"Fox News Resurrects Death Panels: ‘This Is About People Dying As A Result Of Obamacare’"
During an appearance on Fox and Friends Friday morning, Fox News contributor and legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. claimed that Medicare beneficiaries who are losing access to critical medical services as a result of sequestration “ain’t seen nothing yet,” as Obamacare will kill off far more Americans in the next ten years.
During a segment discussing how the budget sequester’s two percent cut to Medicare is forcing cancer clinics to deny chemotherapy to thousands of beneficiaries, Johnson told host Steve Doocy that elderly Americans should expect a lot more bad news in the coming decade as a direct consequence of the health care law:
DOOCY: This story is going to disturb you. Cancer clinics across this country are turning away thousands of Medicare patients in need of chemotherapy. You can blame the sequester. Is there more to come? Peter Johnson, Jr. has a prescription for truth. Peter, what is this about?
JOHNSON: This is about people dying as a result of Obamacare and as a result of the sequester. What the oncology association is saying is that thousands of chemotherapy patients who should have received their treatments, their benefits under Medicare, will not based on a 2 percent reduction under the sequester. What they fail to understand — and maybe they do and they don’t want to discuss it at this point — is that over the next ten years, 2013 to 2023, under Obamacare, there will be a $716 billion reduction [to Medicare] in Obamacare. We’re talking about a $3 billion reduction in the sequester now and the $3 billion reduction in Obamacare —
DOOCY: This is a preview of coming awful things.
JOHNSON: You haven’t seen anything yet. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
Johnson’s conflation of the sequester’s ham-fisted spending cuts with Obamacare’s Medicare savings demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the sequester, Obamacare, and how federal budgeting works. Sequestration is causing cancer clinics to turn people away because they can’t afford to keep providing expensive chemotherapy drugs to patients in the face of a two percent cut to Medicare Part B that has to come entirely out of clinics’ overhead funding — making the sequester cut more akin to a double-digit pay cut. Obamacare’s $716 billion in Medicare savings come from reducing historically excessive payments to providers that service private Medicare Advantage plans, meaning that it doesn’t affect benefits. Conservatives have consistently fear-mongered over those savings despite including them in their budgets.
Later on in the program, Johnson also revived the widely debunked claim that Obamacare has “death panels” — a claim that is so patently false that Politifact named it 2009’s “Lie of the Year.”