“All Of Us Will Be Slaves” And Other Health Care Predictions That Haven't Come True

In the year leading up to and following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the right-wing media engaged in a campaign to spread fear about what could happen if health care reform passed. One year after the health care reform was signed into law, Media Matters looks back at the most egregious attempts by the right-wing media to scare the American public into opposing the legislation.

The America You Love Will Die

Progressives/Democrats/The Government Will Control Your Life

Progressives/Democrats/The Government Will Control All Your Health Decisions

You And/Or Your Grandmother Will Die

The American Health Care System Will Be Destroyed

The Economy Will Be Destroyed

The America You Love Will Die

America Will Be Transformed

Beck: “This Is The End Of Prosperity In America Forever ... The End Of America As You Know It.” Telling his radio audience, “You must not allow this to pass,” Glenn Beck stated in November 2009 that “they're going to get past that 60-vote barrier. And they'll get there by people like [Sen.] Joe Lieberman, who's a reasonable guy and has good intent. You'll get past it by people like that, who say, you know what? Look, we got to be reasonable; we have to have a debate. And then Harry Reid will go for the 51 count and he'll pass this thing. And it will be a nail in the coffin of America.” Beck added: “You must -- must get on the phone in your districts. You must wake everybody up you know. This is the end of prosperity in America forever if this bill passes. This is the end of America as you know it.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 11/19/09]

Beck: "[T]he Fundamental Transformation Of America Is Complete." On his radio program, Glenn Beck said: “Not only are they doing health care, but they are doing education in this same bill. Education and health care.” He added: “It is overwhelming the system. And I'm telling you, if this bill passes -- health care and education all in one bill -- if this passes, the fundamental transformation of America is complete. There's no going back from this point. It must not pass.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 3/15/10]

Moore: “This Is A Dark Day For America If We Pass This Bill.” Discussing the market reaction to passing the health bill, The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore said on Fox News: “I think personally -- I think that the markets have always thought for the last year and a half that eventually this day would come. And I think, by the way, this is a dark day for America if we pass this bill.” [Fox News, America's News HQ, 3/21/10]

Beck: “The Health Care Bill Is Reparations. It's The Beginning Of Reparations.” On the July 22 edition of his radio show, Beck claimed that “none of [Obama's] bills are about what he says they're about. The health care bill is reparations. It's the beginning of reparations...the medical schools will get more federal dollars if they have proven that they are putting minorities ahead.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 7/22/09]

Democracy Will Collapse And Be Replaced By Socialism

Quinn: “If They Pass Health Care ... That Is The End Of The Republic.” On the January 5 edition of The War Room, host Jim Quinn said: “Ladies and gentlemen, you have to understand that we are at a critical and pivotal moment in the history of the United States. If they pass health care, government health care, that is the end of the republic. That is the final nail in the coffin of the individual free human being. Once they own your body, they own everything. Once they can withhold health care from you, because you're too old, because you're too sick, or maybe 'cause they just don't like you -- did you ever think about that?” [Clear Channel, The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 01/05/10]

Beck: If Health Care Passes, We Will Lose “The Democratic Party To The Socialists.” On his March 19, 2010 Fox News program, Beck stated: “If this passes, I think it makes the election of people like Lindsey Graham, who are the compromise with big government, darn near impossible, because you can't tone this one down. You've got to pull this back by strong constitutionalists. Don't we -- if this passes, don't we lose, really, the Democratic Party to the socialists? And the Republican Party either has to be, you know, real federalists, real people that understand controlled power, or you are going to have a third party?” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/19/10]

Hannity: “If We Get Nationalized Health Care, It's Over; This Is Socialism.” In November 2009, Sean Hannity said, “When you look at the extreme czars, and you look at Barack Obama, and you look at the Barack Obama that portrayed himself one year ago as a very different candidate, you know, why -- I feel like I have been vindicated. I was excoriated for saying he is far more radical than people know. You know, what do you see about him? Do you think he is far -- do you think he's a socialist? Do you think he's -- because I think this is -- if we get nationalized health care, it's over. This is socialism, and that's a kind word.” [Fox News, Hannity, 11/2/09]

There Will Be Revolution And/Or Insurrection

Quinn: “You Are Going To See Insurrection. You're Going To See An Uprising.” On January 13, 2009, Quinn predicted that “if they pass this thing, you are going to see insurrection. You're going to see an uprising. People are just not going to take this. I mean, your taxes are going to go through the roof. It's going to be a bloodbath when people find out how much this is going to cost and for the first four years, they're not going to get anything.” [Clear Channel, The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 1/13/10]

Quinn: “The Response” To Passing Health Reform “Will Be Insurrection.” On his February 16, 2010 show, Quinn said Democrats are “so close to an all-encompassing, all-controlling paradigm here by which the government literally owns your body” and that “if they have to die in the fight, they will die in the fight. This is about establishing from now on and forever a socialist state in America, ripping the Constitution to shreds which progressives have hated for over 100 years. This -- they're so close. They ain't giving it up.” Quinn concluded: “The response to this, if they do it, will be insurrection.” [Clear Channel, The War Room with Quinn & Rose,2/16/10]


Progressives/Democrats/The Government Will Control Your Life

Beck: President Obama Will Be Able To “Control Every Aspect Of Your Life.” In March, 2010, Glenn Beck “warn[ed]” that if the bill “passes, the country is in real dire trouble.” He went on to say: “The pieces that the president needs to control every aspect of your life, to fundamentally transform America, will be finished. He'll have them all,” adding: “If health care does not pass, warning, those on the left are going to become violent.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 3/5/10]

Limbaugh: Democrats Will Regulate “Every Aspect Of Our Lives.” Rush Limbaugh stated in November 2009: “People have been either unwilling to accept or unwilling to believe just how radically left the current Democrat Party is. There is nothing remotely Democratic about this bunch. There is no democracy going on here.” He added: “They don't care what we think ... because they don't think we have the power to stop them. And when this passes, they will have even more power, regulating every aspect of our lives because they believe in their minds and hearts that we have no competence whatsoever to lead our own lives and make our own decisions.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/20/09]

Beck: “If You Can Be Deemed Someone Who Maybe Shouldn't Have A Baby, They Can Have Their People Come In.” Beck said on the March 16, 2010 broadcast of his Fox News show: “You know and I know in this 2,300-page bill that includes education, the control that this government has is endless. They will -- if this passes, they will control every aspect of your life.” Beck further said: “They will be able to -- there is places in here that if you can be deemed someone who maybe shouldn't have a baby, they can have their people come in. The government is in our homes on this.” [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/16/10]

Quinn: Health Care Reform Is “All About Limiting Your Rights.” On January 12, Quinn said about the health care reform bill:

[It is]all about limiting your rights, trust me. It's all about limiting your rights. Yep, wait until what you love starts to impact on their system. That's right. Wait until what you love, whether it's the Second Amendment, or whether it's riding a motorcycle, whether it's being a gay man and engaging in gay sex, which is demonstrably -- at least some of it is -- a rather unsanitary act in many cases, and it could impact on our health care system. Now, I can't imagine the health care system coming after a preferred group, at this point, like gays, but you know what? Sooner or later, when the money starts to run out, they are the government after all, and you're not. [Clear Channel, The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 01/12/10]

Limbaugh: “Obamacare” Will “Smother The Individual,” Is “Aimed At Robbing You Of Your Humanity,” And “All Of Us Will Be Slaves.” In September, 2009, Limbaugh asserted that Democrats' goal in passing health care reform is “to smother the individual,” and that it's “aimed at robbing you of your humanity and forcing you to bow down to the state. If you feel sick, you need a procedure, need a prescription, you're going to be thinking about the government.” Limbaugh claimed that “you are going to be relying on government for your survival,” and that people will “need permission from the government” to have treatment. He continued: “It's not going to be a matter of whether you can or cannot pay. It won't be a matter of whether you have coverage or don't have coverage. What'll matter is that all of us will be slaves; we'll become slaves to the arbitrary and inhumane decisions of distant bureaucrats working in Washington where there's no competition, nobody you can go to if you don't like what you hear from the bureaucrats that you have to deal with.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/30/09]

Limbaugh: Health Care Reform “Is The Entrée To Controlling Every Aspect Of Your Life.” On the May 13, 2009 edition of his show, Limbaugh claimed “If they get national health care, it is the entree to controlling every aspect of your life, because they will be able to say and attach every behavior to some health malady or health risk.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/13/09]

Limbaugh: If Health Care Passes, “The Concept Of Individual Freedom And Liberty Will Have Been Obliterated.” On the June 3, 2009 edition of his show, Limbaugh claimed:

Here's the real problem with nationalized health care, and I made a big point of this in my interview today with Sean Hannity, which was about 40 minutes. It's going to air two parts tonight and tomorrow on his Fox News Channel show at 9PM ET. If the Democrats get national health care, the concept of individual freedom and liberty will have been obliterated. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/03/09]

Limbaugh: The Legislation Allows The Government “To Have Access To Your Bank Account.” On the August 27, 2009 edition of his show, Limbaugh said: “If this bill passes, I'm glad you asked the question. They're going to have access to your bank account... They're going to have digital online access to your bank account. I mean there are hideous things in this piece of legislation.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/27/09]

Hemmer: “Could People Be Going To Jail For Not Owning Health Insurance?” On March 19, Fox News host Bill Hemmer said: “The mandate would tell Americans you've got to buy health insurance, if not you could be fined, and I guess eventually that could lead to prison. I mean, this -- the way you understand it right now, could people be going to jail for not owning health insurance?” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 3/19/10]


Progressives/Democrats/The Government Will Control All Your Health Decisions

Restating The President's Remarks As Though “He Were Telling The Truth,” Limbaugh Asserted: Government Won't Take Over Health Care, It'll Just Control It Entirely. During a September 2009 broadcast, Limbaugh pretended to show how one of Obama's speeches on health reform “if he were telling the truth, would have gone.” Limbaugh said:

We're only cutting over $500 billion from the already bankrupt program because there are other people, apart from our seniors, who need health care, too. Everyone has to sacrifice, particularly mom and dad, granddad, grandmom -- but they won't mind. That doesn't mean, of course, that we're going to ration care. We would never do that. We love our seniors. ... And what's all this talk about the government taking over health care? More fear-mongering by the special interests. No, what's going to happen is that we will oversee the insurance companies to make sure they don't cheat and rip you off. That's right. The same politicians and bureaucracy that stole trillions from the Social Security trust fund to pay for ever more spending -- and the same politicians and bureaucracy that stole trillions of dollars from the Medicare trust fund -- will use their carefully honed skills and experience to ensure that the private insurance companies treat you fairly. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/10/09]

Siegel: “Under ObamaCare, Guidelines Will Quickly Become Mandates.” In a November 2009 New York Post column, Marc Siegel wrote that the new mammogram guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mean that “under ObamaCare, guidelines will quickly become mandates, and patients will routinely face the choice of paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket or accept higher risks of cancer. It will take government bureaucrats years to admit mistakes, if they ever do -- and by that time thousands of women will have needlessly gotten sick or even died of cancer.” He also stated that “All the major 'reform' bills create lots of new panels and other bureaucrats empowered to 'suggest' things doctors shouldn't do -- and even to penalize doctors who order 'too many' tests.” [New York Post, 11/19/09]


You And/Or Your Grandmother Will Die

Palin Suggested That Under “Evil” Democratic Health Care Reform, “My Baby With Down Syndrome Will Have To Stand In Front Of Obama's 'Death Panel.' ” On August 7, 2009, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin suggested that under health care reform, “my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's ”death panel." From Palin's Facebook page:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Health care by definition involves life and death decisions. Human rights and human dignity must be at the center of any health care discussion. [Sarah Palin Facebook post, 8/7/09]

Malkin: Health Care Reform “Puts A Discount On The Lives Of Elderly People.” Discussing AARP's support for health care reform on the July 30, 2009 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin stated, “The AARP just held a tele-town hall supporting Obama on his health care takeover plans, and this is at odds, it seems to me, with the best interests of millions of AARP members, given that that health care plan puts a discount on the lives of elderly people and would result in the redistribution of health away from the elderly and the infirm to other special favored interests and patients.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/30/09]

Limbaugh: Bill Will “Hasten” Granny's Death. After airing audio clips of Obama saying, “I don't think we're going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately” and “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan,” Limbaugh stated on the March 19, 2010 broadcast of his show: “Yet he's out there saying, 'Oh, these people are throwing every scare tactic in the world; it's a government takeover of health care; granny is gonna die.' It is a government takeover of health care and granny is gonna die. Granny always dies at some point -- we all do. It's gonna be hastened under this bill. And it is a government takeover. They're lying through their teeth.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/19/10]

Morris Said He Was “100 Percent Positive” Obama Will Create Panels To “Curb Medical Care To The Elderly.” On the March 3, 2010 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Dick Morris said what Obama “has in mind is curbing medical care to the elderly,” and that he's “going to set up a panel” to determine treatment. Morris said he's “100 percent positive” this will happen. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/03/10]

Cal Thomas: The Government Will Deny Care To “Granny” Because “She's Costing Too Much.” On March 20, 2010, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas said on Fox News: “There has been more baloney sold in Washington today than is available at your local supermarket. The president says they're not going to pull the plug on granny. No, but they will deny her care because she's costing too much and she's too old.” [Fox News, America's News HQ, 3/20/10]

Cal Thomas Claimed Health Reform “Is An Outrage” And “A Sham”; “Euthanasia Is Coming.”On the November 21 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, Thomas said the health bill is “a triumph of the humanistic, atheistic philosophy. Instead of being endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, those rights are going to be taken away by bureaucrats who will decide whether you get a hip replacement or a heart bypass, based on your age and your ability to pay more taxes.” He continued:

It is an outrage. It is a sham. Euthanasia is coming. You can call them death panels. That's exactly what they're going to be. We are going to really be sorry for this, but, unfortunately, when the guy in the white robe comes to give us our little pill, as President Obama told ABC, the 100-year-old woman who wants to live must get in order to make it equal for everybody and not to spend so much, it will be too late. [Fox News, America's News HQ, 11/21/09]

Limbaugh: “Human Beings Will Die Earlier Than Normal” Under “Freedom Killing” And “Life Threatening” Health-Care Reform. On the November 9, 2009 broadcast of his show, Limbaugh said the “whole bill is about death” and “rationing.” He continued: “It is the single greatest tool the government will have to regulate every aspect of behavior. This is a freedom killing, and it is going to end up being a life-threatening bill. Human beings will die earlier than normal, earlier than necessary because of this bill. There will be bureaucratic institutions, bureaucracies, which will make decisions on who gets treated and what kind of treatment they get, and who doesn't get treated.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/09/09]

Baker Warned That Health Reform Would Lead To Euthanasia For Overweight People. Guest-hosting The Glenn Beck Program, Chris Baker suggested on November 9, 2009 that health reform will lead to overweight people going to jail or being put to death: “Sir, you're overweight. What? Yes, sir, you are overweight, we're going to have to require you to lose weight. And if you don't lose weight on your own, we're going to send you to a fat camp and make you lose the weight. And if you still don't lose the weight, then you know, we're just going to have to ... put you in jail. And if you don't lose the weight in jail, sir, I don't know what else to do. Maybe some end-of-life counseling might be good. I mean, I remember a woman that got -- that was greased by Dr. Kevorkian because she was fat.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 11/09/09]

Limbaugh: When You Turn 65, “Hello Death Panels.” In October 2009, Limbaugh told a caller that it's “not good” that she's 50 years old. According to Limbaugh:

[I]f they get it done -- it will not be implemented until 2013 so that Obama will not face a revolt in the 2012 elections. And then when it gets implemented in 2013, you'll still have your private insurance. It's going to take a number of years to force the insurance companies out of business and to force people onto the public option. They're not going to be able to wave a magic wand and have this done overnight, but it will happen. And let's say it happens -- well, Obama's target year, he said it might take 10 to 15 years to totally wipe out private insurance. Now, they're going to try to do it sooner than that, and they might succeed, but 10 to 15 years makes you 65, and 'Hello, death panels.' [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/27/09]

Quinn: The Government Will Be Able To “Commit A Violent Assault On Your Body.” Referring to the Obamas, Jim Quinn said in February, 2010 that “Bolshevik Barbie and our marginally documented president” want “the power to control your body and your life. That's what they want and that's what this is. And if the government can consult a chart that says, 'I'm sorry, you're a little bit too old and a little bit too sick and the protocol for what you've got now isn't approved by the government anyway because it's experimental or it's too expensive -- if you were a little younger, maybe. But we can't give you that, but we can give you a pain pill.' ” Quinn added: “Giving the government that power is allowing the government to commit a violent assault on your body -- a violent assault on your most precious possession, which is your life.” [Clear Channel, The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 2/26/10]

Boortz: “Obama's Health Care Plan Is Going To End Up Killing People.” On the June 17, 2009 edition of his radio show, Neal Boortz claimed “Obama's health care plan is going to end up killing people...especially among the ranks of the elderly, there's going to be people who die.” [Cox Radio Syndication, The Neal Boortz Show, 6/17/09]

Hannity: A Government Rationing Body Will “Tell Women With Breast Cancer, 'You're Dead.'” On the June 19, 2009 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity claimed “we're going to have a government rationing body that tells women with breast cancer 'you're dead,' it's a death sentence.” [Fox News, Hannity, 6/19/09]

Johnson Jr: Health Care Reform Is “The Government Deciding Who Will Live, Who Will Die.” On the June 25, 2009 edition of Fox & Friends, guest host Peter Johnson Jr. claimed a line from a health care town hall by Obama referencing evidence based treatments “was the most disturbing quote of the night. President as social engineer, president as bioethicist, the government deciding who will live, who will die. You're too old, you're too young...Is that what this plan is about? To save money by killing old people?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/25/09]

Johnson Jr. Claimed Health Care Reform “A Subtle Form Of Euthanasia.” Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. said on the July 27, 2009 edition of Fox & Friends: “Some people are saying, well, this is a health care reform; other people are saying -- 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]


The American Health Care System Will Be Destroyed

Fox Cites IBD Poll To Claim “Hundreds Of Thousands” Of Doctors “Would Think About Shutting Down” If Health Care Passed. In September, 2009, Several Fox News figures, including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Morris, O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Steve Doocy highlighted an Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll which found that "[t]wo of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted." However, according to statistician Nate Silver, the poll was “simply not credible,” and Fox News itself acknowledged that the poll was “not scientific.” [Fox News, 9/17/09]

Limbaugh: Senate Health Bill Will Lead To “250 Million Uninsured.” On his March 8, 2010 radio show, Limbaugh claimed Democrats' “plan” in passing reform is to institute a “single-payer” system and that “there is no public option in this, but that's how they're going to get there.” Limbaugh also predicted that the health bill would “just destroy private insurance as an option” and “lead very quickly to government-only insurance.” Limbaugh continued: “Only idiots would have health insurance under this deal, only blooming idiots. There is literally no reason to have health insurance -- none. ... They say there's 30 million uninsured now, try 250 million uninsured, and every one of them paying a fine to the government for not having insurance.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/08/10]

Limbaugh: “Health Treatment Will Get Worse” Because Health Care Reform Is Really About “Rais[ing] Taxes At Every Turn In Your Life.” On the May 13, 2009, edition of his show, Limbaugh claimed health care reform is “not going to be about providing health coverage because if it were, they wouldn't do this. Health coverage is going to become less and health treatment is going to get worse. What this is about is being able to raise taxes at every turn in your life, at every step of your life.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/13/09]

Kilmeade: Reform Will “Devastate” Health Care Research And Innovation. On the August 13 edition of his radio show, Brian Kilmeade responded to a caller asking about the effect of the bill on “medical research and stem cell research.” Kilmeade claimed it was a “great question and we know the answer. The answer is devastate it. It will take the entrepreneurship and the industrialness [sic] out, and the creativity out of the biotech business.” [Fox Radio Network, Brian and the Judge, 8/13/09]


The Economy Will Be Destroyed

Fox Business: “Does Obamacare Mean Millions More Jobs Destroyed?” During a discussion about the health care bill on the Fox Business Network, an on-screen graphic asked: “Does Obamacare mean millions more jobs destroyed?” From the Fox Business Channel:

Does Obamacare Mean Millions More Jobs Destroyed?

[Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, 3/16/10]

Cramer: “Obamacare Will Topple The Stock Market.” On the March 18 edition of CNBC's The Kudlow Report, CNBC host Jim Cramer predicted that, in the words of host Larry Kudlow, “Obamacare will topple the stock market.” [CNBC's The Kudlow Report, 3/19/10]