Truth Test: AFP pounds Udall again on Obamacare

KUSA - It's only April and it's already hard to keep up with all the political ads in Colorado's U.S. Senate race.

We fact-checked the first ad from Democrat Mark Udall's re-election campaign earlier this week.

Now we're looking at the other side's message from Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group which ran an earlier ad on Obamacare containing plenty of factual problems.

The newer ad from the group fares better in our Truth Test, but it's not perfect.

9NEWS will hold those who run political ads on our networks accountable for what they say. You can find the entire collection of Truth Tests here: To learn more about how political ads and fact-checking work on 9NEWS, please read these answers to our common questions and comments.

This ad made news this week because the first version included a picture of Mark Udall with the President taken after the Aurora Theater Shooting.

AFP says it was a mistake to use a photo from the tragedy and put in a new image. The claims stayed the same.

CLAIM: "335,000 Coloradans. That's how many people's plans were canceled because of Obamacare."


AFP cites an accurate figure from the state's insurance commissioner reflecting the number of cancellation notices that went out to Coloradans.

As we pointed out in our last Truth Test of an AFP ad, those 335,000 people did not just end up high and dry.

More specifically to Colorado, the state insurance commissioner said more than 90 percent of those people were offered an option to renew their plans early rather than switch to something new.

With all policy cancellations, health insurance companies are required to provide alternative plans if they want to stay in the business.

Though that context would take steam out of the case they seek to build, AFP picks up the word "TRUE" in this verdict because it switched its rhetoric from "losing health insurance" to losing "plans," a distinction we talked about in the last test we did of an AFP ad.

CLAIM: "Can you really afford to pay thousands of dollars more?"


This is crafty language. It sounds like a question, but it implies people are paying thousands more for healthcare under Obamacare.

That's a stretch when tossed out as broadly as it is in this ad.

Federal data show the average person does pay more each year . Most recently that was about $250, not thousands.

The growth of those costs has slowed under the Obama administration.

Are some people paying thousands more? Yes.

However, it's hard to justify generalizing it like this.

CLAIM: "Your health plan canceled. All because Mark Udall said yes to Obamacare."

VERDICT: TRUE (assuming your plan was canceled)

This claim assumes the premise that your plan got canceled, which is a distinction that applies to many, but not to most Coloradans.

Most people didn't deal with this issue because relatively few buy insurance as individuals.

However, for those who did get canceled and aren't happy about it this is a fair claim for the ad to make.

It's true that Udall voted for the law.

The ACA needed every Democratic vote it could get and Udall was one.

CLAIM: "Now Mark Udall says he'd do it to us again." (Plays audio clip twice in which Udall says "I would do it again, yes.")


Udall did utter the words "I would do it again, yes."

It's interesting that AFP found time to play the small cut of sound twice, but they didn't play you the part right before or after when Udall also says the healthcare law was "flawed" and that in hindsight he'd do it differently.

You can listen to the entire interview with Udall at KOA 850 News Radio. Just before the six minute mark, this exchange begins:

SEN. UDALL: "We did the right thing. The law is far from perfect. My focus is on making it work for Colorado."

STEFFAN TUBBS (HOST): "So you'd do it again?"

SEN. UDALL: "I would do it again. Yes, I would... if I were there I would say 'here are some things that we should have done differently, here are some things that make more sense.' But we're on track."

Udall goes on to say that he thinks the ACA will work out in the end.

He's clearly bullish on the law's prospects, but the small snip used in the ad is meant to portray ignorance by Udall of the problems the law has encountered as it rolls out. That is a distorted way to use the audio.


AFP has cleaned up some its arguments to be more grounded, but it's also begun to use passive phrases to imply claims as it build a narrative against Obamacare.

Be ready for a lot more ads like this one from opponents aiming to convince you that Udall is wrong to say Obamacare will work in the end.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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