Fact-Checking Elected Officials on the Affordable Care Act Repeal: Sen. Roy Blunt edition
Charles Ornstein reports in ProPublica:
Dismayed by the results of the 2016 election, Meg Godfrey decided she needed to do more than vote, share social media posts and sign online petitions. So she went to the website of Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and typed a note in support of the Affordable Care Act.
“I asked him to use my tax dollars to provide health care to his constituents just like my tax dollars provide health care for him and his family,” she said she wrote.
A short while later, Godfrey received an email reply from Blunt, essentially a form letter explaining why he supported the law’s repeal. “When President Obama signed this bill into law, he assured Americans that they would be able to keep their plans and doctors, while promising choice and affordability,” Blunt wrote. “Since the law has gone into effect, I have heard from countless Missourians who were unable to keep their insurance plans and/or providers.”
The email then gave a number of statistics to buttress Blunt’s position that the law is failing.
But something about the letter didn’t sit right with Godfrey, so she forwarded the email to ProPublica, asking us to fact-check it. Our assessment: The note was misleading and lacked important context.
That led ProPublica to wonder about the accuracy of responses sent to constituents by other members of the House and Senate on the Affordable Care Act and its future. Today, ProPublica is teaming with journalists at Kaiser Health News, Stat and Vox to gather those missives from our readers. On Monday, House Republican leaders unveiled their official proposal to repeal and replace the law. As the legislative debate begins in earnest, we plan to look at the representations made by elected officials from both parties and share what we find.
ProPublica asked Timothy Jost, an ACA expert and emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, to review Blunt’s email. “Some of this information is inaccurate, the rest of it is spin,” he concluded.
A spokesman for Blunt provided citations for the data in the senator’s note but did not respond to a follow-up email.
Jost helped us break down Blunt’s message:
Blunt’s email: . . .