Only on Fox News would the finding that Americans’ life expectancy has fallen cause a host to speculate that maybe Americans are getting too much health care. But that’s exactly what Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt was suggesting when she “just asked” if “government health care” was the cause of the drop.
On Tuesday, Earhardt introduced a discussion on the subject as a banner read: “WAS IT WORTH IT? BILLIONS SPENT ON ACA, LIFE EXPECTANCY DROPS.”
EARHARDT: It is a startling statistic about health in America. Life expectancy is now down for the first time in more than two decades. We’re not living as long. But, as the life expectancy drops, government health care rises. Are they related?
The guest was radiologist Dr. Nicole Saphier. She calls herself a “healthcare advocate” but she, too, suggested that Americans are getting too much health care. Saphier’s prescription for better health in America seemed to be to make the system better for doctors and harder on patients.
Saphier noted that cancer deaths have gone down but, she added, “Many other of our other leading causes of death have all worsened, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes. And if you notice, something startling about that is, all of those risks may be drastically reduced just with behavioral and lifestyle modifications.”
Earhardt responded by nudging Saphier to consider blaming Obamacare.
EARHARDT: I thought with Obamacare, with more people having insurance … Wouldn’t you think life expectancy would go up? Are they related?
Saphier didn’t want to go there. But she certainly didn’t want to say that millions more Americans getting health insurance was a good thing, either. “The data is a little slow to come out showing if we’re actually improving health and wellness,” she said. “It’s just not there yet. So I can’t say for sure.”
But what she could say is that Americans are now getting too much health care:
SAPHIER: What has happened with the implementation of the ACA is we’re in the midst of a physician burnout and shortage crisis due to all of these newly insured patients.
I’d hope that a doctor overwhelmed with new patients because health insurance is more widely available would think that more practitioners would be the solution. But not this doctor.
SAPHIER: What we need to be doing to improve health care in America is, we need to foster the doctor/patient relationship. We need to make our doctors happier. We need to treat them better. But we also need to start holding patients accountable for some of their lifestyle choices that are negatively affecting their health.
How would Saphier like to hold patients accountable for bad health choices? By denying them health care? Making them pay more if they eat too much or don’t exercise enough? Earhardt didn't ask.
Whatever Saphier had in mind, Earhardt seemed to like the idea of giving patients less and doctors more. She nodded and murmured agreement as Saphier made those last comments. “Great information,” Earhardt said. Then she ended the discussion.
Watch it above, from the December 13, 2016 Fox & Friends. And hope Dr. Saphier is never your doctor.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
We watch Fox so you don't have to!