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Fox News' Wild Conspiracy Theory About California Health Insurance Exchange Call Center

August 01, 2013

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or “Obamacare”) has generated plenty of headlines in recent years – most notably in the House of Representatives’ some 37 unsuccessful attempts to repeal the legislation – but this time, the headlines are about call centers.

As each state that chooses to run its own health insurance exchange puts resources into place for helping with enrollments, which necessitated the need for dozens of new call centers all over the U.S. The State of California, which plans to open three call centers to administer the exchanges, recently had some disturbing news about one of them.

Officials in Contra Costa County, Calif., were disappointed to learn that the planned contact center that will be located there to support the state’s health care exchanges will be employing many workers on a part-time basis, with no benefits or health insurance. The workforce for the new contact center will include more than 200 employees, but about half of those employees will be part-time workers, according to the Contra Costa Times. One new worker that had already been hired in early July to staff the call center pointed out to the newspaper how ironic it was that he would be helping other Americans enroll in mandatory health insurance but have none himself. Contra Costa officials are calling the incident “a comedy of errors.”

Conservatives were quick to cry “foul,” accusing the White House of allowing states exemptions from the very rules they are supposed to be helping enforce.

Fox News’ Stuart Varney said in a recent news spot, “That’s the farce here. People giving information about government care not getting government care. It’s extraordinary.”

While initially, Varney’s criticism of the part-time nature of the jobs has merit, he quickly dissolves into eyebrow-raising conspiracy theorist mode.

“All along the president really wanted socialism. This is one way of getting it. You push people out of private enterprise health care and you push them onto government care. Once the government starts providing your healthcare, you, as a voter, will vote for the government which gives you the healthcare at someone else’s expense. That’s socialized medicine. That’s how it works.”

Presuming President Obama personally controls the nature of the employment of 100 call center workers in Contra Costa, Calif., is enough of a silly reach, but Varney’s complete lack of understanding of the way real socialized medicine works – all citizens and resident aliens pay for it through their taxes, and then receives healthcare free of costs managed by the government – makes one wonder why anyone would consider him an authority on anything beyond tying his own shoes.

Edited by Alisen Downey