For two consecutive days, Fox & Friends has attempted to tie a recently released report by the independent Institute of Medicine to President Obama's health care law in their never-ending quest to claim that the law will cost taxpayers more money than independent estimates have demonstrated that it will.
The Institute of Medicine report, released on April 10, makes a series of recommendations about how the United States health care system can focus on providing preventative care to a much wider group of health care consumers, in an attempt to reduce the cost burden of clinical care for chronic disease. But in a bizarre stretch of logic, the co-hosts of Fox & Friends repeatedly tried to tie one of the policy recommendations issued by this independent research organization to the health care law that was passed more than two years ago, even after it was explained to them that the two have nothing to do with each other.
The report outlined the poor state of public health funding in America and issued a series of recommendations to increase funding for preventative care (the full report is available for purchase from the National Academies). The accompanying press release explains that "chronic diseases that drive the bulk of U.S. health spending are conditions that could be decreased or prevented through the initiatives, services, and expertise that public health departments provide." The Institute issued several recommendations for equalizing some of the imbalance in funding between clinical and preventive care, one of which, according to a prepublication copy of the report, is a 2 percent "transaction tax" on health care services. The report acknowledged that "there could be objections that the tax increases health care costs" but noted that "it has the potential to reduce the need for clinical care."
Rather than evaluate the recommendation on its merits, however, Fox & Friends used the report, which was issued by a nongovernmental research group, to attack the Affordable Care Act (ACA), suggesting that this specific recommendation was somehow an aspect of the health care law that was hidden from taxpayers. Co-host Gretchen Carlson began the speculation by claiming on Monday's broadcast that "the president said his new health care law wouldn't cost you a dime" but that "may not be true now." Later, during a segment with Florida International University professor and tea party supporter Elizabeth Price Foley, a critic of the Institute's recommendation, Carlson asked if the tax was "something that the lawmakers didn't bother to read before they passed the bill, or is this just something that was a result of it after it was passed."
Even after Foley explained to the co-hosts that "this isn't law yet; this is just an expert report from the Institute of Medicine," the Fox & Friends co-hosts persisted in attempting to tie the tax to the ACA, with co-host Brian Kilmeade repeating the line on today's show: "The president says his new health care law wouldn't cost you a dime. Well, hold that thought. A new tax being considered would hit every time you go to the doctor or pharmacy." Later on the show, co-host Steve Doocy reacted to Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham's attack on the tax by saying, "We have to pass the thing to see what's in it."
Fox News, and Fox & Friends in particular, has never restricted its health care attacks to the reasonable or accurate. This latest attack - criticizing the health care law for a recommendation made by an independent source more than two years after its passage - is no different.