Right-wing media used the anniversary of the passage of the health care reform law to renew their misleading and false attacks on the legislation.
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Right Wing Claims Health Care Reform Is "Short On Action"
Fox & Friends Claims Health Care Reform Is "Long On Words ... Short On Action," Then Recites Law's Immediate Benefits. On the March 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, correspondent Peter Doocy reported on the one-year anniversary of the health care reform law. During Doocy's report, on-screen text read:
Further on-screen text stated:
However, during the segment, Doocy listed several of the law's benefits that have already gone into effect:
DOOCY: Like you said, the 2,073-page Affordable Care Act, known by some opponents as Obamacare, turns 1 today, and even though a big chunk of its provisions haven't even taken effect yet, some of them have. For example, kids can now stay on their mom and dad's health insurance plans until they're 26 years old. Companies can no longer deny insurance coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions, and older Americans on Medicare are now getting help with expensive prescriptions in the form of $250 rebate checks.
An on-screen graphic that aired while Doocy spoke showed each of these provisions:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/23/11]
Fox Allows Hatch To Attack Law As "Job-Killing," Promote Repeal Efforts
Fox & Friends Hosts Sen. Orrin Hatch To Attack The Health Care Law. Later during the show, guest-host Dana Perino hosted Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to attack the health care law. Perino encouraged Hatch to hype efforts to repeal the bill and allowed him to refer to the bill as "job-killing," even though she began the segment by citing an Urban Institute report that says "the health care law will have no significant impact on employment." From the show:
PERINO: It's been a year since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare into law. Before it passed, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi promised it would create jobs.
PERINO: But the left-leaning Urban Institute now says the health care law will have no significant impact on employment. Joining us now is a man who saw all of this coming. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator, thank you for joining us this morning.
PERINO: One of the things that Speaker Pelosi was also famous for saying was that we had to pass the bill in order to find out what was in the bill. A year later after President Obama has signed the bill, what do you think Americans are still surprised to be finding out about this legislation?
HATCH: Well, they're surprised that they're -- they've lost 800,000 jobs. They not only have not only haven't created jobs, they've lost 800,000. They've also seen $113 billion more put on the backs of the states that are already $175 billion in the hole. They've saw -- they've seen that there is $2,100 in additional premium costs when they were told that this would bend the cost curve and the premium costs would go down. They actually, like I say, have just about -- I mean, they've come up with a program here that was so partisan to begin with, not one Republican was even asked to participate in the end, and now they're stuck with this dog, and they don't know what to do with it. And so they keep saying things that aren't true about it, when we put the facts out and our facts are backed up by the authorities.
PERINO: So for those who don't support it, are they also stuck with it or what -- can you give me a little insight into the Republican plan going forward in order to replace it, or repeal and replace, that was the mantra of last fall's election? Where does that stand now on March 23, a year after the bill was signed?
HATCH: Well, we don't have enough votes in the Senate. We've got to really turn this around in the next election in 2012. There are 25 Democrats left and only 10 Republicans. Hopefully we'll get the majority. But we've got to replace this bill. We've got to change it and make it so that it's something that the American people can afford. It's running us into bankruptcy. I mean, my gosh, everybody admits now, it's at least $2.6 trillion over ten years. Well, we have no way of paying for that. They're taking $529 billion out of Medicare, if you can believe it! That's a program that is $38 trillion in unfunded liability as we sit here. And then you add that unconstitutional employee mandate, that I believe will be held unconstitutional, and then I believe that the employer mandate, which the small business people are complaining about, that employer mandate, I believe that's unconstitutional, too. But it's a job killing mandate, as we can see. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/23/11]
Right Wing Falsely Suggests Health Care Law Is A Government Takeover
Wash. Examiner: Health Care Law "Mandated The Transfer By 2014 Of One-Fifth Of The National Economy From The Private Sector To The Government." A March 22 Washington Examiner editorial stated that the law "mandated the transfer by 2014 of one-fifth of the national economy from the private sector to the government." As Media Matters has noted, PolitiFact named "a government takeover of health care" as its 2010 "Lie of the Year." From the editorial:
When President Obama signed the $938 billion Obamacare into law a year ago today, it capped a long march by advocates of nationalized health care that began in this country years before Medicare was approved in 1965. Obama's signal legislative achievement avoided a health care system run entirely by the government, which was the goal of national union leaders and liberal politicians like Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Tom Harkin of Iowa. But it mandated the transfer by 2014 of one-fifth of the national economy from the private sector to the government. So even if Obamacare isn't quite the perfect replication of the British National Health Service romanticized by Donald Berwick, Obama's man in charge of managing Obamacare, it is still a government-directed health care system with roots deep in the European welfare states of Britain, France, Sweden and Germany. [The Washington Examiner, 3/22/11; Media Matters, 12/17/10]
Right Wing Claims Law Is "Leading To Rationing" And Is An "Assault On Our Freedom"
Wash. Times: "Government Care Should Face A Death Panel." A March 22 Washington Times editorial claimed that the health care law is leading to "[g]overnment control" that will "[lead] to rationing" and that "[i]t's time to put Obamacare out of its misery." From the editorial:
The president signed Obamacare into law one year ago today. Washington's takeover of health care has imposed more bureaucratic controls on a system already hobbled by too much government intervention. Solutions should spring from good medicine and good markets, not from a Big Brother power grab.
The way forward is to focus on a market-based approach. As James C. Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center explained in Thursday testimony to the House Budget Committee, the structure of government subsidies for Medicare, Medicaid and (through the tax code) extravagant employer-provided health insurance is responsible for causing health care costs to skyrocket. Medicaid, for instance, is financed by federal matching payments "with no limit on the amount that can be drawn from the U.S. Treasury each year." There's no surprise that busts the bank.
Government control raises health care prices and limits supply, leading to rationing. It's time to put Obamacare out of its misery. [The Washington Times, 3/22/11]
Wash. Times Op-Ed: "Obamacare Represents Something Of A War On Doctors." In a March 22 Washington Times op-ed, former Heritage Foundation fellow Dr. Jason Fodeman and Manhattan Institute fellow Dr. David Gratzer claimed that the law is "[s]tripping patients and doctors of authority over care" and that the health care law "represents something of a war on doctors." From the op-ed:
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Obamacare, and there has been no shortage of Washington rhetoric on the goals of the legislation for the occasion: Bending the cost curve. Reducing health insurance premiums. Expanding the number of insured Americans. But as we mark this anniversary, it's important to note the other agenda that has been missed in the debates of the past two years: reining in our doctors. Look carefully at the legislation signed into law by President Obama last March, and you'll discover a not-so-subtle campaign to dramatically reshape the doctor-patient relationship. From compensation to autonomy, Obamacare represents something of a war on doctors.
Skeptical? Consider key aspects of the legislation. The newly established Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is mandated to fund research comparing the efficacy of medical and surgical interventions. At first glimpse, PCORI seems reasonable enough. If taxpayers are footing the bill, after all, let's ensure that we're paying for effective treatment. However, the body could easily and quickly become a way to favor certain treatments while restricting others.
PCORI is only one agency of more than 159 that were created in the 2,800 pages of Obamacare, and virtually all of them will move power and control to Washington and impinge on physicians' ability to provide for their patients. This is part of a larger trend in Obamacare - treating doctors as tradesmen in need of guidance and restraint.
Let's be clear: Obamacare did not fire the first shot of this war on doctors, but it certainly will expand and accelerate it. The profession will survive - doctors have demonstrated enormous flexibility. Though these policies certainly are a nuisance, like any government contractor, doctors will change and adjust their behavior to successfully navigate the battlefield. Ultimately, the brunt of these regulations will be passed along to patients in the form of access problems and compromised quality of care - just as they have in other countries. [The Washington Times, 3/22/11]
WSJ Publishes GOP Senator's Op-Ed Claiming Health Care Law Is "The Greatest Single Assault On Our Freedom In My Lifetime." On March 23, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) that began by saying, "Today is the first anniversary of the greatest single assault on our freedom in my lifetime: the signing of ObamaCare." From the op-ed:
I am convinced that ObamaCare was designed to lead to a government takeover of our entire health-care system, which is one-sixth of our economy. As I traveled around Wisconsin in the last year, I asked thousands of people a simple question: "Do you think the federal government has the capability of running one-sixth of our economy?" Only two people ever raised their hands.
Our health-care system has problems that must be addressed. But ObamaCare will make those problems much worse. Instead of increasing consumer choice, it narrows it. Instead of encouraging innovation, it stifles creativity. Instead of expanding access to care, it will ration it. And instead of allowing competition to help bring down costs, it increases spending and puts our health-care system on a path to ruin. [The Wall Street Journal, 3/23/11]
Fox Promotes Claim That Law "May Threaten [Obama's] Re-Election" Because "Nobody Really Knows What It Is"
Stirewalt: "Nobody Really Knows What It Is. It's Just Out There Floating In The Ether." On the March 23 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott discussed the anniversary of the health care law with Fox News Digital Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt. Scott promoted Stirewalt's FoxNews.com article attacking the health care law, and the two of them agreed that the law's "goodies were simply not good enough." From the broadcast:
SCOTT: There are new questions looming a year to the day after President Obama signed the healthcare bill into law. The American people remain divided over that massive overhaul, raising Democrats' fears that health care will become a lightning rod in the president's re-election campaign. Chris Stirewalt is Fox News Digital Politics Editor. And Chris, you wrote an interesting piece about this today. We'll tell people how to read that a little bit later on. I like this line in the middle of it -- you say, "While the administration planned to woo voters with freebies and a barrage of ads starring Andy Griffith, the law is still an unknown quantity, the goods -- goodies were simply not good enough."
STIREWALT: Well, that's right, Jon. If you remember, a year ago Democratic strategists were touting the fact that the major components of this law wouldn't be going into effect until 2013 or 2014. And they were sort of laughing and saying, look, this is great, because we are going to put the good things up front. Twenty-six year-olds get to stay on their parents insurance, extra Medicare money for senior citizens. Those things come first. The tough stuff -- the health care -- the insurance mandate, new fees, taxes and other things are down the line. So --
SCOTT: Cuts in Medicare, for instance.
STIREWALT: A half a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare. Those things were delayed. So they thought they had a pretty good political strategy. Bu if you look at what's gone on in since then, in the past year, there is reason to question that. And one of the biggest reasons, that line that you pointed out, is that people don't really know what is in the law. People don't know much about the law. And when you see polls that say that a fifth of Americans are undecided about it, what that demonstrates is, is that there's core opposition but general uncertainty. And with all of these things looming out in the future, it's hard for the president to demystify or tone down concerns because nobody really knows what it is. It's just out there floating in the ether.
SCOTT: And I know my email box has been bombarded today with press releases from primarily conservatives who are saying -- using this opportunity--this anniversary as an opportunity to blast what they call Obamacare. [Fox News, Happening Now, 3/23/11]
On-screen text during the segment read:
[Fox News, Happening Now, 3/23/11]