Fox News' misleading attacks on President Obama's health care law reached new heights in the week preceding the opening of insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act Fox figures also pressured Republican politicians to defund or repeal the law, even at the expense of shutting down the federal government.
Fox News Ramps Up Misinformation During Week Before Exchange Implementation
Fox & Friends: Obama Engaging In "Subterfuge" To Create "Nationalized Health Care System." On the September 26 edition of Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade claimed exchanges would offer very few choices to health care consumers despite the fact that more than 120 insurance companies have filed applications with the federal government. Kilmeade claimed insurers might drop out of exchanges until there is "one option and it's going to be a federal option, a nationalized health care system." Doocy agreed, accusing Obama of "subterfuge" to promote a single-payer health care system, but The New York Times reported that "One-fourth of insurance companies proposing to offer coverage in these federal exchanges have recently entered the individual market." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/26/13, via Media Matters]
Fox News' Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Obamacare Is "Sticking It To The Seniors." On Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck falsely claimed that President Obama's health care law is "sticking it to the seniors" by ignoring the ACA's benefits to seniors, claiming the law includes cuts to Medicare benefits, and claiming the law would impose a tax on seniors' medical devices. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/26/13, via Media Matters]
Fox's Hemmer And Cavuto Mislead On ACA's Effect On Young Adults. On the September 25 edition of America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer and Fox News host Neil Cavuto claimed premiums are "going up markedly...for young people in particular." Neither Hemmer nor Cavuto acknowledged that premiums are only estimated to rise for 3 percent of young adults at most. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 9/25/13, via Media Matters]
Fox Takes Cleveland Clinic Story Out Of Context To Attack Obamacare. After a Reuters article reported on September 18 that the Cleveland Clinic medical center had announced plans to reduce its staff, Fox News hyped the story to claim the ACA was destroying jobs. On the September 25 edition of On The Record, host Greta Van Susteren finally admitted that the network had taken the story out of context. [Fox News, On The Record, 9/27/13, via Media Matters]
Fox Guest Dr. Held: Obamacare Recommends "Don't Even Start Your Mammograms Until Age 50." On Fox & Friends, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck discussed mammogram recommendations with Dr. Kristen Held, who falsely claimed that because of the ACA, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force "said don't even start your mammogram until age 50," and added that it would ration care for the elderly. However, ACA rejected the task force's recommendation for women to start mammograms after age 50 and instead will fund mammograms for women starting at age 40. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/25/13, via Media Matters]
Fox News' Hasselbeck: ACA Is "Sticking It To Men." Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck obscured that fact that women are discriminated against in the individual health insurance market to claim ACA is "hitting the men" and "sticking it to men," highlighting a premium estimate showing women currently paying higher insurance premiums than men, then complaining that men's premiums will increase. Fox ignored the fact that women are already discriminated against in the individual health care market and that the ACA bans gender discrimination. The segment included the following graphic:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/24/13, via Media Matters]
Fox Figures Led The Campaign To Defund Or Repeal The Health Care Law
Fox Host Hannity: Republicans Should "Shut The Government Down" To Repeal Obamacare, "And I Want Them To Do It." On the March 18 edition of his Fox News show, host Sean Hannity urged GOP lawmakers to shut down the government in order to repeal ACA. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/18/13, via Media Matters]
Hannity Tells GOP Lawmakers: Don't Compromise To Avoid A Shutdown. Hannity told Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), "I believe that the Republicans need to stand by their promise" to repeal Obamacare, adding, "I don't think this is something they should compromise on." [Fox News, Hannity, 4/18/13]
Contributor Erick Erickson: Shutting Down The Government Over Obamacare Is "The Right Thing To Do." On the September 13 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox contributor Erick Erickson called shutting down the government over the ACA "the right thing to do":
ERICKSON: You've got dozens and dozens of Republicans who ran into office and got elected saying they were going to do every single thing they could to stop Obamacare. They have a choice now right now to defund it. And now they're saying, "Oh well we can't do that because we might get blamed for a shutdown." So what? It's the right thing to do. American companies are shutting down because they won't shut down Obamacare. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 9/13/13, via Media Matters]
Contributor Karl Rove: "We Need To Have A President Who Will Sign A Measure Defunding, Repealing, Getting Rid Of, And Replacing Obamacare." On the September 23 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Karl Rove explained that he favors a "delay strategy" on the health care law until we "have a president who will sign a measure defunding, repealing, getting rid of, and replacing Obamacare, and until we have a president who is going to do that we are going to be fighting." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/23/13, via Media Matters]
Contributor Sarah Palin: "We Need To Repeal The Whole Darn Thing, And That Starts With Defunding It." In a post on her Facebook account, Fox contributor Sarah Palin attacked President Obama's health care law, calling it an "enormous train wreck" and urging Republicans to defund it. She added: "Demand a full repeal, an immediate defunding, and some resignations." [Facebook.com, 9/12/13]
Radio Host Todd Starnes On Defunding: "Anything Less Is A Betrayal To The People." Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes called on Republicans to defund Obamacare, even if it leads to a government shutdown:
Push will come to shove and Republicans need to be willing to shove back. If that means a government shutdown in October -- so be it.
"If there's ever been a time for politicians to take a risk on their next election, it's stopping the government takeover of healthcare," said Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation. "This is not about political party or political calculation."
We need men and women who share DeMint's fortitude in the House and Senate. We need lawmakers who are willing to stand their ground and stand up for the American people.
It's time for Republicans to stand up and do the job they were elected to do. Anything less is a betrayal to the people who sent them to Washington, D.C. [FoxNews.com, 9/20/13]