Fox News anchor Bret Baier erroneously claimed that low income Americans not covered by the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) must pay the law's penalty for not having health insurance despite the ACA's explicit exemption for those individuals.
On the March 18 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Baier aired a segment highlighting those Americans who would be left without health insurance, even though the uninsured population will be reduced. He then claimed those who were supposed to be covered by the law's Medicaid expansion, but live in GOP-led states that opted out of the expansion, would be forced to pay the law's penalty for being uninsured:
BAIER: For those people, they not only face the prospect of not having health insurance coverage despite Obamacare, but now they will have to pay a penalty because of it.
But Baier is wrong. The ACA allows people in states which have opted out of Medicaid expansion, but would have qualified for Medicaid under that expansion, to apply for a hardship exemption which waives the penalty fee for those citizens. In fact, HealthCare.gov explicitly lists this in their application for a hardship exemption:
You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn't expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Fox News continues its campaign of misinformation about the Medicaid expansion. The network repeatedly insisted that the expansion of Medicaid is unaffordable for states, and hid the GOP's role in creating the Medicaid gap, while some of its personalities praised Republicans for not accepting Medicaid coverage for their poorest residents.
On the March 19 edition of Special Report, Baier corrected his claim and acknowledged the hardship exemption for those who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap, saying, "For our piece last night, we should have noted the Medicaid exemption. We regret the oversight."