President Barack Obama went too far in saying the Affordable Care Act meant "everybody" would have "basic health care."
The law doesn't create a universal health care system, and not everyone will have insurance. In fact, tens of millions will still be uninsured. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that tens of millions will gain insurance, but the ACA was never expected to cover everyone. CBO says there will be 25 million fewer uninsured because of the law, as early as 2016. That leaves 31 million still uninsured. 24 States have not expanded Medicaid, leaving millions of below-poverty Americans falling into a gap between their state's Medicaid eligibility level and being eligible for subsidies. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimated in December 2013 - when 25 states weren't moving forward with expansion - that nearly 5 million would fall into this coverage gap and likely remain uninsured.
Americans for Prosperity
Americans for Prosperity's latest anecdotal TV ad attacking the Affordable Care Act features a Michigan mom, Shannon Wendt, who says her family's "new plan is not affordable at all" and that the law is "destroying the middle class."
She was covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The insurer caused a stir in the market when it canceled all of its non-compliant plans except one called "Keep Fit." The company said, "Keeping the plans open in 2014 would require a 'catch-up' premium rate increase of 30 percent or more."
They did allow people like the Wendt's to transition into the "Keep Fit" plan - but only through 2014. In November, BCBSM spokesman Andy Hertzel said that about 50 percent of its customers who had non-compliant individual policies were eligible for subsidies. "Many people could receive better benefits at lower prices" on HealthCare.gov, said Hertzel. Shannon and Zach Wendt could have been among those people if they went on the exchange - but they decided against it.
Koch and the EPA
Charles Koch wrote: "EPA officials have commended us for our 'commitment to a cleaner environment' and called us 'a model for other companies.'"
The EPA was complementary of one specific agreement reached in 2010 with Koch subsidiary Flint Hills Resources after the agency raised concerns about permits for a refinery in Texas. Georgia Pacific, A Koch subsidy, was named a SmartWay Excellence Award recipient by the EPA. SmartWay is a private-public program run by the EPA that links up manufacturers and retailers with transportation services to "improve fuel efficiency and the environmental performance ... of the goods movement supply chains."
An EPA spokeswoman told PolitiFact that the statement was solely "about GP's transportation practices as a member of SmartWay," and not an assessment of the entire company. Koch companies have repeatedly found themselves in the crosshairs of the EPA for various environmental violations. On numerous occasions they were forced to pay hefty fines and settlements and change their practices as a result of EPA and Justice Department action.
In 1999 Koch Industries was found guilty of negligence in the death of two teens at a pipeline leak; in 2000 Koch Industries paid $30 million for over 300 oil spills in 6 states, $2 million dollars in Minnesota for negligently discharging fuel into a wetland and waterway, $25 million for environmental crimes at a refinery the company owned in Texas; in 2013 a $380,000 fine for failing to create a risk management program for facilities producing and storing ammonia products in Iowa and Kansas; and in 2014 and $350,000 fine for leaky equipment at a Texas chemical plant that allowed hazardous air pollutants into the atmosphere.
Chip Tuthill lives in Mancos. Websites used: www.politifact.com and http://connectforhealthco.com