UPDATE: Journalists at Politifact.com also evaluated this anti-Obamcare/anti-Udall ad and declared it "false."
Sometimes a misleading political ad has the unintended consequence of creating a backlash of truthful information that runs counter to unsupported claims in the ad.
That's what's resulted from the Americans for Prosperity advertisement claiming that "millions of people have lost their health insurance" thanks to Obamacare.
In a fact check of the ad last night, 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman pointed out that "it's true that millions of people with individual coverage got cancellation notices because their old plans didn't meet the standards of Obamacare.... But getting one of these notices is not the same thing as losing insurance." [BigMedia emphasis]
By federal law, when they cancel a plan, insurance companies have to offer you an alternate plan if they want to stay in business.
Of course, some of those alternate plans were more expensive and that caused trouble for people.
But this ad is trying to make you believe that all those people just became uninsured, which is just not the case. [BigMedia emphasis]
It's so "not-the-case" that reporters should set the record straight, in day-to-day reporting, when Obamacare opponents claim that Coloradans lost their insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act--or had it canceled.
Some journalists are already doing this, as you can see in Denver Post and Fox 31 coverage of the Americans for Prosperity ad, where reporters pointed out that renewals were offered to the vast majority of people whose policies were canceled, and new policies were offered to all.
But I like Rittiman's simple statement that getting a cancellation notice did not mean you lost your insurance.
Thanks to Americans for Prosperity's heavy-handed attack ad, and the corrections by journalists, maybe this simple fact will stick.
A more complicated fact that the AFP ad unwittingly clarifies is, as Rittiman put it, under Obamacare "people are by and large getting more in their [health insurance] plans, not less."
The AFP ad claims the opposite, that "millions are paying more and getting less."
But Rittiman's fact check points out:
Even opponents of the law argue that point, saying people may not want their plans to have all the new mandatory features: like getting rid of lifetime caps, covering prescription drugs, and preventive care.
What's true is that people are paying more.
Overall, healthcare costs are still going up for people year over year, though less quickly. It's also worth noting that some people are paying less, because of subsidies in the healthcare law.
It looks like one of the best ways Obamacare supporters can get the truth out about the health care law is for AFP to air an ad for reporters to fact check. (If only the fact-check story was promoted with a million dollars of advertising time, like the AFP ad was.)
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