Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

December 21, 2013

Fact Check: DCCC exaggerates impact of repeal

Democrats are telling the constituents of a Pennsylvania Republican that repealing the Affordable Care Act “would take health care away from 657,000 children in Pennsylvania with preexisting conditions.” No, it wouldn’t.

That number comes from an Obama administration estimate for all children living in Pennsylvania, under 18, with some kind of pre-existing condition. It’s not an estimate of how many had gained coverage because of the law’s pre-existing condition protections. Or an estimate of how many would lose their insurance if the law were repealed.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting House Republicans in favor of repeal with e-mail blasts that highlight benefits of the law. It’s true that the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover all children, under age 19, regardless of pre-existing conditions. And the law includes the same protection for adults. But it’s simply not true that 657,000 kids in Pennsylvania would lose their health care without the law.

The e-mail criticizing Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, who favors repeal, is headlined: “#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Fitzpatrick’s Repeal Would Take Health Care Away from 657,000 Children in Pennsylvania with Preexisting Conditions.” (The e-mails encourage use of the Twitter hashtag #CostsOfRepeal.) The message goes on to say: “Kids with preexisting conditions like asthma and diabetes would be the latest victims of Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with 657,000 at risk of losing their coverage in Pennsylvania — sending us back to the days when insurance companies were free to deny coverage to sick kids, or charge them exorbitant premiums.”

The National Journal printed a similar DCCC message that mentions both children being denied coverage and “129 million Americans - including 5,489,162 people in Pennsylvania” who “could be denied coverage.” The 129 million figure is for all non-elderly Americans with a pre-existing condition and also comes from an administration report.

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