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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

With his political allies perpetually unable to find an actual victim of the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is taking matters into his own hands.

This week, Gardner — the Republican nominee challenging incumbent Democrat Mark Udall in Colorado’s Senate race — released a new ad presenting himself as an Obamacare victim.

“When Mark Udall voted for Obamacare, he promised us if we liked our health care plan, we could keep it. Well, you know how that worked out,” Gardner says in the ad.

“I got a letter saying my family’s plan was canceled; 335,000 Coloradans had their plans canceled too. Thousands of families saw their health care premiums rise,” he continues. “More cancelations are on the way. You might have one of those letters in your mailbox right now.”

Like most of his Republican colleagues, Gardner overstates the supposed cancelation crisis. Although many Coloradans did receive cancelation notices, 92 percent of them were offered renewal options. Meanwhile, Colorado’s uninsured rate dropped by 6 percent over the past year, the fifth-largest reduction of any state in the nation. And premiums in Colorado are projected to rise just 3.6 percent, less than half of the average annual increase between 1991 and 2009.

And like most of the other “victims” to appear in an anti-Obamacare ad, Gardner’s story doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. As David Nir explains at Daily Kos:

Finally, you might be wondering how it was that Gardner was even in a position to have his own insurance plan canceled in the first place. Yes, members of Congress are now required to purchase insurance on the exchanges, but this cancelation happened last year, before the law went into effect. It turns out that Gardner voluntarily chose to decline congressional coverage and bought his own insurance in its place—an extremely expensive decision that’s comparable to turning down a bus pass from your employer and leasing a BMW instead.

As one health care expert put it, most people “don’t have the resources” to do something like that (nor would they want to), so even if Gardner’s story is accurate, it’s “not the norm.” You might almost imagine that Gardner did all this to make an asinine political point, one he’s now trying to capitalize on. But what politician would ever do a thing like that?

So just like Richelle McKim, Julie Boonstra, Bette Grenier, and Americans for Prosperity’s professional actors, Cory Gardner is going to be just fine. But that won’t stop Republicans’ never-ending quest to find someone who isn’t.

Screenshot: Cory Gardner for Senate/YouTube

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