The PolitiFact Florida conclusion:
Our rulingHow doth PolitiFact mislead thee? Let me count the ways ...
The U.S. Chamber said, "Obamacare could cause 20 million people to lose their current coverage." It's a claim that is oft-repeated and much exaggerated.
The chamber employs a worst-case projection by a nonpartisan research agency. The agency’s other forecasts are lower, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the ad. And unlike Priebus, the group does not specify that the type of insurance potentially affected is a specific type of insurance -- "employer-based" insurance.
Plus, this 20 million estimate only counts people who receive coverage from their employer -- and not those who might receive better coverage elsewhere.
Most importantly, this figure does not represent uninsured people who will get coverage because of the law.
We rate it Mostly False.
1) "The chamber employs a worst-case projection by a nonpartisan research agency" Following as it does on the heels of "oft-repeated and much exaggerated," this sounds bad. But the worst case scenario is exactly how one ought to support a claim of potential damage ("could cause 20 million people to lose their current coverage"). PolitiFact's observation is a positive posing as a negative.
2) "The agency’s other forecasts are lower, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the ad." Hidden context? One wouldn't know that "could cause 20 million" calls for a high-end estimate from reading PolitiFact's fact check. Basic English interpretation tells the viewer that "could cause" implies a high-end estimate and a worst-case scenario. But the 20 million figure is neither of those in the context of the ad.
3) "(T)he group does not specify that the type of insurance potentially affected is a specific type of insurance--'employer-based' insurance." PolitiFact doesn't tell you that by using a number specific to one type of insurance it implies that any loss from other types of insurance gets added to the worst-case scenario number. Consider all types of insurance and the number can only be equal or higher. So how is it misleading except by underestimating the worst-case scenario?
4) "Plus, this 20 million estimate only counts people who receive coverage from their employer -- and not those who might receive better coverage elsewhere." This isn't even a coherent objection. PolitiFact is probably trying to say that the 20 million figure includes those who opt for "better" coverage apart from an employer-offered plan. The report on which PolitiFact relied makes no reference to spurning the employer offer for a "better" plan unless by "better" PolitiFact means cheaper. The report indicates that customers offered more than one option for health insurance strongly prefer less expensive plans. The report does not mention any alternative motivation, so PolitiFact apparently dreamed up the one it mentions. It's possible to argue that those who leave employer insurance because of pricing are not forced into cheaper insurance plans, but PolitiFact's implication that consumers freely choose better plans obscures the factors at work and allows readers to assume that the "better plans" idea comes from the CBO/JCT report. It doesn't.
5) "Most importantly, this figure does not represent uninsured people who will get coverage because of the law." A figure for persons losing current coverage should never represent uninsured people who will get coverage because of the law. Uninsured people have no existing coverage to lose in the first place. PolitiFact's most important point is irrelevant to the accuracy of the 20 million figure. At most, it is relevant as context trying to balance the 20 million figure against a benefit of the health care reform law.
6) A real fact check would have looked for types of existing insurance other than employer insurance likely lost as a result of the health care law. The same CBO/JCT report lists such losses on the line below losses to employer insurance. PolitiFact somehow neglects to notice (the figure is an additional 3 million for the baseline scenario and an additional 1 million for the worst-case scenario):
Nice job of plowing another train into your existing train-wreck, PolitiFact.
We rate it Mostly False.Trading on what credibility, pray tell?
How did this fact check pass an editor's examination?