On his October 25 show, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told viewers, “The Factor has established itself as the go-to news program if you want the facts about Obamacare.”
And then he proceeded to show that this wasn’t true:
Millions of Americans want facts, not crazy political fanaticism, and we are here to give them to you. According to the Kaiser Health News Service, private insurance companies are canceling policies at a huge rate. In California, Kaiser Permanente has canceled half of its health insurance plans for individuals. Blue Shield of California has canceled 60 percent of its individual business. Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia dropping 45 percent of its customers and Florida Blue has canceled 80 percent of individual policies. And that’s just the beginning. Estimates are that Americans who have individual health insurance policies will be cut at the rate of 50 percent.
Well, that sounds bad—I thought this law was supposed to help people get insurance, not kick them off their insurance plans.
Luckily, you can find the article O’Reilly is talking about and read it for yourself. And if do, you find that, yes, some insurance companies are canceling certain policies—which is actually something that happens all the time in the individual insurance market.
But O’Reilly left out one part of the article—the part about what new insurance policies will look like:
By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost—especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 “essential” benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers’ annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.
Now, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if insurance companies were able to figure out ways to inflict pain on their customers and then blame it on excessive government regulation.
But they won’t have to spend much time doing that so long as people like Bill O’Reilly are out doing what they do.
Peter Hart is the activism director at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. He writes for the FAIR Blog, where this originally appeared.