October 23, 2013
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Halloween is approaching and the hobgoblins of conservative media are already spinning nightmarish tales of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare). Actually, they have been doing it for quite some time, dating back to at least March 2010 when Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller published an article headlined “IRS looking to hire thousands of armed tax agents to enforce healthcare laws.” Fox News reposted the article on its community web site and Fib Factory, Fox Nation despite the fact that it was a complete fabrication and was debunked by the Annenberg Center’s FactCheck.org
This year the campaign to recast a program that makes health insurance accessible to millions of Americans as a plague of locusts has risen to fever pitch. The Republican Party and conservative media has pulled out all the stops in a strategy aimed at scaring people from signing up with the hope that low enrollment will collapse the system. President Obama had the same concerns last month when he said…
“What you’ve had is an unprecedented effort that you’ve seen ramp up in the past month or so that those who have opposed the idea of universal health care in the first place — and have fought this thing tooth and nail through Congress and through the courts — trying to scare and discourage people from getting a good deal.”
These are not the hackneyed GOP talking points about death panels, job killers and government bureaucrats coming between patients and doctors. These are far more fanciful efforts that stretch the limits of credulity and appear to have more in common with satire than actual news reporting. But this is what it has come to as Obamacare has finally reached the consumer stage and conservatives are desperate to keep people from discovering its benefits.
1) Fox News Warns That If You Sign Up For ObamaCare Hackers Will Steal Your Life Savings
On an episode of “The Real Story” on Fox News, host Gretchen Carlson introduced an ominous new strain of fear-mongering to demonize Obamacare. She interviewed John McAfee, the anti-virus software developer who is presently a fugitive from a murder investigation in Belize. He made a wild accusation that visitors to Healthcare.gov are going to be victimized by hackers who will steal their identities and/or drain their bank accounts.
Neither Carlson nor McAfee actually provided any evidence of such a threat. In fact, when directly asked about it, McAfee diverts from the question and lays out a completely different threat that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Obamacare website. He alleges that nefarious individuals could set up their own unaffiliated websites in the hopes of luring naive people to take advantage of. Of course, that is a threat that exists for every website, and has since the Internet began. Visiting Healthcare.gov does not expose anyone to these phony sites as implied by the fear-mongers at Fox.
2) WorldNetDaily Reports “Obama ‘Crashing Health-Care Site On Purpose’”
This article asserts that the President is so afraid that insurance shoppers will learn that Obamacare is really more expensive than the old system that he deliberately caused the website to crash to keep people from seeing the rates. No one is defending the botched launch of the insurance exchanges. However, the notion that the technical glitches were intentionally caused by Obama is delusional.
WND’s argument (supported by links to Rush Limbaugh) that rates will increase leaves out the subsidies and tax credits that are available for many applicants. With these adjustments, premiums for most people will be substantially lower. The administration would, therefore, be anxious for consumers to have access to that information and would not be putting obstacles in their path.