Serial health care misinformer and right-wing media figure Betsy McCaughey pushed the conspiracy theory that health care outreach efforts are a secret plan to register voters as Democrats.
In an Investor's Business Daily column, McCaughey attacked grants that fund outreach and education about President Obama's health care law. McCaughey claimed, "The lion's share of the money is going for what the exchange budget terms 'outreach.' In truth, the money is going to build Democratic Party enrollment." She continued:
Assisters will also guide the uninsured to sign up for whatever non-health social services they may be eligible for, including welfare, food stamps and housing assistance, according to the manual prepared by the Community Health Councils for California's implementation.
Anyone who remembers the days of James Curley, Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall gets the picture. If you were poor or a newcomer to this country, you went to the local ward boss and got whatever you needed in exchange for your vote.
The difference is that back then, politics was local. Now the Obama health law is institutionalizing this corrupt style of politics across the country. Whether you live in California or New York, local community activists and unions will be recruiting people to enroll in ObamaCare and sign up to be part of the permanent, beholden Democratic voting majority.
McCaughey is not the first right-wing media figure to push this claim despite lack of evidence to support it. Fox News host Megyn Kelly and contributor Michelle Malkin have both attacked outreach efforts in an attempt to push a political agenda. Rush Limbaugh also claimed that officials employed by the government to help Americans evaluate health care options will register voters as Democrats and "smear Republicans." But outreach efforts for health care legislation are not new -- the State Health Insurance Assistance Program has been conducting similar outreach for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.
McCaughey has a long history of misinforming about health care, including the claim that the health care law will lead to euthanizing seniors, that the law contains "death panels," and that it will limit preventive care
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) bills itself as an event convened to "crystallize the best of the conservative thought in America" that will showcase "all of the leading conservative organizations and speakers." Media covering CPAC 2013 should know that the conference's speakers, from the most prominent to the lesser-known, have a history of launching smears, pushing conspiracy theories, and hyping myths about the validity of President Obama's birth certificate.
Serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey appeared on Fox News to continue pushing debunked falsehoods about the health care reform bill, including claims that the government will dictate care and that employees will be forced into a "one-size-fits-all" health care plan.
Appearing on the January 14 edition of Fox & Friends to promote her upcoming book, Beating Obamacare -- which she said is "a no-spin, easy-to-understand guide" to the law -- McCaughey claimed that employees who gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act would be given a "government-mandated one-size-fits-all plan." McCaughey further claimed health care exchanges will "only sell the government mandated plan" like "a dealership that sells four-door sedans." McCaughey also repeated the falsehood that the ACA "puts the federal government in charge of your health care for the first time."
But despite co-host Gretchen Carlson's promotion of McCaughey's claims, all of them have been thoroughly debunked. The health care bill doesn't create "one-size-fits-all" health care plans but does require plans to provide a minimum level of coverage. There is nothing in the law which prohibits insurers from offering additional benefits above the basic requirements.
In addition, McCaughey's suggestion that the exchanges would only offer one plan is absurd. The entire purpose of the exchanges is to provide a market where consumers are offered a choice of affordable plans. In fact, the ability of exchanges to provide competition is one reason they were endorsed by the American Medical Association:
Fox News is promoting another legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act that originated in a right-wing think-tank and was hyped by conservative blogs. The State of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit based on a problematic theory that alleges tax credits within federally-run health insurance marketplaces called "exchanges" are unauthorized, which was developed by Michael Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and National Review Online contributing editor and Case Western Reserve University School of Law professor Jonathan H. Adler. But Fox News has not only failed to report the extensive debunking of this tax credit theory, it has also mischaracterized this challenge to tax credits offered in exchanges as a "serious" constitutional one, although the new constitutional arguments are even more far-fetched than the original statutory claims.
Fox hosted serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey to push false and misleading claims about health care reform, following announcements from some Republican governors that they have decided not to create state-run health insurance exchanges.
Fox & Friends hosted serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey to promote the bogus claim that President Obama's health care reform legislation will increase the federal deficit by causing health care costs to balloon.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will decrease the deficit and that repealing the act will increase the deficit. However, on Fox & Friends, McCaughey, a former New York Lieutenant Governor, claimed that such deficit reduction estimates are wrong.
McCaughey was echoing her recent Wall Street Journal op-ed in which she claimed that estimates by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) showed that estimates that the ACA would reduce the deficit are a "shell game."
But McCaughey's claims are based on cherry-picking and distortions of the CMS data.
McCaughey suggested that, based on CMS projections, the ACA will cause health expenditures to "rise to 19.6% in 2021 from 17.9% in 2010," which in turn will cause federal spending to increase. But, in 2009, a year before the ACA was passed, CMS' ten-year projections estimated health expenditures in 2019 being 19.3% of GDP, their 2011 projections, a year after the ACA was passed, shows the 2019 estimate at 18.9%, or 0.4% less than their estimate from before the ACA.
And CBO has already taken into account the fact that the ACA will cause government spending on health care to increase. In its latest estimate on the cost of repealing the law, CBO stated: "The ACA contains a set of provisions designed to expand health insurance coverage, which, on net, are projected to cost the government money." The CBO then adds that these increases in government spending are more than offset by other provisions in the law, meaning that, on balance, the ACA lowers the deficit.
From the March 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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Betsy McCaughey has a long history of misinforming on health care. In 2009, she received Media Matters' 2009 "Health Care Misinformer of the Year" award for relentlessly attacking health care reform, spreading falsehoods and distortions through opinion pieces and television appearances at nearly every stage of the debate. She has rarely appeared on television, written an opinion piece, or given a speech that doesn't contain at least one falsehood associated with health care. In her appearance Monday on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show, McCaughey lengthened that streak.
Aside from her bogus claim that health care reform will have the effect of killing jobs, McCaughey asserted that community health centers "largely" cater to unauthorized immigrants. In her rush to tar the health care reform law as a "spread-the-wealth and buy-the-folks program," she stated of the Obama administration: "They're spending some $11 billion on community organizations that serve illegal immigrants, largely. So this is a spread-the-wealth and buy-the-folks program."
But unless McCaughey has some insider information to which even community health clinics aren't privy, her claim stretches the boundary of fact.
Fox News' Neil Cavuto hosted serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey to push the discredited claim that health care reform will kill jobs. In fact, a study from the Urban Institute found that the Affordable Care Act would not noticeably effect employment levels and that it could "boost the economy and employment over time."
In a New York Post column, Betsy McCaughey hyped a recent federal appeals court ruling striking down the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). But McCaughey, who has a long history of misinforming on health care, ignored several rulings that upheld the law or rejected challenges, including a federal appeals court decision upholding the individual mandate in which a Bush appointee was in the majority.
From the May 16 edition of Fox News' Your World:
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From the March 23 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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In honor of the one year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Media Matters presents a timeline of one of the most disgraceful and pernicious myths about the law--death panels.
In her 2011 Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) speech, serial health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey repeated long-debunked attacks on the health care bill, including the false attacks that the bill "forces you to enroll" in a health care plan "whether you can afford it or not"; that the law lets the government "dictate how doctors treat privately insured patients"; and the false claim that the waiver process is being manipulated to benefit political allies of the administration.
From the February 12 coverage of CPAC 2011:
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