We don’t usually have high standards for television campaign ads in election season. But there’s a series of ads now airing on Northern California television that are so breathtakingly bad and deceptive that they deserve being called out.
Just to be clear: Health Access California is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates–but we feel the record must be corrected, especially when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Medicare, and Medicaid.
The ads are running in multiple districts, including those of Northern California Democrats Jerry McNerney and John Garamendi and Republicans Dan Lungren and Jeff Denham
The one against astronaut Jose Hernandez, who is running against GOP Rep. Jeff Denham in Stanislaus County, is indicative:
Jose Hernandez was not in the Congress during the debate over “Obamacare,” but nevertheless, the ad attacks him for being supportive of the Affordable Care Act. In making outlandish claims about health reform, it seeks to tarnish all those in support of the law.
The Sacramento Bee did a fact check on a similar ad against Ami Bera, the challenger to GOP Rep. Dan Lungren. It founds the ads werely “misleading on several counts.”
What’s stunning to me is that the ads are not just false–they are the opposite of what is true.
* The ACA doesn’t cut Medicare benefits–it actually expands Medicare benefits, with free preventative care and a better prescription drug benefit, to eventually fill the so-called “donut hole” in drug coverage. There are $718 billion in Medicare savings–included not just in the ACA but in the Paul Ryan budget that virtually all GOP members voted for. In the ACA, those savings are from stopping overpayments to insurers, and for agreed-upon discounts to providers, who recognize they’ll be getting new paying customers under Obamacare. (No word on how providers deal with the cut without the expansions.) Virtually all fact checkers have been clear: the charge that the ACA cuts Medicare is highly misleading.
* The ACA will provide a major tax credit to middle-class families, rather than impose an additional tax burden. In 2014, the new Exchange will provide tax credits to low and moderate income families to better be able to afford health coverage, so they don’t have to spend more than a certain percentage of their income.
* The ACA is currently providing tax credits to small businesses to provide health coverage to their workers. Employers under 50 workers with an average salary of less than $50,000/year are already eligible for significant help to make ends meet. Any repeal of Obamacare would introduce more uncertainty, and makes these small businessmen’s health costs go up.
What’s striking about that last point is the the U.S. Chamber of Commerce should be informing their small business members about the tax credit–but instead they are waging an ideological war instead. With these utterly false ads, the Chamber is not serving their members, nor our democracy.