MIAMI - Gov. Rick Scott is standing by two misleading campaign ads that falsely suggest 300,000 people in the state already lost their health insurance plans due to Obamacare.
"Clearly, the ad's accurate," Scott told reporters Wednesday in Miami, declining to elaborate.
The insurance company at the center of Scott's claim, Florida Blue, said in an email that the Affordable Care Act has not resulted in 300,000 of its customers being forced out of their plans.
"To date, most of the members in our pre-ACA plans have kept their plans," Florida Blue spokesman Paul Kluding said in a recent public statement.
Kluding noted that some customers chose to leave their old plans because new Obamacare plans offered a better deal "either because of potential subsidies, or because they would benefit from the new coverages and/or better premiums."
"Technically, there were a couple of hundred members with unique plans that were not continued. We chose to migrate those plans to new ACA-compliant ones instead of making changes to their existing benefits," he said. "Other than those unique members, no one else lost coverage due to the ACA."
Based on the statements from Florida Blue, PolitiFact Florida rated Scott's campaign ad Mostly False for saying "300,000 health plans canceled."
After PolitiFact's analysis, Scott's political committee released a new ad Monday that essentially repeats the misstatement with this line: "300,000 in Florida lost coverage."
Both ads attempt to use the unpopular Affordable Care Act as a vehicle to attack Scott's Democratic rival, Charlie Crist.
Scott hadn't been questioned about his ads until Wednesday when he stopped at the Armando Badia Senior Center in Miami-Dade, where he met with seniors complaining about rising costs of their Medicare Advantage plans.
When questioned about why his ads say 300,000 people already lost their insurance when they really didn't, Scott demurred.
"If you look, around the state, Obamacare has had an impact on a lot of people's plans. They're losing their doctors. And they're losing their plans," he said, as an aide started to end the session.