Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

April 5, 2014

Fact Check: Misleading anti-Obamacare ad in Michigan

By FactCheck.org

Americans for Prosperity’s latest anecdotal TV ad attacking the Affordable Care Act features a Michigan mom who says her family’s “new plan is not affordable at all” and that the law is “destroying the middle class.” In fact, her case is an example of how middle-class families can benefit from the law — if they choose to do so.

The ad, which features Shannon Wendt of Michigan, leaves the false impression that the family obtained its costly new insurance plan through the federal exchange set up by the new law. But that’s not the case. The family’s “new plan” is a temporary plan that does not meet the ACA requirements. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan offered the plan to customers who had their old policies canceled but did not want to purchase insurance on the exchange. It turns out that Wendt found a cheaper, subsidized plan on the exchange, but declined to accept it because she did not want her children on the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

That’s her right, of course, but the ad is misleading because it fails to disclose that the Wendt family opted to pay more for insurance rather than accept the conditions that came with obtaining a cheaper, subsidized health plan on the exchange.

Meet the Wendt Family

The ad, called “Shannon’s Story,” is the latest in a series of anti-ACA ads by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group founded by billionaire businessman David Koch. In it, Shannon Wendt — the married mom of five young children — criticizes the health care law and Rep. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat who voted for it. Peters is the likely Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate and is expected to face Republican Terri Lynn Land in November for retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat. AFP has spent $5 million so far in Michigan — a key state if the Republicans hope to win control of the Senate.

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