Fox News Sunday hosted a debate about the Affordable Care Act yesterday. But you didn't need any introduction from host Chris Wallace to figure out which person was the supporter, which one was against ObamaCare. All you needed to do was see who got interrupted and challenged. Guess which one that was? Meanwhile Wallace repeatedly dismissed as somehow irrelevant and not worth discussing concerns about coverage for individuals who currently can't get health insurance.
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, did a very good job pushing back on Wallace's bias without specifically calling him out. Still, Wallace sneered when she tried to address the hypocrisy of the other guest, James Capretta. He was complaining about people losing their health insurance when, according to Tanden, his plan would means "millions would lose coverage." Wallace didn't want to hear about that, only the problems with coverage under ObamaCare.
Then there was this exchange which Wallace obviously thought was sounding too pro-ObamaCare - so he interrupted and turned to his other guest, James Capretta. From the Fox News transcript, with a few corrections on my part:
WALLACE: All right. Neera, I want to put up, continuing this conversation, a quote from an editorial over the weekend in “The Wall Street Journal.” Let’s put this up on the screen.
They say, “The awful irony of this new ObamaCare health care system is that all adults now enjoy mandated pediatric vision benefits, even if they don’t have kids. But parents can’t take their daughter to an expensive children’s hospital if she really gets sick.”
...Isn’t it true that to meet the increased cost of this mandated coverage, all of these expanded benefits, that a lot of parents are—a lot of people are not going to be able to use the hospitals and doctors that they currently have.
TANDEN: So, here’s the reality of this situation. There are insurers who are offering narrower networks, right?
WALLACE: Under ObamaCare?
TANDEN: Right. So, in the exchanges, there are people who are offering narrower networks under the new law, right? For—and you pay less for those plans. You can pay more for a plan that has a larger network. That is—that is the issue here. There are choices in the market. People are paying more for better benefits.
Now, I think a really important point here is that the vast majority of people in the insurance exchanges have never had health insurance before. So, you’re not—they’re having a new choice here, which expands health care coverage for them.
There are some people who had health insurance who are going into the exchanges and they face an option here, which is just like conservatives have been telling us for a long time, you should have options, and if you want more expensive care, you should pay for it yourself. That is the situation we get here.
But Wallace quickly cut off that line of discussion. He once again dismissed the issue of coverage for the uninsured as somehow insignificant and/or uninteresting - in order to prod his other guest to criticize ObamaCare:
WALLACE: I get the point. I don’t think there’s any question if you’re currently uninsured, you can get health insurance coverage you’re better off.
TANDEN: Which at the end of the day, will be the vast majority of people in the exchanges.
WALLACE: The question is whether or not the people who currently have policies are going to get better coverage or not. What about this question as to, you know, Neera says, OK, look, there are bronze, gold, silver and platinum, and the fact is, if you get a cheaper plan, you have less choice?
Fair and balanced? I don't think so.