Kansas Public Radio
A Washington Post feature called The Fact Checker gives a “Four Pinocchios” rating to recent claims by Kansas 1st District Congressman Tim Huelskamp about the Affordable Care Act.
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.”
Glenn Kessler, the reporter who writes The Fact Checker, asked Huelskamp’s office what numbers the congressman was referring to. After several days passed without an answer, Kessler checked with experts at the Kansas Insurance Department and the Kansas Health Institute, the parent organization of the KHI News Service, about the congressman’s statement.
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.
In the absence of Census Bureau numbers to the contrary, Kessler concluded that the law has likely reduced the number of uninsured Kansans. His “Four Pinocchios” rating characterizes Huelskamp’s claim as “a whopper.”