On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its support of a federal appeals court ruling that would overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety. Fox News barely covered the Trump administration’s decision.
In December, a federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors that would nullify the entire ACA. The Trump administration had previously supported striking down the consumer protections in the health care law -- including those for people with pre-existing conditions -- but had argued other provisions, such as Medicaid expansion, could still stand. This latest and sudden reversal of the administration’s position would put more than 20 million Americans’ health insurance at risk and allow private insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
The day after the DOJ’s announcement, cable news devoted four hours and six minutes of coverage across Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC combined. Throughout the day, Fox News spent just 19 minutes and 34 seconds covering the administration’s attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act. By contrast, CNN and MSNBC spent nearly two hours each covering the news.
Coverage of the DOJ’s attempts to legally undermine the ACA in particular, and health care policy in general, has consistently been lacking. In June, when the department initially announced it would not defend coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, cable news barely covered the story.
Media Matters searched the SnapStream video database for transcripts of CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC that aired March 26, 2019, between 4 a.m. and midnight that contained any of the following terms: “Affordable Care Act,” ” ACA," “Obamacare,” “Obama care,” “healthcare,” or “health care."