On Fox’s Your World, a graphic on the screen undercut guest Betsy McCaughey’s misleading claim that the Affordable Care Act is not reducing the number of uninsured Americans. Instead of correcting McCaughey, host Neil Cavuto helped validate her distortion.
When Your World turned to Betsy McCaughey, author of “Defeat Obamacare,” to discuss the last-minute rush of signups for health insurance, it was obvious that the producers were looking for an ACA bashfest – and the heck with the truth.
Cavuto set up “The ACA is not accomplishing its goal” meme with this question: “How many uninsured are there in this country? About 45, 46 million?”
McCaughey answered, “There were 48 million when the President took office. So they may have made a very tiny dent, but not very much of a dent in the number of people who have private health plans. Then you’ve got somewhere between a million and a million and a half people who newly qualified for Medicaid because of the changes in the rules under Obamacare, and some number of kids who are on their parents (plans).”
Cavuto made the point more explicit: “What you’re saying is that the whole purpose of this, upending our existing system to cover those who are uninsured, we’ll still have about the same number of uninsured, to say nothing of the millions who (lost) their private (plans).”
McCaughey stayed on message. “A large of chunk of the people who had private health plans were paying for them themselves and are now getting them courtesy of John Q Public. …A lot are paying more, but a lot are also getting taxpayer-funded subsidies that they didn’t get before,” she said.
Yet just a few seconds before they discussed the number of uninsured gaining coverage, a graphic on the right side of the screen said the CBO predicts the number of uninsured will be reduced by 13 million in 2014.
Unlike other graphics, Fox got this one correct. Kevin Drum crunched the numbers over at Mother Jones and concluded that the number is more likely 10 million – or a 3-4 percent reduction - because, as McCaughey suggested, some people merely switched plans or will switch plans instead of getting coverage where none existed. Not what we hoped for, Drum concludes, but it’s a good first step toward solving a serious problem.
But Cavuto concluded, “It’s a mess.”
That’s right, it’s a mess,” McCaughey agreed. “And there’s more mess to come.”
Clearly, Fox is more interested in partisan spin than solution. Otherwise, Your World would never have booked McCaughey, a notorious misinformer on the subject, in the first place. Also, as Media Matters has documented, other Fox hosts have joined with Republicans in becoming “ObamaCare enrollment truthers,” i.e. they’ve engaged in a campaign to baselessly promote the notion that the signup numbers have been cooked.
Cavuto closed by giving McCaughey his stamp of approval: “She’s been all over this before anyone I know.”
Video below via Media Matters.