A couple of weeks ago, Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who’s about as conservative a lawmakers as there is, debunked the idea that anyone who doesn’t buy health insurance coverage under the new health care reform legislation will be subject to imprisonment. After an audience member at a town hall meeting held by Sen. Coburn mentioned “the possibility of imprisonment” for those who don’t buy health insurance, Coburn said in no uncertain terms, “The intention is not to put anybody in jail. That makes for good TV news on FOX but that isn’t the intention.” Obviously Sen. Coburn has no incentive to lie about whether individuals who don’t buy health insurance would be subject to imprisonment, given the fact that if that were in fact true, it would certainly help the case of those (like Sen. Coburn) who were opposed to the Democratic health care reform legislation.

On the April 13 edition of his show, Bill O’Reilly of Fox/Faux News raked Sen. Coburn over the coals for his comment about the network, saying Sen. Coburn’s comments weren’t fair. O’Reilly went on to assert not a single person who had ever appeared on Fox News told viewers they would go to jail if they didn’t buy health insurance, saying, “We researched on Fox News if anybody had ever said you’re going to jail if you don’t buy health insurance. Nobody’s ever said it.”

Here’s video of the exchange between O’Reilly and Sen. Coburn:

What I’d like to know is who Bill O’Reilly and the folks at Fox News have doing their research, because there’s no shortage of individuals who’ve been on Fox News and who’ve asserted individuals who refuse to buy health insurance coverage would be jailed under the Democratic health care reform legislation. In fact, appearing on the November 13, 2009 edition of “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” Republican Congressman Dave Reichert of Washington noted the following (emphasis mine):

Well, you know, what I`m worried about is that we continue on with this — this whole idea that we’re going to pay for this bill by taxing people. So, now we’re going to tax their health insurance plans. On the House side, we have already passed a bill that taxes families, taxes small businesses, taxes medical devices for seniors and our special-needs community. And then we are also going to fine people and send them to jail. So, the bill just keeps getting worse and worse and worse. Every day that goes by…

Neil Cavuto’s show wasn’t the only show to make the claim those who refused to buy health insurance would be subject to imprisonment. Only a day earlier, on November 12, 2009, Glenn Beck noted,

They justify the $1 dollar health care plan by saving, you know, money through some magical fairy money. I don’t know how they’re going to do it. They don’t play by the rules the rest of us have to play by, because they make them up as they go! But if you don’t play by their new rules on health care — oh, here’s a new little twist. Have you heard this? You’re going to be looking at a fun little stint in jail.

These are just two of a bunch of examples of the claims of imprisonment for those who refused to buy health insurance coverage that were made on Fox News, leaving me to wonder if Bill O’Reilly’s team of crack researchers were having a really off day when they did their research for Bill O’Reilly.

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2 Responses to Jail time for health insurance evaders? Faux News says, “YES!” despite the facts

  1. forgotmyscreenname says:

    What happens if people refuse to pay the penalty? Remember the IRS is in charge of that. What do they do with people who habitually don’t pay their taxes?

  2. william says:

    i for one havent been to a doctor for almost 20 years, and refuse to go to a doctor for any reason. why do i need to have something i wont use, maybe you should only get fined if you go to a hospital or doctor with no insurance, leave the rest of us alone. this country is going down the toilet fast. land of the free my ass, how about “land of the future highest prison population in the world because we are paid by insurance companies to force people to have insurance and dont give a damn about our own people”

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