Recent comments by Kansas 1st District Congressman Tim Huelskamp about the Affordable Care Act earned him a “Four Pinocchios” rating in a Washington Post feature called “The Fact Checker.”
The rating is based on statements Huelskamp made during recent town hall meetings in Hays and Salina. Huelskamp told his audience in Salina on April 14 that the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, had led to a reduction in the number of Kansans with health insurance.
“We believe there are more people uninsured today in Kansas than they were before the president’s health care plan went into effect,” Huelskamp said. “And I thought the goal was to bring more people under insurance.”
We heard him say the same thing at a town hall meeting on April 10 at the Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo. But it ain’t so, according to Glenn Kessler, who writes “The Fact Checker.”
Huelskamp had plenty of charts and numbers to share at the town hall meetings, but the Obamacare jab was more of a throwaway line to an audience that was strongly conservative, at least in Great Bend. It was right in there with his skepticism on climate change, where he said glibly said the climate is getting hotter — or cooler — indicating he it depends on what environmentalists are saying “today.”
We should have paid closer attention, because the congressman apparently shared the same misinformation at other town hall meetings.
On the issue of Kansans losing their insurance, Kessler asked Huelskamp’s office what numbers he was referring to. While waiting for an answer, Kessler checked with experts at the Kansas Insurance Department and the Kansas Health Institute, the parent organization of the KHI News Service.
According to “The Fact Checker,” Scott Brunner, a senior KHI analyst, told Kessler that the U.S. Census Bureau hadn’t yet released numbers that show how the Affordable Care Act has affected the number of uninsured in the state. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reported that 29,309 Kansans signed up for health insurance on the online exchange.
In addition, officials at the insurance department said that a decision by the Obama administration to allow people to keep policies that didn’t meet ACA coverage standards limited the number of Kansans who lost coverage because of the law.
On May 1, the Kansas City Star reported the latest data shows overall marketplace enrollees for the first year of mandated individual coverage under the Affordable Care Act included 152,335 Missourians and 57,013 Kansans.
Huelskamp’s whopper deserves its Four Pinocchios. He needs to be honest about health care reform. And on climate change, the National Climate Assessment released this week says it’s getting hotter, and human activity is part of the cause. We’re not making that up.