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Hayes Slams Media for Obscuring Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

• February 25, 2014 7:58 pm

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Fox News contributor Steve Hayes slammed the media for obscuring Obamacare enrollment data Tuesday on Fox News.

Host Bret Baier cited tonight's statement by CMS reporting 4 million people have "enrolled" in Obamacare, along with the administration selectively interpreting several recent negative Obamacare reports and asked Hayes "where is the media on all of this?"

Earlier this month the CBO reported Obamacare would eliminate over 2 million full time jobs by providing a disincentive for people to work. Last Friday CMS quietly released a paper showing healthcare costs are expected to increase for 65 percent of small businesses because of Obamacare.

Hayes blasted mainstream journalists for taking the administration's spin on these issues at face value.

Specifically on ACA enrollment, Hayes said reporters often fail to distinguish between health insurance "sign ups" and policies where people have actually started to pay premiums. The four million "enrollment" number from CMS number is erroneous, Hayes pointed out, because it only accounts for people who have signed up. Being enrolled in a policy and paying insurance premiums is the only distinction that can make someone an actual enrollee, he said. 

Industry insiders estimate approximately 20 percent of people who have signed up for insurance have not yet paid their premium. White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged last week the administration is unsure how many people have actually made their payments and will not know for several months.

Full exchange:

BRET BAIER: I think two times in the last two weeks the CBO, according to the administration, has been wrong or at least not calculating things the right way. And now you have the CMS numbers being cherry picked. And where is the rest of the media on all of this?

STEVE HAYES: Yeah, live by the CBO, die by the CBO. This is what I find most extraordinary. The headline on the CMS posting is "Another significant milestone, marketplace enrollment hits 4 million," but as A.B. and Charles just explained, marketplace enrollment didn't hit 4 million. It didn't. it didn't happen. That's not what actually happened, yet this is the claim we're getting from CMS. This has happened repeatedly. What you see reporters doing is repeating the administration claims. Sometimes without even qualifying them and making the point somewhere in the article that these are not actual enrollments. They may be sign-ups. We don't know how many paid. I'm shocked that we don't have more journalists at this point looking back on the entire argument about Obamacare from before its passage to the assurances we had right before October 1st that everything was going to go swimmingly, to the problems with security on the site, to the failure of the website, to the bogus numbers that we have been getting from the administration consistently now for the better part of five months, that more journalists aren't saying why would we believe anything you tell us on this? Virtually none of it has turned out to be true. But you don't see that. The best you get is somewhere buried in a story in the eighth paragraph, a reporter who says, well, it may or may not really be 4 million enrollments because 20 percent of people by industry estimates haven't actually paid and you don't count those as enrollment, but this stuff matters. Now you're going to have the administration making claims about the demographic mix based on this 4 million pool, but we know that's not the real pool.

 Full panel:

Published under: Obamacare, Obamacare Exchanges