "were not told the truth by the Obama administration," saying, "they are about to lose their current medical plans and they don't know what they are getting instead." The View provided no background about McCaughey aside from naming her as the author of a book opposing the ACA.
McCaughey, who is by no means a "health care policy expert," has no credibility to comment on the ACA. In 2009, during the legislative debate over the bills that would later become the ACA, McCaughey distorted language in the House version of the bill to claim that it would "absolutely require -- that every five years, people in Medicare have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner, how to decline nutrition, how to decline being hydrated, how to go in to hospice care." McCaughey's misinformation was echoed throughout the right-wing media, leading to the lie that the ACA contains "death panels" that will judge whether patients are deserving of life-preserving care.
McCaughey's history of health care misinformation doesn't end at death panels. In fact, during her appearance on The View, she solicited a question about senior care in order to push another of her debunked health care claims: that the ACA cuts benefits for Medicare patients. McCaughey has long pushed this false claim, consistently ignoring the fact that the ACA explicitly stipulates that guaranteed Medicare benefits will not be affected.
Fox News guest and serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act will harm the elderly "by eviscerating Medicare." In reality, the ACA does not cut Medicare benefits, and the law actually strengthens aspects of the program.
On the October 25 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File, McCaughey claimed that the ACA "is designed to vastly expand Medicaid and pay for it by eviscerating Medicare," which she likened to "robbing Grandma to spread the wealth":
MCCAUGHEY: This law, as written, is designed to vastly expand Medicaid and pay for it by eviscerating Medicare, taking $700 billion out of Medicare and moving it over to fund this expansion of this entitlement. It's like robbing Grandma to spread the wealth.
KELLY: Why would they want to vastly expand Medicaid?
MCCAUGHEY: Because they believe in a single payer system, and Medicaid is a single payer system. This is a way of vastly shifting resources in this country from one group of people, the elderly, to another group of people.
Fox News greeted the opening of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges on October 1 with lies about the law. Contrary to Fox guest and serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey's claims, Congress does not get a "special subsidy" for health insurance, the law does not cut Medicare benefits, and plans offered on the exchanges will provide a variety of benefits.
During her first week as a Fox News host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck ran daily "Eyes On Obamacare" segments that pushed falsehoods and myths about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
On September 16, Hasselbeck hosted FoxBusiness.com reporter Kate Rogers to spread fear about some insurers dropping out of some states' individual health care markets, alleging that the law would increase the cost of health insurance.
But a report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation early in September found that the cost of obtaining health insurance will be lower than expected:
This report -based on 17 states and the District of Columbia that have made data publicly available -provides a preview of how premiums will vary across the country, and how much consumers in different circumstances will actually pay after taking into account the tax credits available under the ACA.
While premiums will vary significantly across the country, they are generally lower than expected. For example, we estimate that the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office imply that the premium for a 40-year-old in the second lowest cost silver plan would average $320 per month nationally. Fifteen of the eighteen rating areas we examined have premiums below this level, suggesting that the cost of coverage for consumers and the federal budgetary cost for tax credits will be lower than anticipated.
The Department of Health and Human Services also released a report on September 16 that shows 56 percent of uninsured Americans could obtain health insurance for less than $100 per month. From the report's press release:
A new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that 56 percent, or nearly six in ten of the people who don't have health insurance today may be able to get coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for less than $100 per month.
Of the 41.3 million individuals who are uninsured and eligible for coverage, 23.2 million (56 percent) may qualify for Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, or tax credits to purchase coverage for $100 or less per month. The amount an individual will save on premiums depends on their family income and size. Today's report uses data about family income and size from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to estimate the number of uninsured individuals who will qualify for lower costs on monthly premiums.
Today's report also shows that if all 50 states took advantage of new options to expand Medicaid coverage, nearly 8 out of every 10 people (78 percent) who currently do not have insurance could be paying less than $100 a month for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. While some states are expanding their Medicaid programs in 2014, other states are not doing so.
Fox News and serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey are baselessly stoking fears that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will force doctors to ask "intrusive" sexual history questions that are already standard medical practice.
In a New York Post op-ed, McCaughey claimed that the health care law will "turn doctors into government agents" by requiring them to ask supposedly "intrusive" questions about their patients' sexual history. McCaughey's op-ed, which cited no evidence to support her claims, was parroted by Fox & Friends First co-host Ainsley Earhardt who said, "Thanks to Obamacare, doctors will be forced to ask patients about their sex life, even if it has nothing to do with the medical treatment that they are seeking at the time":
As Wonkette pointed out, McCaughey offered no evidence for her claims that the ACA changes existing practices. In fact, despite her fearmongering, sexual history questions are routine medical practice. The Centers For Disease Control calls such questions "an important part of a regular medical exam or physical history" and recommends that "[a] sexual history needs to be taken during a patient's initial visit, during routine preventive exams, and when you see signs of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)." In fact, the very questions that McCaughey claims doctors will now be pressured to ask are the exact questions the CDC recommends doctors ask their patients.
Right-wing media have attempted to manufacture the claim that President Obama is abusing executive power by delaying implementation of the health care law's employer mandate and directing federal prosecutors to avoid maximum drug sentences in some cases, despite the legality of both practices.
Right-wing media have invented several conspiracy theories to attack the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill, including claiming that the legislation provides free cars and cell phones for undocumented immigrants, and that it is a secret plot to create a permanent one-party system reminiscent of Marxist Russian premier Vladimir Lenin.
Right-wing media have adopted Betsy McCaughey's unfounded conspiracy theory that immigration reform, like health care reform, is a secret plot to create a permanent one-party system, reminiscent of Marxist Russian premier Vladimir Lenin. Like her health care fearmongering, McCaughey has no evidence to support her charges.
Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, has a long history of pushing conspiracy theories about health care reform, including that the bill's outreach provisions are designed to create a "beholden" Democratic majority. In an interview with The Daily Caller's Ginni Thomas, McCaughey revived the same baseless attacks on the Senate immigration proposal, claiming that "you can count on" third party outreach groups to register immigrants as Democrats. Later in the interview, McCaughey claimed President Obama was using the bill to "elevat[e] community organizations to a fifth branch of government without any of the rules that limit what the other branches can do." McCaughey went on to claim the tactics were similar to those used by Lenin.
McCaughey's baseless conspiracy theory was picked up by Andrea Tantaros, co-host of Fox News' The Five, who cited McCaughey to call the bill a "Christmas tree of carve-outs for lobbyists," claiming, "she says that it funnels money to groups like La Raza, community organizing groups, takes the authority away from the DHS and lets them handle the amnesty process":
Of course, the text of the bill limits the scope of activities for which organizations can use federal funding.
Serial health care misinformer and right-wing media figure Betsy McCaughey pushed the conspiracy theory that health care outreach efforts are a secret plan to register voters as Democrats.
In an Investor's Business Daily column, McCaughey attacked grants that fund outreach and education about President Obama's health care law. McCaughey claimed, "The lion's share of the money is going for what the exchange budget terms 'outreach.' In truth, the money is going to build Democratic Party enrollment." She continued:
Assisters will also guide the uninsured to sign up for whatever non-health social services they may be eligible for, including welfare, food stamps and housing assistance, according to the manual prepared by the Community Health Councils for California's implementation.
Anyone who remembers the days of James Curley, Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall gets the picture. If you were poor or a newcomer to this country, you went to the local ward boss and got whatever you needed in exchange for your vote.
The difference is that back then, politics was local. Now the Obama health law is institutionalizing this corrupt style of politics across the country. Whether you live in California or New York, local community activists and unions will be recruiting people to enroll in ObamaCare and sign up to be part of the permanent, beholden Democratic voting majority.
McCaughey is not the first right-wing media figure to push this claim despite lack of evidence to support it. Fox News host Megyn Kelly and contributor Michelle Malkin have both attacked outreach efforts in an attempt to push a political agenda. Rush Limbaugh also claimed that officials employed by the government to help Americans evaluate health care options will register voters as Democrats and "smear Republicans." But outreach efforts for health care legislation are not new -- the State Health Insurance Assistance Program has been conducting similar outreach for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.
McCaughey has a long history of misinforming about health care, including the claim that the health care law will lead to euthanizing seniors, that the law contains "death panels," and that it will limit preventive care
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to "crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America" that will showcase "all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers." Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference's speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.
Serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey appeared on Fox News to continue pushing debunked falsehoods about the health care reform bill, including claims that the government will dictate care and that employees will be forced into a "one-size-fits-all" health care plan.
Appearing on the January 14 edition of Fox & Friends to promote her upcoming book, Beating Obamacare -- which she said is "a no-spin, easy-to-understand guide" to the law -- McCaughey claimed that employees who gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act would be given a "government-mandated one-size-fits-all plan." McCaughey further claimed health care exchanges will "only sell the government mandated plan" like "a dealership that sells four-door sedans." McCaughey also repeated the falsehood that the ACA "puts the federal government in charge of your health care for the first time."
But despite co-host Gretchen Carlson's promotion of McCaughey's claims, all of them have been thoroughly debunked. The health care bill doesn't create "one-size-fits-all" health care plans but does require plans to provide a minimum level of coverage. There is nothing in the law which prohibits insurers from offering additional benefits above the basic requirements.
In addition, McCaughey's suggestion that the exchanges would only offer one plan is absurd. The entire purpose of the exchanges is to provide a market where consumers are offered a choice of affordable plans. In fact, the ability of exchanges to provide competition is one reason they were endorsed by the American Medical Association:
Fox News is promoting another legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act that originated in a right-wing think-tank and was hyped by conservative blogs. The State of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit based on a problematic theory that alleges tax credits within federally-run health insurance marketplaces called "exchanges" are unauthorized, which was developed by Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and National Review Online contributing editor and Case Western Reserve University School of Law professor Jonathan H. Adler. But Fox News has not only failed to report the extensive debunking of this tax credit theory, it has also mischaracterized this challenge to tax credits offered in exchanges as a "serious" constitutional one, although the new constitutional arguments are even more far-fetched than the original statutory claims.
Fox hosted serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey to push false and misleading claims about health care reform, following announcements from some Republican governors that they have decided not to create state-run health insurance exchanges.
Fox & Friends hosted serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey to promote the bogus claim that President Obama's health care reform legislation will increase the federal deficit by causing health care costs to balloon.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will decrease the deficit and that repealing the act will increase the deficit. However, on Fox & Friends, McCaughey, a former New York Lieutenant Governor, claimed that such deficit reduction estimates are wrong.
McCaughey was echoing her recent Wall Street Journal op-ed in which she claimed that estimates by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) showed that estimates that the ACA would reduce the deficit are a "shell game."
But McCaughey's claims are based on cherry-picking and distortions of the CMS data.
McCaughey suggested that, based on CMS projections, the ACA will cause health expenditures to "rise to 19.6% in 2021 from 17.9% in 2010," which in turn will cause federal spending to increase. But, in 2009, a year before the ACA was passed, CMS' ten-year projections estimated health expenditures in 2019 being 19.3% of GDP, their 2011 projections, a year after the ACA was passed, shows the 2019 estimate at 18.9%, or 0.4% less than their estimate from before the ACA.
And CBO has already taken into account the fact that the ACA will cause government spending on health care to increase. In its latest estimate on the cost of repealing the law, CBO stated: "The ACA contains a set of provisions designed to expand health insurance coverage, which, on net, are projected to cost the government money." The CBO then adds that these increases in government spending are more than offset by other provisions in the law, meaning that, on balance, the ACA lowers the deficit.