The prevailing conventional media wisdom is that Fox News is not just adversarial, but even hostile to the Obama White House, but at Friday’s daily briefing, Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry revealed that a White House official recently influenced him not to use a piece of reporting that he otherwise would have. While it’s quite common for press offices to attempt such influence, it’s rare for a journalist to cite such an attempt as a determining editorial factor, and even more surprising for a Fox News reporter to do so.
Henry asked Carney about the midterm election impact of people who had their plans canceled due to the ACA, and were subsequently unable to get insurance.
“There will be a debate in every race about this, and many other issues,” Carney replied, and added “You might have missed it, I certainly haven’t seen it on your network, but Rand’s study noted the number of individuals for whom that would be the case, at least based on their survey…”
Carney was citing a RAND corporation study that showed less than a million individuals transitioned from having an individual market insurance policy to being uninsured. The study did not attempt to identify why those individuals lost their insurance, or why they remained uninsured.
“Well, the White House has also taken issue with the RAND study, because there’s parts of it,” Henry began, then revealed “I specifically did not use it in a piece a couple of days ago because I spoke to a White House official who told me that they felt the RAND study left out a lot of important information. Just to be clear.”
Henry later clarified that the White House official took issue with the portion of the RAND study that suggested that “a lot of people who signed up were not previously uninsured,” but did not identify any defect in the study beyond the White House official’s exception to it.
Citing the RAND study and our own reporting on Gallup’s survey of uninsured people, Carney pointed out that the rate of uninsured “has gone down significantly since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
The RAND study showed a decrease in the rate of uninsured Americans from 20.5 percent in 2013 to 15.8 percent in March, but did not include much of that month’s late enrollment surge. Gallup showed a decline from 18% in October of 2013 to 14.5% in the second half of March, or roughly 11 million fewer uninsured people since the law took effect.