Fox News allowed the president of Koch brothers-funded Generation Opportunity, which has created a series of anti-Obamacare ads, to characterize the organization as “independent” and funded by “a variety of donors.”
On the December 9 edition of Fox News' On The Record, host Greta Van Susteren played a new attack ad from Generation Opportunity, which encouraged young Americans to “opt out” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After providing Generation Opportunity President Evan Feinberg a platform to promote his organization and attack the ACA, Van Susteren asked, “Where do you get the money,” specifically inquiring whether Generation Opportunity is funded by any “influential group.” Feinberg maintained that Generation Opportunity is “an independent organization”:
VAN SUSTEREN: Where do you get the money, because that looked like a pretty expensive ad. Where do you get the money?
FEINBERG: Oh, we've got a variety of donors, and we're just focused on working with people across the country who care deeply about helping our generation to fight for our own freedom.
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I ask why, you know, I'm wondering if there is some very influential group that funds you and sort of, that, as a consequence you've got to take some marching orders from some other group, or how independent are you?
FEINBERG: Oh no, we're an independent organization that's able to fight for our peers and you see these ads are really creative opportunities to very inexpensively reach millions of young people.
Feinberg omitted one important detail: Generation Opportunity is financed by conservative billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch. The organization received $5.04 million from “Freedom Partners,” a conservative lobbying group funded by the Koch brothers.
This funding is responsible for the organization's new series of anti-Obamacare ads that employ a “Creepy Uncle Sam” to incite fear and encourage young people to opt-out of the healthcare law without including any actual information about the law itself.
Generation Opportunity's ads are more than scary, they're dangerous. While insurers are required to cover people with pre-existing health conditions under the ACA, coverage isn't available all the time. Those seeking insurance through the exchanges can sign up only during the open enrollment period, which starting next year will run from approximately October 15 -- December 7 annually. Exceptions are made for qualifying life events like marriage or birth of child -- not for sudden illnesses or accidents.
Young adults who opt out of insurance coverage will be responsible for the full costs of any injuries or illness. And when the average hospital stay or treatment for a broken leg is approximately $10,000 without insurance, footing the bill would likely be unaffordable.
Like the Koch brothers' group, Fox has also encouraged young adults to forego signing up for health insurance. The network's anti-Obamacare campaign has relied upon ignoring the fact that many young adults are eager to buy health insurance under new ACA provisions.