Fox, Drudge Ignore Conservative Obstruction To Mislead On Obamacare Delay

Fox News and the Drudge Report are ignoring years of Republicans obstructing the implementation of health care reform to accuse the Obama administration of delaying the law for political gain, in the process dismissing the fact that businesses are praising the administration's move. 

The Treasury Department announced on June 2 that the Obama administration elected to delay the deadline for large businesses, which employ 50 people or more, to offer health insurance to their employees from January 2014 to January 2015. Treasury explained that its decision was made in part following consultations with businesses, who had expressed concerns about the deadline and requested more time to implement the new requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

Fox News and the Drudge Report reacted to the announcement by baselessly claiming that the administration's decision was politically motivated and was linked to the approaching 2014 midterm elections. During the June 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity, guest host Tucker Carlson claimed he did not believe the delay until 2015 was an accident, saying to his guests “It seems to me they have been mindful of the political calendar, Joe, from day one ... You can't look, either of you, look at me straight in the eye and say that political considerations played no role in the implementation of the less popular parts of this incredibly complex law.”

On the June 3 Fox & Friends, guest co-host Clayton Morris similarly suggested that the decision to push back the deadline was political, asking “The real question is, is it political? Because of course you have the 2014 midterm elections and you have mass layoffs,” while co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed it was purposefully delayed “until after the election.” Later in the show, on-screen test read “Political Ploy?”

The Drudge Report also alleged that the decision was political:

In fact, as the Washington Post reported, the delay is due to years of legal and political challenges to the law from conservatives (emphasis added):

The decision comes as a result of years of bumps and setbacks for the overhaul, including legal challenges and political opposition that have hampered its implementation. Last summer, the Supreme Court upheld the law but struck down a mandatory expansion of Medicaid. State officials and businesses held off changing their policies through the 2012 presidential campaign because Obama's GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, had promised to repeal the law.

Some populous states, including Florida and Texas, have decided not to set up exchanges, putting a far bigger burden on federal health officials to serve Americans. The exchanges are being designed to offer a variety of insurance plans; the federal insurance exchange is set to begin in less than three months.

The Wall Street Journal similarly reported that “legal and political challenges” from the right meant businesses did not have enough time to implement the new requirements:

Some companies had bet the law was going to be overturned by the Supreme Court last year, or by a new presidential administration after the 2012 election. After it withstood those legal and political challenges, some firms said there was too little time remaining before the provision was due to kick in. 

Business groups -- including the conservative Chamber of Commerce -- are praising the decision, for it allows businesses time to adapt to the new rules. The New York Times reported:

Employer groups were quick to applaud the delay. At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has strongly opposed the law, Randy Johnson, senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits, said in a statement, "The administration has finally recognized the obvious -- employers need more time and clarification of the rules of the road before implementing the employer mandate.

E. Neil Trautwein, a vice president of the National Retail Federation, said the delay “will provide employers and businesses more time to update their health care coverage without threat of arbitrary punishment.”

This latest attack follows right-wing media's long history of encouraging obstruction of the health care reform law.