Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS operation launched the latest in a series of commercials last week highlighting “Obamacare victims” who aren’t really victims at all. This latest horror-story ad featured a series of deceptive claims, and starred a woman whose husband has a pre-existing condition and who’s now better off than he was before the Affordable Care Act.
This week, Rep. Cory Gardner (R), his party’s U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado, has a new ad in which he presents himself as an ACA victim. For those who can’t watch clips online, the candidate tells viewers:
“When Mark Udall voted for Obamacare, he promised us if we liked our health care plan, we could keep it. Well, you know how that worked out.“I got a letter saying my family’s plan was canceled – 335,000 Coloradans had their plans cancelled too.”
Just on the surface, there are some important flaws in the far-right congressman’s pitch. For example, chances are most folks don’t know “how that worked out” – only a tiny percentage of the population couldn’t keep their old, substandard plan. Not only were the vast majority of Coloradans (and Americans) unaffected, but the vast majority of those who were affected ended up with better coverage that can’t be taken away.
Gardner claims 335,000 Coloradans had their plans canceled. It’s hard to know for sure whether that figure is accurate, but this ad might leave voters with the impression that the ACA simply left these 335,000 people with nothing. That, of course, is absurd – those who couldn’t keep bad coverage were transitioned to better plans. The question the congressman doesn’t want to talk about is how many of those 335,000 Coloradans are actually better off now than before.
What’s more, Gardner’s underlying complaint is disconnected from the reality in the state – Colorado has seen a sharp drop in its uninsured rate thanks to “Obamacare.” That’s something policymakers from the state should be cheering, not complaining about.
But then there’s the congressman’s more personal claim. He received a cancellation letter?
David Nir took a closer look a the claim.
Gardner … has been claiming his insurance plan got cancelled for quite some time, and in the past, he repeatedly said that his premiums had more than doubled. But Gardner never offered any evidence for that assertion, even though KDVR asked him for it five times, and it seems like he’s dropped it now. […]Finally, you might be wondering how it was that Gardner was even in a position to have his own insurance plan cancelled in the first place. Yes, members of Congress are now required to purchase insurance on the exchanges, but this cancellation happened last year, before the law went into effect. It turns out that Gardner voluntarily chose to decline congressional coverage and bought his own insurance in its place—an extremely expensive decision that’s comparable to turning down a bus pass from your employer and leasing a BMW instead.As one healthcare expert put it, most people “don’t have the resources” to do something like that (nor would they want to), so even if Gardner’s story is accurate, it’s “not the norm.” You might almost imagine that Gardner did all this to make an asinine political point, one he’s now trying to capitalize on.
Here’s the spot itself:
As for the bigger picture, it’s still hard not to wonder why the right continues to struggle to find actual, legitimate “Obamacare victims” whose stories don’t crumble under scrutiny. If the Affordable Care Act were really so awful, it shouldn’t be this difficult.