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Megyn Kelly And John Fund Baselessly Speculate About Sen. Wyden’s Move For Health Care Law Exemption

Reported by Ellen - September 4, 2010 -

Did Megyn Kelly or her guest, John Fund, do any research into why Senator Ron Wyden wants an exemption for Oregon from certain key provisions of the health care reform bill? If they had, they might have known that Wyden feels that the health care act did not go far enough and that he wants to ensure that his state can continue to provide what he thinks is better care than its citizens would get under the federal bill. Wyden explained in a post on Huffington Post, “For those who claim this position represents a retreat from the health reform law, they are mistaken. I have been advocating virtually non-stop for states to have the right to go their own way, including during the Senate Finance Committee's mark-up up last fall when I got the provision included in the Senate bill.” Instead of doing a single bit of investigating on Wyden’s actions, Kelly and Fund baselessly speculated that he wanted to distance himself politically from the bill in a suggestion that his move was a politically motivated flip-flop away from his original vote.

Kelly’s choice of Fund as the sole guest to discuss Wyden on America Live yesterday (9/3/10) was pretty telling. Although America Live airs during what is supposed to be part of Fox News’ objective news lineup, Fund has, a long history of pushing trumped up and made up charges against Democrats and progressives. Fund clearly had no inside information about Wyden or his actions. A simple Google search would have quickly and easily turned up Wyden’s post. You have to wonder how much he or Kelly tried to find out anything about Wyden's reasoning.

From Wyden’s post:

It's correct that I wanted health reform to do more to create choices and promote competition. But instead of spending the year on the sidelines criticizing my colleagues and advocating for my personal approach, I spent the year looking for opportunities to improve the legislation that WAS advancing through Congress…

… Under my approach states will only be granted a waiver if they demonstrate they can do a better job of providing health care in their state than under the new federal law. To date, I haven't seen a single one of those states currently filing lawsuits against the individual mandate propose better ways of covering their citizens. In fact, one of the reasons I have been drawing attention to the state waiver is to highlight the insincerity of those filing lawsuits. If states aren't happy with the federal law they should be spending their energy innovating ways to do better rather than wasting taxpayer dollars on lawsuits that -- if successful -- would leave their state's citizens with nothing.

I continue to support the individual mandate unless a state can demonstrate that it will provide equal or better health care without one. I continue to prefer the individual mandate from the Wyden-Bennett bill to the one contained in the bill that passed, because it was accompanied by greater consumer choice and a rock-solid guarantee that all Americans would receive the same level of health coverage as their Member of Congress. 

I voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, not because I thought it was the best we could do, but because I thought it was a whole lot better than the current system.

With her trademark contempt, Kelly introduced the segment by saying, “A Democratic about-face on health care. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat, is now trying to exempt his state from the heart of the new health care law. This is the Democrats’ expert on health care, a man who voted for the law in the first place. So why on earth is he doing this? And what does it mean for a law that many Republicans on Capitol Hill already want to see repealed?”

Fund said – misleadingly, at best – “In the law… he was able to insert a last minute amendment saying that states could ask for a waiver from the federal government to pull out of large parts of Obamacare. I think he realized that the bill was flawed and that his state might want to exit from parts of it. …I think he recognizes that over time, Obamacare is going to be increasingly unworkable. Not just from a liberal or conservative perspective but because the law was so badly written.”

Kelly, with even more contempt asked, “Then why did he vote for it?” Gee, Meggy, it took me less than five minutes to find the answer to that question. How hard did you look?

Fund speculated – without providing any evidence – that he thought there was “enormous political pressure put on every Democrat. …Now, I think, he’s running for re-election and he recognizes that even in Oregon this is not popular.”

Kelly signaled that her only real interest in the story was to attack the health care law (and, by extension, Democrats) by switching the discussion from Wyden and saying, “The bottom line is, this is just the latest but it’s the most open and notorious rejection by a top Democrat of the health care law.” Kelly gratuitously added that leaked memos from strategists and pollsters tell their candidates (she began whispering for extra dramatic effect), “Don’t mention it. Do not talk about the health care law in the campaign… People don’t like it.”

Then, further signaling her interest in making partisan political hay, she “asked” the notoriously anti-Democratic Fund, “Politically, John, how does this play out?”

Fund answered, “I think what he sees is, they’re going to get a lot more Republicans in Congress next year. They’re going to be some very chastened Democrats who realize this health care thing was not a political winner and maybe we can rewrite and repair some of it. Also, if the Republicans take control of Congress, they can vote to defund parts of Obamacare… I think Senator Wyden is way ahead of the curve on where this is going politically.”

Fund also twice called Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius, “Czarina,” which got an appreciative laugh from Kelly.

I wonder how Kelly would react if a Democrat on her show called Sarah Palin “her diva-ness” or “Ms. Temper Tantrum.”

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