Truth Test: Does the GOP plan fix Obamacare problems?

A Republican group is trying to promote the repeal-and-replace effort with a TV ad that highlights problems with Obamacare.

KUSA - A Republican TV ad points to problems with Obamacare, but the problems it highlights aren’t sure to be fixed under the GOP replacement bill made public this month.

The ad from the American Action Network features Elizabeth Jacinto, a pregnant mother of three from Southern California.

She and her husband are both self-employed, which means they don't get health insurance from work. They had an individual plan and then moved onto California's official state exchange when Obamacare took effect.

That matters because it's used in this ad to support the Republican plan to repeal and replace the A-C-A.

CLAIM: “When Obamacare was first coming out I was hopeful that it was going to work out for our family. What ended up happening was an absolute nightmare. We were arbitrarily kicked off our plan.”

VERDICT: NEEDS CONTEXT

This claim needs a lot more context than you get in the ad.

According to AAN, Jacinto got caught up in a glitch with the California healthcare exchange that accidentally canceled her coverage and left her family uninsured for four months.

Colorado has had similar glitches.

Our research turned up evidence that people were able to retroactively cover themselves in California when this happened to them, but it did take a lot of legwork to do. That's a pain in the rear to deal with, but there were ways to fix these problems back when they happened.

While Obamacare obviously played a role in it, this criticism is really more about bad software in California to implement the healthcare law than it is about the law itself.

And it's worth noting the GOP replacement plan out this month doesn't get rid of state exchanges, so this point in the ad doesn't support its argument that the new plan is going to be better.

CLAIM: “I didn't have access to my OB/GYN.”

VERDICT: FAIR

This criticism is fair. It goes back to the overpromising (or as PolitiFact called it, the “Lie of the Year”) Democrats did on Obamacare, that you'd be able to keep your doctor and keep your plan.

Of course, we know many plans had to change to meet the new ACA standards and doctors (as they did before) switch in and out of plans all the time.

Could Jacinto have found a plan that she could use with her previous OB/GYN? Almost certainly.

Would it have been as affordable? That can only ban answered on a case-by-case basis.

But again, the new GOP plan isn't going to force doctors to stay on the plans they work with today.

So this could just as easily happen to people moving forward.

BOTTOM LINE: This ad is picking some well-documented problems with Obamacare, including one that didn't come directly from the federal government.

But neither problem would necessarily be solved by the Republican plan the way it was introduced this month.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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