Truth Test: Does Coffman have a plan to fix healthcare?

Next with Kyle Clark. 9NEWS @ 6. 2/21/2017

KUSA - While we haven't seen a concrete plan from Republicans to replace Obamacare, the replacement is already getting rave reviews -- at least in TV ads supporting GOP members of Congress.

The "American Action Network," which doesn't disclose its donors, is running one such ad in Colorado.

It's technically an issue ad, suggesting you call Congressman Mike Coffman to give him an "attaboy" for working on healthcare.

CLAIM: Our healthcare system isn't working. Mike Coffman has a plan to fix it.
VERDICT: Overstatement

Mike Coffman doesn't have a plan to replace Obamacare, but his staff points out he "does have some very specific principles that he expects to see included in the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act."

That is not the kind of thing you'd write if the plan was actually done.

In fairness to Coffman, this isn't an ad *he* made.

But he is meant to benefit from it.

And if the ad is a bit over-the-top in singing Coffman's praises about changing healthcare laws-- well, at least he's got plenty of company.

This same ad is running claiming that several other congressional Republicans also have plans in TV ads running in other states.

There’s also a generic version that simply promises “Republicans have a plan.”

And the group cut versions of the ad with the same visuals, but with scary music and a more somber voiceover—attacking Democrats who supported Obamacare.

So the key message here is that whatever Republicans come up with, the American Action Network group thinks it's gonna be great.

CLAIM: [Obamacare has led to] rising premiums and deductibles.
VERDICT: True, but needs context

It's true premiums and deductibles have increased since Obamacare, but this needs a little context: premiums and deductibles were also increasing before Obamacare.

CLAIM: [Obamacare has led to] Washington intruding between doctors and patients.
VERDICT: Too vague to test

Without a more specific claim, this is too vague for us to factcheck.

One could argue this has been the case for more than a century-- since the first time Congress passed a law on healthcare.

CLAIM: [Obamacare has led to] expensive mandates that destroy jobs.
VERDICT: Fair

While the ad-makers can point to a study from their own think tank, we can look at more neutral sources to find evidence to support this claim.

The New York fed surveyed companies and found roughly one in five cutting jobs in the service and manufacturing sectors in response to Obamacare.

There's also evidence a relatively small number of workers were dialed back to part time due to the A-C-A.

Despite all that, it's worth pointing out that the national jobs reports have been steadily improving with the broader economic recovery.

The idea that we can experience job growth and the idea that healthcare policy might cause some companies to dial back on their hiring plans are not mutually exclusive.

PROMISES, PROMISES

The ad goes on to make several promises about what will be in the new plan, which does overlap with what congressman Coffman's office told us he wants to see.

Many of the promises in the ad mirror policies already enacted by Obamacare, such as addressing pre-existing conditions, tax credits to help people buy insurance, and targeting small businesses to pool their resources.

Coffman’s office told us he wants to keep the changes Obamacare made for pre-existing conditions, the ability for parents to keep children on their plans until age 26, and maintaining coverage for people who gained it under the ACA—including the Medicaid expansion, which has been criticized by some of Coffman’s fellow Republicans.

In any case, we've seen some G-O-P proposals to replace Obamacare, but since they haven't settled on one we can't really fact check those promises yet.

BOTTOM LINE

And that gets us to the bottom line: this ad is glossing over the fact Republicans have yet to unite behind a plan on healthcare in an effort to make you think it's going to be awesome, no matter what plan they end up with.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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