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Fact check: Did Obamacare lead to cancellation of 300,000 health plans?

 

A new TV attack ad against former Gov. Charlie Crist zeroes in on Crist’s support for Obamacare.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s political committee, Let’s Get to Work, unveiled the ad March 24. Scott’s campaign said it will spend $2 million on the statewide ad, which started running on Thursday. The ad repeats snippets of Crist’s March 9 interview on CNN when he called Obamacare “great.”

“Great?” the narrator says. “News reports say 300,000 health plans canceled. Obama says patients may lose their doctors. The federal government says less work hours for American jobs,” the narrator continues before repeating Crist’s “great” comment. “Great, Charlie? Obamacare may have been great for Charlie’s political career, but it’s not great for the rest of us.”

Crist is a Republican turned independent who is now the Democratic frontrunner challenging Scott.

There are a lot of claims about Obamacare in the ad, but we wanted to focus on one that has received considerable media attention in Florida: Were 300,000 health plans canceled?

FLORIDA BLUE

The ad flashed a picture of an October front page article in the St. Augustine Record about 300,000 plans from Florida’s version of Blue Cross Blue Shield, known as Florida Blue.

In 2013, Florida Blue started sending letters to about 300,000 members explaining that the Affordable Care Act requires plans to provide 10 categories of essential benefits. Some Florida Blue plans didn’t include those services, so those plans would be closed. But that didn’t mean those 300,000 members were stranded without insurance.

The Miami Herald’s Public Insight Network obtained copies of letters received by Florida Blue consumers. The letters stated that because of the Affordable Care Act, the consumer’s particular plan “will be closed,” and recommended another Florida Blue plan.

“To help ensure that you have continuous health care coverage, you’ll be enrolled in this health plan effective Jan. 1, 2014, unless we hear from you by Nov. 1, 2013.”

The letters stated that consumers could choose a different Florida Blue plan.

“We’ll help you find a plan that’s right for you,” the letter stated.

What happened to the 300,000?

There’s more to the 300,000 number than the ad suggests. Read more. 

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