Over the years, lefties have blamed Fox News for all sorts of things. Now, via ObamaCare architect Ezekiel Emanuel, we learn that the nation’s sole non-liberal television news operation is actually responsible for the HealthCare.gov debacle. In a debate with FNC host Megyn Kelly on her program last night, Ezekiel argued that Fox News Channel was really to blame for the fact that almost no one has signed up for the Obamacare insurance exchanges that are the center-piece of the law.
“You and your colleagues were constantly criticizing, trying to underfund it and trying to make sure it didn’t work,” a very combative Emanuel argued as Kelly pressed him on whether the Obama Administration actually knew that many people who had purchased health insurance in the individual market were going to lose their coverage thanks to mandates by the Affordable Care Act. [ See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
“It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. ‘We’re going to try to do everything we can to make it fail and then when it fails, we’re going to say, oh why did it fail?’” Emanuel said.
“I don’t think Fox News had anything to do with the rollout of HealthCare.gov. As far as I know, we didn’t touch that Web site,” Kelly replied before sarcastically dismissing Emanuel’s attempt to shift the blame. “It was all our fault,” she retorted.
In the discussion, Emanuel, who is the brother of former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, also provided a good example of challenging what he perceived as biased statistics--something Republican television guests rarely do--as he refused to accept Kelly's claim that 5 million people who had purchased individual policies were going to be cancelled as a result of ObamaCare. Emanuel preferred instead to talk about 3 million. “Only on Fox is it 5 million,” he insisted.
See full transcript below.
The Kelly File
November 13, 2013
9:29 p.m. Eastern
MEGYN KELLY: Five million people have already been cancelled. I’m not talking about the 7 million you guys [unintelligible]--
EZEKIEL EMANUEL: That’s not a reliable number.
KELLY: It’s at least 3 million. And the report’s out today that it’s 5 million people who have been cancelled so far.
EMANUEL: Only on Fox is it 5 million.
KELLY: If that is the truth--OK fine. So let’s go with 3 million. You can deny the problem all you want, sir.
KELLY: So 5 million people tonight by our numbers. If that is the case, (to producers) can we put the full screen back on the board? Then you need 156,000 people to sign up every day for the next 32 days just to break even. That’s not even talking about the 7 million you guys needed from the get-go to make Obamacare work.
EMANUEL: No, that’s not right, Megyn. You’ve got the numbers wrong. Seven million includes the people who were expected from the individual market to come on as well. So it’s not just 7 million and the number from the individual market, that’s the first point.
The second point is that you have to remember the individual market before Obamacare, the insurance companies were cancelling people all the time. That’s one of the reasons we wanted the exchanges to work. And I agree with you, without the exchanges working, this cancellation policy is worrisome. It was worrisome before Obamacare, it’s worrisome today.
The key thing is to get the exchanges working to get the website working so those people have a place to go where they’ll get better insurance at a more reasonable rate overall.
KELLY: OK there’s a lot in your answer. Let me ask you this first. Are you admitting then that it was foreseen that the individual insurance market would essentially collapse and that that was a key facet of Obamacare working?
EMANUEL: It’s not a matter of foreseeing. The insurance companies always cancelled policies before--
KELLY: It is a matter.
EMANUEL: They did it before. Now let me just--
KELLY: Now that’s spin. You know as well as I do that the mass cancellations we have seen tonight are hurting a lot of Americans. They’re very upset and their relationships with their doctor has been severed as a result of coverage in many instances.
There was further back and forth about the cancelled policies. Emanuel stuck to a legalistic argument that the Obamacare law did not actually force policies to be cancelled at all and never actually answered the question of whether the Administration knew that many people would lose their coverage.
Kelly then asked Emanuel about his previous comments about how had originally recommended that the Obama Administration hire a single person to oversee the rollout of the new healthcare law rather than farm out the task to the existing government bureaucracy. After Emanuel said he still believed that such a person should have been hired, Kelly picked up the problem of the millions of cancelled individual insurance policies.
KELLY: Now I know you are loyal to the President and you don’t want to criticize him but the--I don’t understand why you can’t just tell it to us straight. Should he have seen this? Why didn’t they listen to you? Why wasn’t there such a person appointed?
EMANUEL: There were differences about how they wanted to run it, and they decided to run it with people in CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] having the charge for doing it. Remember, this was not an environment which was hospitable to setting up the exchanges.
KELLY: I know. And there was a lot of criticism--
EMANUEL: You, you and your colleagues were constantly criticizing, trying to underfund it and trying to make sure it didn’t work.
KELLY: You know what, sir? A lot of that criticism proved true. A lot of that criticism proved true, unfortunately.
EMANUEL: It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. We’re going to try to do everything we can to make it fail and then when it fails, we’re going to say, “Oh why did it fail?”
KELLY: What? I don’t think Fox News had anything to do with the rollout of HealthCare.gov. As far as I know, we didn’t touch that Web site. But listen, I want to talk to you about--
EMANUEL: You were constantly--
KELLY: All right it was our fault.
EMANUEL: --attacking the law and you were trying to make it underfunded.
KELLY: All right, I’ll give you that one, too. It was all our fault.