Hannity cites rationing in U.K. to attack public option -- but U.S. insurance companies already ration care

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity attacked the public option by stating that "[e]verywhere socialized medicine has been tried it's failed. It ends up in rationing," and pointing to women with breast cancer in Great Britain who are denied drugs by "the government rationing body." But Hannity's attack that "the government option" would introduce rationing for "women with breast cancer" is undermined by the fact that private insurance companies in the United States already ration care; in fact, private insurers routinely deny care to cancer patients, often because they are found to have pre-existing conditions.

Hannity claims "socialized medicine" leads to "rationing," cites women denied treatment for cancer in Great Britain

From the October 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: You want -- you want the government option?

[...]

HANNITY: See, here's the problem. Everywhere socialized medicine has been tried, it's failed. It ends up in rationing. It ends up in rationing. It ends up bankrupting the country. You know, look at Great Britain recently. Women with breast cancer, they were denied drugs by who? The government rationing body.

Hannity's attack ignores that private insurance companies in the United States already deny care for cancer patients

Insurance companies ration care by rescinding coverage. As former senior executive at CIGNA health insurance company Wendell Potter explained in June 24 Senate testimony, insurance companies restrict or deny coverage by rescinding health insurance policies on the grounds that people had undisclosed pre-existing conditions.

Retired nurse had double mastectomy surgery delayed because of pre-existing conditions. Retired nurse Robin Beaton testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and stated that her private insurance company canceled a double mastectomy surgery she had scheduled to treat her breast cancer after learning that she had a pre-existing heart condition. Beaton testified that her insurance company then canceled her coverage entirely, stating: "[T]he first time I filed a claim and was suspected of having cancer they searched high and low for a reason to cancel me." Beaton said she was eventually able to have surgery after her congressman worked to have her insurance reinstated. [Energy and Commerce Committee testimony, 6/16/09]

California woman reportedly denied surgery after breast cancer spread to her brain. A KPIX CBS 5 news article reported that Shelly Andrews-Buta was scheduled to undergo surgery to treat breast cancer that had spread to her brain, but that "instead of having doctors working to remove her brain tumors on the day the surgery was scheduled, she sat in a San Francisco hotel room. Why? Because at the last minute, her insurance company, Blue Shield, decided it wasn't going to pay for the treatment her doctors at UCSF Medical Center had recommended." According to the article, Blue Shield told Andrews-Buta it would pay for a less expensive procedure, even though her doctor said "that wasn't the best option" for her cancer. [KPIX CBS 5, 5/12/09]

Hospital told woman: "[U]nless your brother brings in cash, he is not going to get the procedure without insurance." Attorney Peggy Raddatz also testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and stated that her brother Otto was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and, after several rounds of chemotherapy, was scheduled for a stem cell transplant. In the midst of the preparation for this procedure, his insurance company canceled his insurance. Raddatz testified that when she called the hospital to see if she could still schedule the procedure for her brother, she was told: "[U]nless your brother brings in cash, he is not going to get the procedure without insurance." [Energy and Commerce Committee testimony, 6/16/09]

Hannity previously misused story of Briton supergluing his tooth as a "story of universal health care gone awry"

Hannity: "The Democrats have their way, get your superglue ready." On the July 8 edition of his Fox News show, describing what he called "[a]nother story of universal health care gone awry," Hannity stated that "a 55-year-old man in the U.K. ... ran into trouble when he couldn't find a dentist OKed by the government. So he superglued his tooth together for a period of three years." Hannity concluded: "The Democrats have their way, get your superglue ready." However, according to media reports, a woman in the United States has also glued in her teeth because of the costs of dental care. An ABCNews.com article also reported that low-income people are resorting to pulling their own teeth.

Transcript

From the October 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: You want -- you want the government option?

KIRSTEN POWERS (Fox News political analyst): I agree with that. I mean, I don't think the public option is a far-left thing. You know, people try to portray it that way. I think it's a mainstream -- most Democrats support the public option. I agree that it's the way to contain costs -- it's, in fact, the only way to contain costs. And all of the things --

HANNITY: The American people don't want it.

POWERS: That's not --

HANNITY: The American people don't want it --

POWERS: There is a New York Times poll --

HANNITY: -- and Congress has a 21 percent --

POWERS: There's a New York Times poll that showed that the majority of Americans did want it. But at the end of the day all the things --

HANNITY: Wait, is that the poll that polled two-to-one Democrats over Republicans? That poll?

POWERS: All of the things -- always attacking the poll.

HANNITY: I'm sorry, I --

POWERS: But all of the things that you mentioned, Sean -- I agree with Judith -- are fine. There's nothing wrong with them. But they're not -- even if you added them altogether, they would barely even touch the problem.

HANNITY: See, here's the problem. Everywhere socialized medicine has been tried, it's failed.

POWERS: It's not socialized medicine.

HANNITY: It ends up in rationing. It ends up bankrupting the country. You know, look at Great Britain recently. Women with breast cancer, they were denied drugs by who? The government rationing body.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity
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