Consumer Reports rebuked conservatives who misconstrued their position on Healthcare.gov, but that didn't stop Sean Hannity from repeating the spin in order to demonize health care reform.
In acknowledgement of the bumpy rollout of Healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) online insurance exchange, Consumer Reports spent the first weeks in October detailing updates to the site and guiding readers step-by-step on how to navigate the site's glitches.
The publication advised still-confused readers to hold off briefly on signing up:
If all this is too much for you to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can. Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they've made. The coverage available through the marketplaces won't begin until Jan. 1, 2014, at the earliest, and you have until Dec. 15 to enroll if you need insurance that starts promptly.
Conservative pundits pounced on the language. Sean Hannity cited it during an October 21 rant against the ACA on Hannity as evidence that health care reform has been discredited, yelling to guest Ann Coulter, "Consumer Reports, Ann, they're telling people, 'Stay away from the website!' "
Consumer Reports never warned consumers to stay away from the website for good, as Hannity intimates -- only for a few weeks while glitches are ironed out. And the publication isn't happy with the spin conservatives are using to attack the ACA. Also on October 21 -- more than three hours before Hannity cited the publication -- Consumer Reports chastised mischaracterizations of their position. They wrote:
Pundits opposed to the new health care law and some media outlets have tried to suggest that our coverage of the troubled HealthCare.gov site means that Consumer Reports has turned against the Affordable Care Act.
Not true. Consistent with our mission to inform and protect consumers, particularly in this complicated health care market, our advice remains the same: The best place to buy coverage on your own is through the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state. That guarantees you will get comprehensive coverage, and it's the only way you can lower the cost of your premiums and possibly even your deductibles and copayments.
Doing that online in most states means registering at and shopping through the federal HealthCare.gov.
Hannity has a record of plowing forward with his favorite anti-ACA narratives, regardless of their accuracy, and so his disregard for Consumer Reports' true position is unsurprising.