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Koch Brothers’ Americans For Prosperity Re-Airs Worn-Out Ad

The outside group that doesn’t disclose donors has now spent more than $8 million to buy NC

GREENSBORO – In their quest to buy the North Carolina Senate race, the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, a shadowy group that doesn’t disclose its donors and “can play by a different set of rules,” has plowed another million dollar-plus ad buy into North Carolina to smear Kay Hagan.

AFP has spent more than $8 million in North Carolina this cycle – more than they’ve spent anywhere else in the country.

Kay raised more than $2 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, while her challengers lagged behind in fundraising. A Raleigh News and Observer editorial calls out Tillis and his cohorts for being “perfectly prepared to try to buy the Senate seat with outside dollars,”:

Republicans, including House Speaker Thom Tillis and his people, are perfectly prepared to try to buy the Senate seat with outside dollars, notably from groups associated with the ultraconservative Koch brothers. The two fund front groups to push their agenda while obscuring who is behind the effort. Even though Tillis has a tough primary fight ahead, the Kochs and their crowd may be betting that the speaker who presided over one of the most destructive legislative sessions in North Carolina history will be the GOP nominee.

“This is just another baseless smear campaign from a Koch Brothers-backed group that doesn’t disclose its donors, doesn’t speak for North Carolinians, and has a record of airing ads that fact checkers call ‘false,’” said Sadie Weiner, Hagan Campaign Communications Director. “The Koch Brothers have poured more than $8 million in North Carolina trying to buy a Senate seat because they know Kay will always choose the best interests of North Carolina over their special interest agenda. The only people choosing politics over people are Kay’s opponents who rejected health care for 500,000 North Carolinians, refused to set up a state-based healthcare marketplace and want to take us back to a time when seniors paid more for prescription drugs and women got charged more for coverage.” 

 

FACT CHECK: AFP FUNNELS EVEN MORE OF ITS DARK MONEY INTO NORTH CAROLINA, PUSHING ITS SPECIAL INTEREST AGENDA

TITLE

“It’s About People, Not Politics”

MEDIA

TV :30

               DATE

2/4/14

AD CLAIM: “People don’t like political ads.”

  • AFP has now dumped more than $8 million into attack ads against Senator Hagan, and their ads have been called “nasty,” “cynical,” “false” and misleading
  • North Carolina has been targeted with more spending from AFP than any other Senate race this cycle – why the focus on North Carolina? Thom Tillis, has pushed through their special interest agenda, and now they want to buy him a U.S. Senate seat.

 

AD CLAIM: “But health care isn’t about politics, it’s about people.”

  • The North Carolina Legislature has made health care reform entirely about politics by rejecting a state-based exchange and Medicaid expansion – they made the rollout of health care reform more difficult and less efficient, costing the state money and jobs, and burdening North Carolina hospitals
  • The legislature’s rejection of a state-based exchange will mean higher premiums for North Carolinians, including a 3.5% increase on premiums for having the federal government instead of the state run the exchange
  • The Medicaid expansion the legislature rejected would have covered 500,000 North Carolinians, and rejection of that expansion will increase costs for the insured and hospitals

 

AD CLAIM: “Obamacare doesn’t work.”

  • Hagan has supported sensible improvements to Obamacare that make sense for North Carolina
  • Republicans want to go back to a time when health insurance companies could deny North Carolinians coverage if they have a pre-existing condition or charge women more than men for insurance

AD CLAIMS

THE FACTS

VO: “People don’t like political ads. I don’t like them either.”

 

AFP HAS SPENT MORE THAN $8 MILLION ON POLITICAL ADS ATTACKING HAGAN

 

Politico Headline: “Americans For Prosperity Drops $1.4M On Kay Hagan Ad Buy.” [Politico, 2/4/14]

 

As of January 2014, Outside Groups Had Spent More Than $7 Million On Ads Against Hagan, With $6.7 Million Coming From AFP.“Americans for Prosperity have run $6.7 million in ads against her, including some in North Carolina that criticized Obamacare but didn’t name Hagan, according to media buys tracked by the Democratic Party. Combined with other outside group money, more than $7 million has been spent against her.” [McClatchy, 1/14/14]

 

AFP HAS SPENT DRAMATICALLY MORE ATTACKING HAGAN THAN ANY OTHER SENATE CANDIDATE

 

Politico’s John Bresnahan: “The Americans For Prosperity TV Blitz Against Dem Sen. Kay Hagan (N.C.) Is Stunning In Scale. Not Sure If There’s Ever Been Anything Like It.” [@BresPolitico, 2/4/14]

 

Hagan Has Been AFP’s “Top Target” – Their Attack Ads Have Been Run More Than 3,500 Times Against Her, “More Than Twice Any Other Target.” “Worth your time: Today’s New York Times piece on ads from tea party group Americans for Prosperity which attack vulnerable Democratic senators who supported the Affordable Care Act. The top target, in terms of the thousands of times these ads have aired between June and January? Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat. An ad against her has run more than 3,500 times.  That’s more than twice any other target.” [Greensboro News & Record, The Inside Scoop blog,1/15/14]

 

WRAL: Americans For Prosperity Has Spent More Money Than Any Other Group On The 2014 North Carolina Senate Election,  And Has Spent More In North Carolina Than Any Other State They Are Running Ads In. “Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group linked to mega-donors like North Carolina’s Art Pope and the billionaire Koch brothers, has spent more than any other group in North Carolina since the beginning of the 2014 campaign cycle, and it has poured more money into this state than any other where they are airing campaign style ads.” [WRAL, NC Capitol blog, 1/30/14]

 

Roll Call: “North Carolina Is On Pace To Host The Most Expensive Senate Race Of 2014” Thanks In Part To “Americans For Prosperity, A GOP-Aligned Group Underwritten By The Koch Brothers.” [Roll Call,12/15/13]

 

Greensboro News & Record Headline: “Kay Hagan Top Target Of PAC Health Care Ads.” [Greensboro News & Record, The Inside Scoop blog,1/15/14]

 

WHY WOULD AFP PICK NORTH CAROLINA TO FOCUS ITS RESOURCES? MAYBE BECAUSE THEY ARE WORKING WITH THOM TILLIS TO BUY THE NORTH CAROLINA SENATE SEAT AND PASS THEIR SPECIAL INTEREST AGENDA

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Tillis Is “Perfectly Prepared To Buy The Senate Seat With Outside Dollars, Notably From Groups Associated With The Ultraconservative Koch Brothers” Like Americans For Prosperity.  “How low will they go? Well, Republican-connected groups probably haven’t found the bottom of the barrel yet. It’s early, after all, in the 2014 campaign against Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. This much is certain, however. Republicans, including House Speaker Thom Tillis and his people, are perfectly prepared to try to buy the Senate seat with outside dollars, notably from groups associated with the ultraconservative Koch brothers. The two fund front groups to push their agenda while obscuring who is behind the effort. Even though Tillis has a tough primary fight ahead, the Kochs and their crowd may be betting that the speaker who presided over one of the most destructive legislative sessions in North Carolina history will be the GOP nominee. Since October, the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity has spent $4.2 million on ads in the North Carolina Senate race. They’re all aimed at slamming Hagan, setting a nasty tone for what is ahead for a senator who has been a middle-ground, diligent lawmaker.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 1/6/14]

 

Tillis “Pushed Through” Policies “Long Urged By AFP” Like Slashing Unemployment Insurance And Rejecting Expanded Medicaid. “In 2013, the General Assembly pushed through a package of tax cuts, refused to expand Medicaid in response to the Affordable Care Act, trimmed unemployment benefits and took other steps long urged by AFP. Tillis, as speaker of the House, played a key role in passing those measures.” [WRAL, NC Capitol blog, 1/30/14]

 

  • AFP’s Ads “Track Closely” With Tillis’ Message. “As an independent expenditure group, Americans for Prosperity is not allowed to coordinate its message with campaigns. However, the message in its North Carolina ads does track closely with Republican candidates like state House Speaker Thom Tillis, the leading contender in what is likely to be a six-way primary to challenge Hagan this fall.” [WRAL, NC Capitol blog, 1/30/14]

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Koch Brothers “Push Their Agenda While Obscuring Their” Funding. “This much is certain, however. Republicans, including House Speaker Thom Tillis and his people, are perfectly prepared to try to buy the Senate seat with outside dollars, notably from groups associated with the ultraconservative Koch brothers. The two fund front groups to push their agenda while obscuring who is behind the effort.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 1/6/14]

 

  • Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Americans For Prosperity Is An “Opportunistic” Group Who Is Trying “Get Control” Of Congress In Order To Pass Their Agenda. “Here’s the truth: Americans for Prosperity would be more aptly named ‘For Americans who are Prosperous.’ It is an opportunistic, right-wing group using health care reform to try to get control of the U.S. Senate and maintain control of the House so that the Koch brothers can see to the deregulation of the energy industries in which they’re involved.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 1/6/14]

 

AFP’S ADS HAVE BEEN CALLED “NASTY” AND “CYNICAL”

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Americans For Prosperity Spent Millions On TV Ads “Slamming Hagan” And “Setting A Nasty Tone For What Is Ahead.” “Since October, the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity has spent $4.2 million on ads in the North Carolina Senate race. They’re all aimed at slamming Hagan, setting a nasty tone for what is ahead for a senator who has been a middle-ground, diligent lawmaker.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 1/6/14]

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Americans For Prosperity’s Ads “Cynical Politics At Its Worst,” And It “Insults The Intelligence Of Voters; Treats Them Like Mere Pawns In A Game. And It Cheats Of A Straight-Ahead, Honest Discussion Of The Issues, Instead Playing To Their Fears.” “Attack ads are cynical politics at its worst, and Hagan is no stranger to it. But the worst thing about this type of politics is that it insults the intelligence of the voters; it treats them like mere pawns in a game. And it cheats them of a straight-ahead, honest discussion of the issues, instead playing to their fears.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 1/6/14]

 

AFP’S ATTACK ADS, INCLUDING THE ONE THEY ARE RE-AIRING NOW, HAVE BEEN DEEMED MISLEADING OR OUTRIGHT FALSE

 

FEBRUARY 2014 / NOVEMBER 2013 AD: VIEWERS “COULD BE MISLED”

 

WRAL Fact Check: Americans For Prosperity’s Attack Ad Against Hagan “Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story, And Viewers Who Don’t Seek More Information Could Be Misled.” “More specifically, the ad makes three factual claims: ‘millions of people have lost their health insurance’ ‘millions of people can’t see their own doctors’ ‘millions are paying more and getting less’ Upon request, Americans for Prosperity provided citations for those claims. The Hagan campaign has offered its own document refuting the claims. The following is WRAL News’ analysis. For those who want to skip to the bottom line, none of these claims are absolutely false, but the commercial doesn’t tell the whole story, and viewers who don’t seek more information could be misled.” [WRAL,11/22/13]

 

OCTOBER 2013 AD: “IS IT TRUE? NO” … “FALSE”

 

WRAL Fact Check On Americans For Prosperity Ad: “Is It True? No. Neither Claim Has Been Substantiated By Prior Fact Checks.” “‘Hagan supports waivers for friends of Obama and special treatment for Congress and their staffs.’ It’s unclear who AFP might consider ‘friends of Obama,’ and backup material provided by the organization does not address this part of the claim. However, there have been assertions that the administration has granted somewhere between 1,100 and 1,200 exemptions to friends of the president. These claims have largely been rated as bogus by other fact-checking organizations. […] As to claim Congress is somehow getting special treatment, this has also been debunked. […] Is it true? No. Neither claim has been substantiated by prior fact checks.” [WRAL, Fact Check, 10/29/13]

 

PolitiFact: “We Rate Americans For Prosperity’s Claim False.”[PolitiFact, 11/7/13]

VO: “But health care isn’t about politics, it’s about people.”

 

THE NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE HAS MADE HEALTH CARE REFORM ENTIRELY ABOUT POLITICS BY REJECTING A STATE-BASED EXCHANGE AND MEDICAID EXPANSION

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: The North Carolina Legislature Figured By “Shirking Their Duty” And Refusing To Create A State Exchange, They Could “Score Some Political Points.” “But in most states in the South (read that: where the most vitriolic opponents of President Obama are) Republican governors and legislatures surrendered control of the exchanges through which uninsured people must buy insurance. […] Doubtless these Republicans also rubbed their hands together and figured that if there were problems with the exchanges, people would turn against the health care program and against the president who instigated it. In other words, by shirking their duty, as the GOP leadership in North Carolina did, they can score some political points. What a dreadful line of reasoning.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/22/13]

 

  • Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: The North Carolina Legislature Is “Prepared To Let The People They’re Supposed To Represent Experience More Complicated Steps In Getting Health Care In The Name Of Making The President Look Bad.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer,10/22/13]

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Board Editor Ned Barnett: “North Carolinians Who Buy Insurance Through The Exchange Will Pay More Because Of The Republicans’ Temper Tantrum” In Refusing To Operate A State-Based Exchange And Expand Medicaid. “The General Assembly, in a fit of pique against the Affordable Care Act lawmakers deride as “Obamacare,” barred the state from any participation in the rollout of the historic effort to insure the nation’s 48 million uninsured. The Republican-led legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory rejected billions of dollars in federal aid to expand Medicaid to about 500,000 low-income state residents. They also refused to set up a state-run marketplace to sell insurance to individuals. North Carolina left that job to the federal government. […] North Carolinians who buy insurance through the exchange will pay more because of the Republicans’ temper tantrum.” [Editorial page editor Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/5/13]

 

  • Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Board Editor Ned Barnett: The North Carolina Legislature Should Accept Medicaid Expansion And Operate A State-Based Exchange So North Carolinians Don’t “Keep Paying The Price Of Their Protest.” “It’s not too late to fix the problem. The legislature can still accept the Medicaid expansion, and it can set up a state exchange and let North Carolina’s state insurance experts help North Carolinians. But federal funds that support those moves will dry up before long. It’s up to the Republicans in power. They can get with the program or they can stay on the barricades long after Obamacare has come through and let North Carolinians keep paying the price of their protest.” [Editorial page editor Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/5/13]

 

Greensboro News & Record Editorial: “Finding Practical Health Care Solutions For North Carolina Residents Was Not The Priority” For The Legislature, But Now “Leaders In Raleigh Owe A New Look At Whether The State Should Belatedly Accept Medicaid Expansion” And Operate A State-Based Exchange. “Unfortunately, finding practical health care solutions for North Carolina residents was not the priority in Raleigh. Just like congressional Republicans, state legislative Republicans simply want Obamacare to go away. If they think they can kill it by shutting down the government or by letting residents pay higher costs for fewer choices, they will. They should re-evaluate. ‘I do hope the governor and lawmakers will keep their eyes wide open,’ Goodwin, a Democrat, said. Last year, the line he heard often was, ‘Let’s see where we are a year from now.’ That’s now, and where we are is not good. Leaders in Raleigh owe a new look at whether the state should belatedly accept Medicaid expansion and operate these exchanges to get a better deal for the people.” [Editorial, Greensboro News & Record, 10/2/13]

 

Charlotte Observer Editorial: The Legislature Should “Do What’s Best For North Carolinians” And Revisit Operating A State-Based Exchange. “That not stopping anytime soon, as Republicans in Washington continue to stoke fears about the law. Perhaps, as millions of Americans begin to realize Obamacare’s core benefits, Republicans will bow to the law’s inevitability and fix its problems, not kill it. Closer to home, that will mean revisiting the issue of who should run the state’s insurance exchange. Maybe then, N.C. Republicans will finally decide to do what’s best for North Carolinians.” [Editorial, Charlotte Observer, 9/28/13]

 

THE NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE MADE THE ROLLOUT OF HEALTH CARE REFORM MORE DIFFICULT BY PUTTING IT IN THE HANDS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INSTEAD OF CREATING STATE-BASED SOLUTIONS

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: “States Such As North Carolina That Rejected A State-Run Exchange Have To Shoulder At Least Some Of The Blame For The Rollout Problems. The State Would Have Gotten Millions Of Dollars To Help It With The Exchange And Could Have Shaped It To Suit This State.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/22/13]

 

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Said He Would Be More Confident About The Implementation Of Obamacare If The Legislature Had Agreed To A State-Based Exchange Rather Than Letting The Federal Government Create It. “There will be problems. There may be a lot of them. There may not. Beginning this week, Americans will start signing up for health insurance at exchanges across the country – the most sizable federal endeavor since Social Security. No one is sure what the impact of Obamacare will be. Not even the insurance commissioner of North Carolina. But Wayne Goodwin knows this: He would be more confident about the Affordable Care Act in North Carolina had state lawmakers not refused this year to participate in a state-based insurance exchange, as Obamacare encouraged states to do. Instead, the Republican-led legislature passed Senate Bill 4, which opted North Carolina out of running a state-based exchange. As a result, North Carolinians who enroll beginning Tuesday will do so through an N.C. exchange run by the federal government, and that will affect competition, pricing and the quality of information citizens get about their health care options. ‘I would feel a lot better today if we had a state-based exchange,’ Goodwin told the editorial board Friday.” [Editorial, Charlotte Observer, 9/28/13]

 

  • North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin: “I Firmly Believe That If It Had Been A North Carolina Exchange, Most Of The Components Would Have Functioned Much More Efficiently And At A Better Cost.” [Editorial page editor Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer,10/5/13]

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Board Editor Ned Barnett: If North Carolina Had Run Its Own Exchange, “The State Likely Would Have Produced Plans Better Tailored To The State’s Needs And With More Coverage Per Premium Dollar.” “[North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne] Goodwin, a Democrat and a former state legislator, was eager to set up an exchange that could attract more insurance companies and offer advice on the new health care law. Involvement by the state likely would have produced plans better tailored to the state’s needs and with more coverage per premium dollar. As it was, a basic compliance review of plans being offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield found an error in the numbers, faulty assumptions and a benefit not required under the new law. As a result, Blue Cross policies went onto the exchange at rates 10 percent lower than originally proposed.” [Editorial page editor Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/5/13]

 

THE NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE’S REJECTING OF A STATE-BASED EXCHANGE WILL RESULT IN HIGHER COSTS FOR NORTH CAROLINIANS, INCLUDING A 3.5% INCREASE ON PREMIUMS

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Board Editor Ned Barnett: Because The Federal Government Was Forced To Run North Carolina’s Exchange, They Add 3.5 Percent To Premiums To Cover The Cost. “North Carolinians who buy insurance through the exchange will pay more because of the Republicans’ temper tantrum. The extra cost is a mix of hard and soft numbers. One hard number is 3.5 percent. That’s the percentage the federal government adds to premiums to cover its cost for running an exchange. If North Carolina had run its own, the cost could have been lower and broadly dispersed across the state’s tax base – an allocation from the general fund, for instance – with little or no effect on premiums.” [Editorial page editor Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer,10/5/13]

 

  • Raleigh News & Observer Editorial Board Editor Ned Barnett: North Carolina Has “Higher Premium Rates” Than It Would Have Due To “Diminished Competition” Because “Competition Was Discouraged By The State’s Lack Of Involvement.” “On top of the 3.5 percent are higher premium rates attributable to diminished competition. The idea behind the health care law is that putting more younger and healthier people into the risk pool will attract more insurance companies, and their competition will keep rates as low as possible. But in North Carolina, that competition was discouraged by the state’s lack of involvement.” [Editorial page editor Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/5/13]

 

Charlotte Observer Editorial: If The Legislature Had Agreed To Operate A State-Based Exchange, North Carolina Would Have Been Able To Create More Competition Among Insurance Plans, Which “Could Have Resulted In Better Pricing And Insurance Choices.” “But Wayne Goodwin knows this: He would be more confident about the Affordable Care Act in North Carolina had state lawmakers not refused this year to participate in a state-based insurance exchange, as Obamacare encouraged states to do. […] ‘I would feel a lot better today if we had a state-based exchange,’ Goodwin told the editorial board Friday. So might North Carolinians who discover that they’re paying more on average for insurance than residents of most states. N.C. families of four with incomes of $50,000 will pay $880 a month for the mid-range federal plan if they don’t qualify for subsidies. That’s $106 more than the national average. Participating in a state-based exchange would have allowed the state to create more opportunities for competition, as the N.C. Rate Bureau does for auto insurance companies. ‘With a state-based exchange, we would’ve been in control over discussions that would’ve incentivized companies to participate,’ Goodwin said. More competition, of course, could have resulted in better pricing and insurance choices, as it has with the 166 companies participating in auto insurance in the state. With Obamacare, only two companies are participating in the N.C. exchange, leaving North Carolinians with an average of 22 qualified health care plans to choose from, less than half the national average.” [Editorial, Charlotte Observer, 9/28/13]

 

THE LEGISLATURE’S DECISION TO REJECT MEDICAID EXPANSION WILL INCREASE PREMIUMS FOR NORTH CAROLINIANS ON THE EXCHANGES

 

The North Carolinians Who Would Have Qualified For Medicaid But Now Qualify For Insurance Subsidies “Are Widely Expected To Be In Poorer Health, Prompting Insurance Companies To Boost Rates By An Estimated 2 Percent To Compensate For The Risk Of Insuring This Population.” “Additionally, North Carolina officials opted not to expand Medicaid, the federal insurance program for the poor and disabled, and as a result, about 200,000 people who would have qualified for Medicaid will now qualify for insurance subsidies. Those people are widely expected to be in poorer health, prompting insurance companies to boost rates by an estimated 2 percent to compensate for the risk of insuring this population, said Mark Hall, a professor of law and public health at Wake Forest University.” [Charlotte Observer, 10/20/13]

 

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Expanding Medicaid “Would Save The Currently Uninsured Money, Save Hospitals Money And Save Insured Patients Money, Because Their Premiums Wouldn’t Increase To Cover The Cost Of Emergency Room Care For The Indigent.” [Editorial, Raleigh News & Observer, 10/14/13]

 

THE MEDICAID EXPANSION THE NORTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE REJECTED WOULD HAVE COVERED 500,000 NORTH CAROLINIANS

 

The North Carolina Legislature, Led By Tillis, Blocked Expanded Medicaid In North Carolina, Which Would Cover An Estimated 500,000 North Carolinians. “Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation Wednesday that rejects major components of the federal health care law, denying about 500,000 low-income people health care coverage under an expanded Medicaid program. The measure also prevents North Carolina from establishing a state-sponsored marketplace for health insurance, giving the control to the federal government, which will begin selling policies on the exchange in October.” [Charlotte Observer, 3/7/13; S.B. 4; voted 69 (Tillis – Y), 2/26/13; became law, 3/6/13]

 

  • Raleigh News & Observer: “Since North Carolina, Like 25 Other States, Rejected Medicaid Expansion Earlier This Year, Many Of The State’s Poorest Residents Will Go Without Insurance Despite The National Health Insurance Law That Was Intended To Slash The Number Of Uninsured Americans.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 10/12/13]
VO: “It’s not about a website that doesn’t work. It’s not about poll numbers or approval ratings. It’s about people. And millions of people have lost their health insurance. Millions of people can’t see their own doctors. And millions are paying more, but getting less.”

 

HAGAN CO-SPONSORED A BILL TO ENSURE NORTH CAROLINIANS CAN KEEP THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS

 

Hagan Signed On To Legislation To Ensure Americans Can Keep Their Insurance Plans, Saying “I Have Said That There Will Need To Be Commonsense Fixes Made To This Law.” “In response to an earlier question, Weiner said Hagan supports U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bill to modify the grandfather clause of the ACA. That’s the part of the bill that led the president, Hagan and others to promise people they could keep their insurance if they liked it. The idea behind Landrieu’s bill is to shrink the fairly enormous asterisk we now know that promise included. […] Said Hagan, via email: ‘Ever since we passed the Affordable Care Act, I have said that there will need to be commonsense fixes made to this law – just as there is with any law. The vast majority of people who receive insurance outside the individual market will not have to change their plan. But people were told they would be able to keep their plans if they like them, and I am supporting the Landrieu bill to keep that promise for those in the individual market, plain and simple. For those whose current plans are ending, I hope they will explore all their options in the exchanges where they can get better coverage and many will qualify for tax credits. My efforts to make reasonable updates to this law have always been aimed at making it work better so that it best serves the people of North Carolina.’” [Greensboro News & Record, Travis Fain, 11/7/13]

 

AFP IS SHIFTING THE BLAME: INSURANCE COMPANIES SOLD PLANS THAT THEY KNEW WOULD BE CANCELLED

 

Center For Economic And Policy Research Director, Dean Baker: “The Plans Being Terminated Because They Don’t Meet The Minimal Standards Were All Plans That Insurers Introduced After The Passage Of The ACA. Insurers Introduced These Plans Knowing That They Would Not Meet The Standards That Would Come Into Effect In 2014.” Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, wrote: “The media have been filled with stories about people across the country who are having their insurance policies terminated, ostensibly because they did not meet the requirements of the ACA. While this has led many to say that Obama was lying, there is much less here than meets the eye. First, it is important to note that the ACA grand-fathered all the individual policies that were in place at the time the law was enacted. This means that the plans in effect at the time that President Obama was pushing the bill could still be offered even if they did not meet all the standards laid out in the ACA. The plans being terminated because they don’t meet the minimal standards were all plans that insurers introduced after the passage of the ACA. Insurers introduced these plans knowing that they would not meet the standards that would come into effect in 2014. Insurers may not have informed their clients at the time they sold these plans that they would not be available after 2014 because they had designed a plan that did not comply with the ACA. However if the insurers didn’t tell their clients that the new plans would only be available for a short period of time, the blame would seem to rest with the insurance companies, not the ACA. After all, President Obama did not promise people that he would keep insurers from developing new plans that will not comply with the provisions of the ACA.” [Dean Baker, Salon, 11/15/13]

 

  • Center For Economic And Policy Research Director, Dean Baker: “If The Insurers Didn’t Tell Their Clients That The New Plans Would Only Be Available For A Short Period Of Time, The Blame Would Seem To Rest With The Insurance Companies, Not The ACA.” [Dean Baker, Salon,11/15/13]

 

Fox News Commentator Juan Williams: Americans Who Had Their Insurance Cancelled Should Blame “Their Insurance Company” For “Taking Advantage Of You And The Affordable Care Act.” In November 2013, Fox News contributor Juan Williams wrote for the outlet: “The fact is if you are one of the estimated 2 million Americans whose health insurance plans may have been cancelled this month, you should not be blaming President Obama or the Affordable Care Act. You should be blaming your insurance company because they have not been providing you with coverage that meets the minimum basic standards for health care. Let me put it more bluntly: your insurance companies have been taking advantage of you and the Affordable Care Act puts in place consumer protection and tells them to stop abusing people.” [Fox News, Williams Op-Ed, 11/5/13]

 

  • Fox News Commentator Juan Williams: “The Government Did Not ‘Force’ Insurance Companies To Cancel Their Own Substandard Policies. The Insurance Companies Chose To Do That Rather Than Do What Is Right And Bring The Policies Up To Code.” “Let me put it more bluntly: your insurance companies have been taking advantage of you and the Affordable Care Act puts in place consumer protection and tells them to stop abusing people. The government did not ‘force’ insurance companies to cancel their own substandard policies. The insurance companies chose to do that rather than do what is right and bring the policies up to code.” [Fox News, Williams Op-Ed, 11/5/13]

 

SOME GRANDFATHERED PLANS, WHICH THE HEALTH REFORM LAW SPECIFICALLY ALLOWED TO REMAIN IN PLACE, ARE BEING CANCELLED BECAUSE INSURANCE COMPANIES REFUSED TO MAINTAIN STANDARDS

 

Washington Post’s Wonk Blog: “These Cancellations Are, Essentially, A Lot Of Grandfathered Plans Exiting The Insurance Marketplace” Because The Insurance Companies Are Choosing To Cancel Them.  “These cancellations are, essentially, a lot of grandfathered plans exiting the insurance marketplace. From an insurance company’s vantage point, grandfathered plans are a bit of a dead end: They can’t enroll new subscribers and are really constrained in their ability to tweak the benefit package or cost-sharing structure. There’s not a whole lot of business sense, for a managed care company, in maintaining a health plan that doesn’t meet the health law’s new requirements.” [Washington Post, Wonk Blog, 10/29/13]

 

  • The Health Reform Law Is Not Forcing Anyone Off Grandfathered Plans – “The Insurers Are If They Change Their Policy And It Loses Its Grandfathered Status.” “Cancellation notices have gone out, and Obamacare opponents are hoping to capitalize on that fact. The law requires insurance plans to meet basic standards after 2014. If they don’t meet those standards, insurers can no longer sell those plans unless they are ‘grandfathered’ – or they existed before 2010 and haven’t changed at all since then. So, if an insurer changed a premium or a deductible in 2013, the plan is no longer grandfathered under Obamacare and can’t be renewed in 2014. The White House says it’s not forcing anyone off those plans – the insurers are if they change their policy and it loses its grandfathered status.” [Politico, 10/28/13]

 

WHAT AFP FAILS TO MENTION: NOW, IF AN INSURANCE COMPANY CANCELS YOUR PLAN, YOU HAVE OPTIONS TO BUY A NEW ONE

 

While Insurance Companies Changing And Cancelling Plans Is Nothing New, The Health Care Law Now “Guarantee[s] That Even If One Particular Health Plan Disappears, There Will Be Others — And Probably More Than Were Sold In Your Local Market Before” And “The Standardized Benefit Packages Mean You’ll Have A Good Idea Of What You’re Buying.” “This is small consolation if you’ve gotten one of those nasty letters from your insurance company, but plans getting dropped is nothing new. Neither are big rate hikes. For one thing, health insurance companies never before needed a reason to discontinue unprofitable plans, kick people off, change benefits or raise prices — those things happen every year, even to people with really good job-based health benefits. On the individual health insurance market, plans typically are sold with one-year contracts. After that, the insurance companies could practically do whatever they wanted (though they had to offer you an alternative, like they’re doing now). According to a 2004 study, only 17 percent of consumers in this market kept the same plan for two years or more (h/t the Washington Post). This is going to happen next year, and the year after that, ad infinitum. On the bright side, Obamacare regulations guarantee that even if one particular health plan disappears, there will be others — and probably more than were sold in your local market before. And the standardized benefit packages mean you’ll have a good idea of what you’re buying.” [Huffington Post, 11/1/13]

 

Health Care Reform Forbids Insurance Companies From Kicking People Off Of Plans If They Get Sick. “About half of all Americans—about 160 million people—already have private health insurance, mostly bought by employers. If this applies to you, Obamacare matters only if your plan was stingy. Under the law, insurers must now pay for many things that used to be optional, like prescription drugs, having a baby, and mental health care, among other services. The law also blocks any extra charges for routine checkups, cancer screening, and some other stuff. Obamacare also limits your yearly out-of-pocket fees, such as co-pays for going to the hospital. It also forbids insurers from kicking you out if you get sick.” [Brookings, Ten Questions About Obamacare You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask, 9/30/13]

 

Before Obamacare, “People Routinely Got Kicked Off Their Plans For Getting Pregnant, Having A Pre-Existing Condition, Or Losing Their Job” And “Afterward, No One Would Sell Them Insurance, Which Pretty Much Screwed Them.” “People routinely got kicked off their plans for getting pregnant, having a pre-existing condition, or losing their job. Afterward, no one would sell them insurance, which pretty much screwed them. Many people also had bad health plans that imposed all kinds of restrictions. In addition, 60 million Americans had no health insurance at all, and as a result, many people lost their homes, endured bankruptcy, and suffered other hardships trying to pay for treatment for their illness. Among industrialized nations, the United States was an outlier in having no basic guarantee of health care.” [Brookings, Ten Questions About Obamacare You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask, 9/30/13]

VO: “Obamacare doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work. Tell Senator Hagan to stop thinking about politics and start thinking about people.”

 

AFP WANTS TO GO BACK TO A TIME WHEN HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES COULD DENY NORTH CAROLINIANS COVERAGE IF THEY HAVE A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION OR CHARGE WOMEN MORE THAN MEN FOR INSURANCE…

 

UNDER HEALTH CARE REFORM, NO ONE CAN BE DENIED COVERAGE DUE TO A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION – WHICH COULD BENEFIT THE 4 MILLION NORTH CAROLINIANS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

 

Under Health Care Reform, Those With Pre-Existing Conditions Will No Longer Be Denied Health Insurance. “Today, insurers can no longer deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition, like asthma or diabetes, under the health care law. And beginning in 2014, health insurers will no longer be able to charge more or deny coverage to anyone because of a pre-existing condition.” [HHS, North Carolina, accessed8/15/13]

 

  • There Are As Many As 4 Million Non-Elderly North Carolinians With A Pre-Existing Health Condition. “As many as 4,099,922 non-elderly North Carolinians have some type of pre-existing health condition, including 539,092 children.” [HHS, North Carolina, accessed 8/15/13]

 

UNDER HEALTH CARE REFORM, INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN NO LONGER CHARGE WOMEN MORE THAN MEN

 

Under Health Care Reform, Insurance Companies Cannot Charge Women More Than Men. “So, there is evidence that some women buying health insurance in the individual market, a key target of Obamacare, are charged 50 percent more than men for the same coverage. Such gender rating is made illegal under the health reform law.” [PolitiFact, 10/6/13]

 

…AND GO BACK TO HIGHER COSTS FOR SENIORS

 

HEALTH CARE REFORM STRENGTHENS MEDICARE BENEFITS AND CLOSES THE DONUT HOLE – IT HAS SAVED NORTH CAROLINA SENIORS ON MEDICARE MORE THAN $200 MILLION ALREADY

 

AARP: Health Care Reform “Protects And Strengthens Guaranteed Benefits In Medicare,” And “Closes The Dreaded Medicare Part D ‘Doughnut Hole,’ A Gap In Prescription Drug Coverage That Is Life-Threatening For Many.” [AARP, Press Release, 3/10/12]

 

  • More Than 1 Million North Carolina Seniors Have Received Free Preventive Care Services Under Health Care Reform.According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 1,003,923 Medicare enrollees in North Carolina alone took advantage of preventive care services made free under the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, 277,558 North Carolinians enrolled in Medicare Advantage had access to those free preventive care services. [CMS, 2/13]

 

  • More Than 100,000 North Carolina Seniors Have Saved Money On Prescription Drugs Because Health Care Reform Closed The Donut Hole. “In North Carolina, people with Medicare saved nearly $209 million on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act. In 2012 alone, 106,207 individuals in North Carolina saved over $70 million, or an average of $661 per beneficiary. In 2012, people with Medicare in the ‘donut hole’ received a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 14 percent discount on generic drugs. And thanks to the health care law, coverage for both brand name and generic drugs will continue to increase over time until the coverage gap is closed.” [HHS, North Carolina, accessed 8/15/13]

 

o   In 2012, North Carolina Seniors Saved An Average Of $661 On The Cost Of Prescription Drugs. “In North Carolina, people with Medicare saved nearly $209 million on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act. In 2012 alone, 106,207 individuals in North Carolina saved over $70 million, or an average of $661 per beneficiary.” [HHS, North Carolina, accessed 8/15/13]

 

o   North Carolinians On Medicare Have Already Saved More Than $200 Million Total On Prescription Drugs. “In North Carolina, people with Medicare saved nearly $209 million on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act.” [HHS, North Carolina, accessed 8/15/13]

 

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF NORTH CAROLINIANS WILL QUALIFY FOR TAX CREDITS – IN FACT, A WHOPPING 107,000 HAVE ALREADY SIGNED UP FOR A PLANS WITH 89% QUALIFYING FOR SUBSIDIES

 

More Than 107,000 North Carolinians Signed Up For A Health Care Plan Through HealthCare.gov. “More than 107,000 North Carolina residents have selected a health insurance policy under the Affordable Care Act – the vast majority signing up in December after the crash-prone federal enrollment website underwent intensive repairs.” [Charlotte Observer, 1/13/14]

 

  • North Carolina Met 120 Percent Of Its December 2013 Target For Health Exchange Enrollment.  [New York Times, 1/13/14]

 

  • 89 Percent Of North Carolinian Applicants Have Qualified For Federal Subsidies For Coverage, One Of The Highest Rates In The Nation. “In North Carolina, 89 percent of applicants have qualified for subsidies, among the highest subsidization rates in the nation. Only Oregon has a higher rate of subsidized insurance enrollments, at 100 percent.” [Raleigh News & Observer, Health Care Answers blog, 1/13/14]

 

It Is Estimated That A Total Of 684,000 – 896,000 North Carolinians Will Be Eligible For Tax Credits Through Health Care Reform. “About 684,000 North Carolina would qualify for a tax credit in 2014 if they acquire health insurance through the federal exchange that launched Oct. 1, according to a report from a nonprofit agency focused on health care issues. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported Tuesday that North Carolina could have the sixth-highest number of exchange enrollees qualified for a tax credit through the Affordable Care Act. The foundation said that nearly 1.1 million North Carolinians could participate in the marketplace — also at the sixth-highest level. The nonprofit advocacy group Families USA has projected that more than 896,000 North Carolinians — including more than 176,000 in the Triad and Northwest North Carolina — would be eligible for the tax credits.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 11/5/13]

 

  • Tax Credits For Insured Americans Will Average $2,700, And Credits For The Uninsured Will Likely Be Even Higher. “An estimated 48% of people who currently have individual market coverage will be eligible for tax credits, the analysis finds. Tax credits among those eligible will average $5,548 per family, and subsidies will average $2,672 across all families now purchasing their own insurance. Many people who are now uninsured will also be eligible for subsidies in the new marketplaces, and their tax credits will likely be higher on average since they have lower incomes than those who now buy their own coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 8/14/13]

 

HAGAN HAS SUPPORTED SENSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS TO OBAMACARE THAT MAKE SENSE FOR NORTH CAROLINA

 

HAGAN ASKED THE ADMINISTRATION TO DELAY OPEN ENROLLMENT AND THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE PENALTY FOR TWO MONTHS, TO ENSURE NORTH CAROLINIANS CAN ENROLL

 

Hagan “Wants The Obama Administration To Delay By Two Months The Period In Which Individuals Can Sign Up For Health Insurance Through The New Government Website And When Financial Penalties Begin For Those Remaining Uninsured.” [Associated Press,10/24/13]

 

HAGAN SUCCESSFULLY LED THE CHARGE FOR AN INVESTIGATION TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE OBAMACARE WEBSITE AND HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE

 

December 2013: The Federal Government Announced It Would Investigate The Flawed Launch Of HealthCare.gov, Which Hagan Had Called For. “The federal government will investigate the flawed launch of the online shopping site for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on Wednesday. […] Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., called for the investigation into the contracting process for the website in a Nov. 15 letter to HHS signed by 15 other Democratic senators. Hagan said on Wednesday that she was pleased that the investigation was going forward.” [McClatchy, 12/11/13]

 

HAGAN HAS FOUGHT TO REPEAL THE MEDICAL DEVICE EXCISE TAX

 

Hagan “Disagreed With The President’s Position” On The Medical Device Excise Tax, Saying: “My Number One Priority Is Getting North Carolinians Back To Work, And I Am Concerned About The Effects Of The Planned Medical Device Tax In North Carolina.” [Raleigh Telegram, 12/14/12]

 

  • September 2013: Hagan Co-Sponsored A Bill To Repeal The Medical Device Excise Tax. [S. 232, Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act, co-sponsored 9/23/13]

 

HAGAN ENDORSED REPEALING THE INDEPENDENT PAYMENT ADVISORY BOARD

 

Hagan Supported Repealing The Independent Payment Advisory Board, Which “Is Charged With Recommending Ways To Cut Medicare Costs If They Exceed A Certain Threshold.” [Raleigh News & Observer, Under the Dome, 9/18/13]

 

HAGAN HELPED REPEAL A BURDENSOME REPORTING REQUIREMENT IN HEALTH CARE REFORM

 

4/5/11: Hagan Voted To Repeal The 1099 Reporting Requirement In Health Care Reform. [H.R. 4, Vote 49, 4/5/11]

 

  • Hagan Said 1099 Repeal “Will Allow The Nation’s Small-Business Owners To Spend Less Time On Government Red Tape, And More Time Expanding Their Businesses And Adding Jobs” And Called The Requirement “Unworkable.” [Charlotte Business Journal, 4/5/11]