Meet The A-Team: A Guide to Fox News' Health Care “Experts”
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.
Fox's “Medical A-Team”
Dr. Marc Siegel
Siegel: “Obamacare Is A Cancer On The Health Care System And On Our Economy.” On the October 15 edition of Hannity, Marc Siegel claimed that Obamacare “is a cancer on the health care system and on the economy.” [Fox News, Hannity, 10/15/13, via Media Matters]
Siegel Seized On Story Of Canadian Baby To Fearmonger About Health Care In U.S. On the February 24 edition of Fox & Friends, Siegel used the story of a 13-month old Canadian baby in a permanent vegetative state to fearmonger about health care reform. Siegel claimed that, unlike in Canada, parents in the United States have the freedom to make decisions about their children's health, but that “we're worried about” issues such as health care rationing “happening here.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/24/11]
Siegel: “The More People Are Insured, ... The More Difficult It Will Be To Keep Your Doctor.” In an October 31 National Review Online op-ed, Siegel claimed Obamacare would lead to a shortage of doctors, longer waits for services, and inadequate health care:
The more people are insured, the more “comprehensive” the coverage, the less doctors are paid per patient, the more difficult it will be to keep your doctor.
The idea of keeping your insurance plan was also more presidential propaganda and never realistic
What a mess. The federal government may be able to build bridges and (sometimes) to fight wars effectively, but its officials are certainly not experts in the health-insurance business. If President Obama recognized that a segment of the population was underserved in terms of health care, he could have suggested hiring the doctors and building the clinics to serve them. Instead, he has moved America in the direction of the Canadian system, where there are several-month waits for basic technology, and emergency medical care is often inadequate. [National Review Online, 10/31/13]
Siegel: When You Start Paying Doctors For Quality, “Quality Of Care Will Go Down.” On the October 30 edition of America's News HQ, Siegel baselessly predicted a nationwide doctor shortage because of Obamacare. He added that Obamacare wants to pay doctors for quality of patient care instead of services rendered, positing that “quality of care will go down” as a result. [Fox News, America's News HQ,10/30/13, via Media Matters]
Siegel On “Rationed Care” Under Health Reform: "[I]n A Way, It's A Form Of Eugenics." Discussing “rationed care” that he said would occur under health care reform, Siegel asserted: “There's going to be more people trying to get in [to my office]. I'm going to have less and less time to take care of them. Reimbursements to doctors and hospitals are being cut. If I'm being paid less, I got to work faster. That means I send more and more people for expensive tests. He's going to try to cost cut, which means he's going to ration care. So he's going to tell me what I can order, what I can't.” After co-host Steve Doocy suggested that “unfairly, the elderly are the ones who are going to get shortchanged,” Siegel responded:
“That's so true. I mean, in a way, it's a form of eugenics: 'Oh, you're not good enough to live.' ” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/22/09]
Siegel: “Too Many People Have” Health Insurance. On the October 28 edition of Fox's Hannity, Marc Siegel told host Sean Hannity “heath care is in trouble” because of Obamacare. He explained that America has a health care problem and not a health insurance problem, adding “too many people have” health insurance. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/28/13, via Media Matters]
Dr. David Samadi
Samadi Advocates Higher Insurance Costs For Women. On the August 27 edition of Fox & Friends Dr. David Samdi claimed women should pay higher health care costs despite new ACA regulations against insurance discrimination because women go to the doctor more. He added: “Guys, you know, we don't like to go to doctors. ... it's the women that bring the guys and say, 'Go get screened.'” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/27/13, via Media Matters]
Dr. Manny Alvarez
Alvarez Invents Notion That Health Care Reform Provision Means Tylenol “Has To Go Behind The Counter” At Pharmacies. On America's Newsroom, Alvarez claimed that a provision n one of the bills that would become the health care law, the use of medical spending account money on non-prescription medications would restrict consumers' ability to access over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol:
[I]f you want to deduct a bottle of Tylenol, if you want to deduct a bottle -- diapers, if you want to deduct anything like that through your flexible account, you have to go to a physician, and of course, this is now madness. ... Not only labels, it has to go behind the counter. So you have to go to the pharmacist and say, 'Here's my prescription for Tylenol,' and he has to have it behind the counter and then he gives it to you. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/9/11, via Media Matters]
Alvarez: “I Don't Buy” Stats On Americans With Pre-Existing Medical Conditions, “The Math Doesn't Add Up.” On the January 18 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Alvarez attempted to cast doubt on a government study showing high numbers of Americans with pre-existing conditions:
JON SCOTT (host): All right, here's what you need, another government study. Last hour we talked about this new government study that finds up to half of you, half of all Americans under the age of 65 could have a pre-existing medical condition, the kind that may disqualify you from getting health private insurance. Dr. Manny Alvarez is here to bring us his medical fact check he is senior managing editor FoxNewsHealth.com and a member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. You don't buy this?
ALVAREZ: I don't buy this. I mean, come on, this is a couple of days before a very serious vote in Congress. Look, pre-existing medical conditions is a reality. They've been around for a long, long time. You know, this is something we have been talking about -- rates of diabetes, obesity, hypertension, you get the whole thing. But to say 129 million people have pre-existing conditions that may put you at risk for losing your insurance is a little bit of hot air in my opinion.
You know, we see pre-existing conditions all the time in the hospitals and a lot of the hospitals are being -- beds are filled with patients that come in with uncontrollable diabetes, and we still have issues with smoking and excessive alcohol drinking. All of that is true. But for sure, the math doesn't add up. I mean, if that would be the case, these 129 million Americans would have lost their insurance a long time ago, and I don't think that that's the case. [Fox News, Happening Now, 1/18/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's “Health Care Experts”
Dr. Ben Carson
Carson on Obamacare: “It Is Slavery, In A Way.” During an October 11 speech during the Values Voters' Summit Fox's Ben Carson attacked Obamacare, describing it as “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. He added, ”it is slavery in a way." [Values Voter Summit, 10/11/13, via Media Matters]
Carson Defends Comparing Obamacare To Slavery Because It's “Real Close To The Truth.” Fox contributor defended his controversial remarks on Obamacare on the October 27 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ. Instead of walking back his description of Obamacare as “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” the former neurosurgeon claimed his remarks were “real close to the truth.” [Fox News, America's News HQ, 10/27/13, via Media Matters]
Carson Uses His First Official Fox Appearance To Invoke Socialism In Attack On ACA. On the October 10 edition of the Kelly File, Carson -- in his first appearance as a Fox News contributor -- likened the Affordable Care Act to socialism using a quote wrongly attributed to former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin (emphasis added):
CARSON: It's not terribly surprising. Because if you read Saul Alinsky's book Rules For Radicals, it talks about the need to ridicule. It also talks about never having a real conversation with your adversary because that humanizes them, and your job is the demonize them. And therefore we see people coming out and saying about those who oppose Obamacare, for instance, that they want older people to die, that they want kids to be deprived of food. You know, all these things are just straight out of the text. And what's really interesting is, you know, Vladimir Lenin, one of the founders of socialism and communism, he said socialized medicine is the keystone of the arch to the socialist state. In other words, you've got to get the socialized medicine as the foundation because it gives you control of the people. Once you have control of them, you can do what you want. [Fox News, Kelly File, 10/10/13, via Media Matters]
McCaughey Originated The “Death Panel” Smear. In an appearance on the Fred Thompson show, McCaughey claimed the health care bill would “require” seniors to receive end-of-life counseling, later saying the House version of the bill would “pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely. The smear later evolved into the false claim that the ACA contains ”death panels." [Media Matters, 3/22/11]
McCaughey Hypes Myth That Obamacare Will Harm Medicare Recipients. On the October 25 edition of The Kelly File, McCaughey falsely claimed that ACA took money from Medicare to expand Medicaid, likening it 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.
MEGYN KELLY (host): 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, Kelly File, 10/25/13, via Media Matters]
McCaughey Claimed Obama Was “Sentenc[ing] Seniors To Less Care And Shorter Lives” With CMS Nomination. McCaughey reacted to President Obama's announcement that Donald Berwick would become the new head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by tweeting, “Obama sentences seniors to less care and shorter lives with Berwick appointment.” [Twitter, 7/7/10, via Media Matters]
McCaughey: The ACA Is A Plot To Create A “Beholden” Democrat Majority. In an Investor's Business Daily column, McCaughey claimed that funds designated for outreach and education is actually “going to build Democratic Party enrollment”:
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. [Investor's Business Daily, 6/18/13]
Peter Johnson Jr.
Johnson: ACA “May Be One In A Line Of Great American Product Failures.” On the October 22 edition of Fox & Friends Peter Johnson Jr. compared Obamacare's roll out to “epic product failures” like the Betamax video player, the Edsel, and “Touch of Yogurt” shampoo. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/22/13]
Johnson Suggests Health Care Reform Is “A Subtle Form Of Euthanasia.” On the July 27 edition of Fox & Friends, Johnson suggested that the ACA is “a subtle form of euthanasia”:
JOHNSON: Some people are saying, well, this is a health care reform, other people say -- maybe me -- that this is a subtle form of euthanasia. And when you start looking at the proposals, you say, God, what's happening? One of the proposals, Section 1233, talks about advanced care planning consultations. And that's a fancy term where a doctor goes to you every five years once you're 65, or more if you're chronically ill, and explains to you the benefits of so-called palliative care, of not giving active treatment."
Johnson later added, “The hospital room becomes the waiting room -- you know, do not go gently into that good night.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/27/09]
Johnson: The Affordable Care Act Is “The Government Deciding Who Will Live, Who Will Die.” On Fox & Friends, Johnson distorted a quote from President Obama to claim that the ACA is “the government deciding who will live, who will die” and asking “is that what this plan is about? To save money by killing old people?” [Fox News,Fox & Friends, 6/25/13]
Fox Also Turns To Its “Economic Experts” To Misinform About Health Care
Fox's Hayes: Next Obamacare “Glitch” Could Cost You A Liver. On the October 1 edition of Fox News' Special Report, contributor Stephen Hayes claimed the “glitches” on the Obamacare cite could be emblematic of larger problems with the president's health care law. He claimed in the future glitches might not be computer based, but “your glitch is you want a liver transplant--or you need a liver transplant and you can't get it because there's a bureaucratic problem, or a computer problem, or a billing problem.” [Fox News, Special Report, 10/1/13, via Media Matters]
Fox's Varney Denies Problem Of Bare-Bones Insurance Policies. On the October 31 edition of Fox & Friends, Stuart Varney called the claim that some people have bare bones insurance “flat out outrageous,” adding “this is right from the game plan as usual” to pick an enemy and demonize them. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/31/13, via Media Matters]
Fox's Moore Moves The Goal Posts After Finding Out ACA Does Not Increase Part-Time Work. On the October 23 edition of America's News HQ, Fox News contributor Stephen Moore claimed that “we are going to probably see” part-time employment numbers increase next year, instead of this year as he previously claimed. Moore claimed that it will happen next year “because that's when the Obama requirements really take effect.” [Fox News, America's News HQ, 10/23/13, via Media Matters]