Republicans Strike Out in Search for Americans Hurt by Obamacare
Obamacare is the real “American Horror Story,” or so the Republican Party has said time and again in political ads and public remarks by politicians. The GOP’s unrelenting criticism of the healthcare law has featured personal tales of anguish and fear by Americans claiming the law caused them to lose their insurance plan or pay fantastically higher premiums or both.
But like most horror stories told on television, there’s more fiction than truth to the GOP’s tales.
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, with eyes on the 2016 presidential nomination, has said that for every person in his state who signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, 40 other Kentuckians had their plans cancelled.
Not so, says Politifact, the Tampa Bay Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking blog. Yes, it is estimated that somewhere between 130,000 and 168,000 plans were cancelled in the state, although many of those policyholders were re-enrolled into new plans. Nevertheless, the cancellation total was considerably less than the total of Kentuckians who signed up for insurance under Obamacare: more than 410,000, including enrollment in private plans and Medicaid, according to PolitiFact, which classified Rand’s claim a “pants on fire” lie.
When contacted by The Washington Post about the 40-to-1 cancellation claim, Paul spokesman Brian Darling said the figures used in making the claim were out of date.
“Given that, by some estimates, Obamacare cut Kentucky’s uninsured level by 40 percent, Kentucky might not be the best place to look for horror stories,” The Wire’s Arit John wrote.
In Nebraska, Republicans have warned Obamacare is scarier than Children of the Corn.
The frightening tale there belongs to Andrea Kodad, mother of two, who told U.S. Representative Lee Terry in his political ad that Obamacare caused her premium to go up by $300.
Again, not true. This time the fact checking was provided by the Post’s Glenn Kessler, who found Nebraska allows residents to keep their existing health insurance plan for two more years. This meant Kodad was able to avoid switching insurance and paying a higher premium.
When contacted about this bogus claim, a Terry spokesman argued that Obamacare is still a serious problem because it’s causing “uncertainty” for Americans.
To Learn More:
The Perfect Obamacare Horror Story Remains Elusive (by Arit John, The Wire)
New Obamacare Attacks: a Roundup (by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post)
Lead Plaintiff in Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit Now Bankrupt with Unpaid Medical Bills (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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