So much for the Great Waiver Scandal

For several weeks, Republicans have insisted there’s a burgeoning scandal related to the Affordable Care Act. The details of the alleged controversy have never fully come together, but apparently the GOP, Fox News, and their allies want us to believe the Obama administration is issuing waivers to political allies based on nefarious partisan schemes. The argument was even the basis for a strikingly dishonest attack ad from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.

Hoping to push this even further, House Republicans requested an investigation from the Government Accountability Office into the waivers. And how’d that work out for them? Not well — the allegations were a bust.

A much anticipated audit of the waivers to Democrats’ healthcare reform law landed with a whimper on Tuesday despite the GOP’s hopes that it would further embarrass the administration. […]

“We found that [the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight] granted waivers mostly for applications that projected the annual limit restriction would result in a significant premium increase of more than 10 percent, in addition to a significant decrease in access to benefits,” the report said. “Conversely, most of the denied applications projected a premium increase of 6 percent or less.”

Democrats immediately embraced the audit.

“The GAO report finds that (the administration) is implementing this provision — and the temporary waiver provisions — in a fair and unbiased manner to ensure a smooth transition until the full array of reforms are in place,” Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “The GAO report confirms that the Republican attacks on (the administration’s) implementation have no basis in fact.”

What a surprise.

Fox News has been obsessed with the waivers “issue” for weeks, but as best as I can tell, the network made no reference to the GAO’s findings on the air yesterday. It’s almost as if the revelations had to be ignored because they didn’t fit into the agreed upon Republican narrative.

Of course, in fairness, it’s also worth noting that Fox wasn’t the only outlet to ignore the news — nearly all mainstream outlets blew off the GAO’s findings, too. I wonder if the coverage might have been different had the GAO’s investigation found hints of wrongdoing.

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