Eric Stern, Salon contributor and former senior counselor to Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, fact-checked what he thought to be a suspect segment of Fox News. In it, Sean Hannity interviewed three married couples who shared their “Obamacare horror stories.”
Afterward, Stern approached each of the couples to delve deeper into what he thought were misunderstandings (at best). In one case, in which interviewee and small business owner Paul Cox had cut employee hours, Stern pointed out the Affordable Care Act didn’t require him to make changes to health insurance coverage. In two others, he showed if the couples had visited the exchanges, it was likely they could find much cheaper comparable health insurance.
It’s true that we don’t know for sure whether certain ills conservatives have warned about will occur once Obamacare is fully enacted. For example, will we truly have the same freedom to choose a physician that we have now? Will a surplus of insured patients require a scaling back (or ‘rationing,’ as some call it) of provided healthcare services? Will doctors be able to spend as much time with patients? These are all valid, unanswered questions. The problem is that people like Sean Hannity have decided to answer them now, without evidence. Or worse, with fake evidence.
I don’t doubt that these six individuals believe that Obamacare is a disaster; but none of them had even visited the insurance exchange. And some of them appear to have taken actions (Paul Cox, for example) based on a general pessimistic belief about Obamacare. He’s certainly entitled to do so, but Hannity is not entitled to point to Paul’s behavior as an ‘Obamacare train wreck story’ and maintain any credibility that he might have as a journalist.