Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Original Version: Fox Lifts Bogus Obamascare Story from Heritage Foundation Without Sourcing

This post was edited, several hours after publication by Mediaite, without my input or knowledge. This is the post as it was originally written and published, minus the annoying font colors that Blogger changed for no good reason: Fixed the formatting:
Even as CNN greatly improves its reporting on Obamacare, Fox News continues the mainstream media trend of bogus reporting on supposed Obamacare horror stories that don’t pan out. On Monday night’s The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly featured a report by Trace Gallagher that told the sad story of a family that might have to cut down on manicures and such, in order to afford their Obamacare plan, and while the story predictably doesn’t add up, it has the added twist of being lifted from The Heritage Foundation’s blog, without attribution.

 Gallagher’s report focused on Kate Joy, a California woman who, “despite her name, is not happy” about Obamacare. She and her husband “have an extensive Christmas list, and have checked it more than twice,” Gallagher reveals. “It’s a list of what they plan to give up to pay for the new healthcare plan.”

Obamacare burn! Nicely done.

“They live in northern California, and help support their 19- and 21-year-old sons who work part-time and go to college,” he continues. “Here’s the deal. Under the old plan they paid $499 a month. Of course it was cancelled, because it doesn’t qualify under the Affordable Care Act. Look at the number. $1,252 per month.”

This would be a good place for Gallagher to explain why the old plan didn’t qualify under the Affordable Care Act, but he doesn’t. The viewer, then, is free to assume that the old plan only covered non-complicated doctors’ visits on alternating Tuesdays.

“That’s actually more than my monthly mortgage on my home,” Joy says in an interview clip. “You can imagine that you have to start thinking about, you know, where is the extra money coming from to pay for the policy.”

“To make up for the increase, the Joys are cutting money they normally add to the mortgage every month,” Gallagher explains. “They are cutting the home phone, instead using cell phones. Charitable donations go down, along with the anniversary fund, and teeth cleanings will be just once a year. Add to that manicures, magazines and movies, and they should have the extra $750 they need. Despite her name, Kate Joy isn’t happy.”

“Fewer haircuts, not eating out as much, not going to the movies. That affects small businesses in our community,” Joy says.

On the latter point, people paying more under Obamacare are extreme outliers, so the millions more people who will be paying less ought to be able to pick up the slack for manicurists and dinners at The Olive Garden.

Stay tuned, though, because Kate Joy’s nails may yet be saved. “Remember, California rejected President Obama’s plan to extend those individual policies,” Gallagher reminds viewers, “so the Joys’ reality begins in 36 days.”

(Watch Video Here)

At face value, most people would probably agree that one set of marginally gnarlier nails is a fair price to pay so that millions of other people can no longer be denied health insurance, but it doesn’t even have to be that way.

Newshounds‘ Ellen Brodsky thought something sounded familiar, and smelled a little funky, about Gallagher’s reporting. She pointed out that the report is an almost rote regurgitation of a Heritage Foundation blog post, and that something had to be wrong.

The Heritage post makes the claim that the Joys don’t qualify for subsidies, a subject which Gallagher ignores: If this family is struggling to get by to the point that they have to give up dental treatments (as both reports stated), it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t qualify for any subsidies. Considering that the Kelly File has come up with many of Fox’s even more numerous bogus ObamaCare victims, there’s good reason to be skeptical.
It’s also suspect that Gallagher didn’t discuss it. After all, it’s a major component of the Affordable Care Act. 

According to that Heritage post, the Joys “live off her husband’s retirement salary,” which, according to what Kate Joy told them, is $45,120.00 a year, and that “the family does not qualify for any subsidies.”

But according to Covered California, both of those things cannot be true. A family of four adults from Sonora, CA, at that income level, qualifies for subsidies that would make an Anthem Blue Cross Bronze plan available for $4 per month. That’s not a typo. Four bucks. For $172 /mo., such a family could get an enhanced Silver plan from Anthem with a $1,000 family deductible, $16,000 less than the Joys’ old plan. $507, what the Joys were paying before, gets an Anthem Gold plan with no deductible at all. Heritage and Gallagher also fail to acknowledge the fact that without Obamacare, the Joys wouldn’t even have the option of covering their adult children.

Gallagher doesn’t credit Heritage for this story, but for Heritage, credit isn’t the point; slagging Obamacare with stories like this is the point. Given a choice, I’d much rather Gallagher and his staff had bothered to check Heritage‘s reporting than disclosed them as the source. It would also be nice if Kelly’s team would exercise some editorial judgment in the Obamacare stories she puts on the air.

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