KUSA—If you've watched any TV recently, you've probably seen a conservative group's million-dollar ad buy that started this week, aimed at stirring up anger over Obamacare.
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Their target is Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat up for re-election this year. He'll likely face Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) in November and the two are polling neck-and-neck.
The thinking behind this ad is pretty simple: polls show the affordable care act is unpopular in Colorado and Sen. Udall supported it with his vote.
It comes from Americans for Prosperity, a group hated by the left that is funded in part by the Koch Brothers, who are wealthy conservative activists.
The ad argues Obamacare is hurting people and it starts with some pretty easy claims made by an actress that seems to want to be your friend.
CLAIM: "People don't like political ads."
VERDICT: That's an easy "TRUE," all I have to do is check my inbox.
CLAIM: "I don't like them either."
VERDICT: A pretty easy "FALSE."
The same actress saying this line appeared in nearly identical ads last fall, targeting several other members of Congress. Left-leaning blogs, like ColoradoPols, are jumping on AFP for running a "recycled" ad against Udall because of this.
Of course, that says little about the substance of the ad's claims on Obamacare. Let's give those a look.
CLAIM: "Millions of people have lost their health insurance."
VERDICT: Needs context.
This claim would be a lot better if it had the word "plans" on the end of the sentence.
It's true that millions of people with individual coverage got cancellation notices because their old plans didn't meet the standards of Obamacare.
An AP story counted 4.7 million of these notices toward the end of 2013.
This is why President Obama was roundly criticized for overpromising by repeating that Americans who liked their plans could keep them.
But getting one of these notices is not the same thing as losing insurance.
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.
CLAIM: "Millions of people can't see their own doctors."
As we just discussed, a lot of people had to switch plans.
Some of them switched to plans that didn't include their old doctor and it's true many insurance companies are shrinking their networks so they can have cheaper premiums on the exchanges.
But nobody is tracking how many people lose a doctor they used to see because there are just too many plans and too many doctors.
It's also worth pointing out that this happens to people all the time-- regardless of Obamacare for a multitude of reasons.
For instance, your work changes insurance companies or the insurance plan itself re-negotiates with providers in its network.
Even if you could prove it's happening to millions of people, you couldn't pin it all on Obamacare.
CLAIM: "Millions are paying more and getting less."
As a case against the healthcare law, this is misleading for a few reasons.
First of all, people are by and large getting more in their plans, not less.
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.
CLAIM: "Obamacare doesn't work. It just doesn't work."
Supporters of the healthcare law would have a different argument and suggest that the law needs to be given time to be implemented, especially since the rollout has been so rocky.
However, opponents of the law would point to the man
stumbles as evidence the law was ill-conceived.
You'll have to decide for yourself if you think the law works, doesn't, or if it's too soon to say.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This ad is pointing to real problems that real people are running into with the healthcare law, and it is fair to raise some of the complications people are experiencing with the ACA.
However, AFP doesn't have proof that millions of people are dealing with the worst case scenario. To that end, we find that this ad is attempting to puff up the problems.