Crossroads GPS: “Severe”

Crossroads GPS simultaneously misquotes Heidi Heitkamp and takes her comments so far out of context that they end up 180 degrees opposite her actual position. The ad falsely implies Heitkamp wishes the individual mandate (characterized here as “Obamacare’s tax on middle-class families”) were enforced with a larger penalty. In fact, Heitkamp opposes the mandate, and was relaying information from insurance experts who’d told her the size of the mandate penalty would render it ineffective.

Affordable Care Act Does Not Raise Taxes On Most Americans – And Includes Tax Credits For Millions

Affordable Care Act “Will Provide More Tax Relief Than Tax Burden” For Middle Class. According to the Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler: “The health law, if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-income Americans.” [, 7/6/12] “A Large Majority Of Americans Would Not See Any Direct Tax Increase From The Health Care Law.” According to “It’s certainly true that the health care law would raise taxes on some Americans, particularly those with higher incomes. The law includes a Medicare payroll tax of 0.9 percent on income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples, and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for those earning that much. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the biggest chunk of revenue — $210.2 billion — comes from those taxes. There are other taxes in the health care law — including an excise tax on the manufacturers of certain medical devices and on indoor tanning services. The health care law included $437.8 billion in tax revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation‘s calculations. Republicans tend to add in fees on individuals who don’t obtain health insurance (which the Supreme Court now agrees can be considered taxes) and businesses that don’t provide it to bump that up to about $500 billion. Some taxes, such as those on medical devices, may or may not be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, but a large majority of Americans would not see any direct tax increase from the health care law.” [, 6/28/12]

  • Individual Penalty Payments “Tiny” Compared To President Obama’s Previous Tax Cuts. According to, the increased revenue from penalty payments by individuals who do not obtain health insurance represents “a tiny future increase compared with the tax cuts Obama has already delivered, including an estimated $120 billion in 2012 alone from the 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes.” [, 5/17/12] 

Affordable Care Act Includes Tax Credits For Millions Of Americans. According to Families USA: “We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines).” [, September 2010]

“Severe Enough” – Crossroads GPS Plays Opposite Day With Heitkamp’s Individual Mandate Position

When the narrator says that Heitkamp “even says it isn’t severe enough,” the on-screen text of the Crossroads GPS ad displays “Heitkamp said…isn’t severe enough…” and cites the Jamestown Sun.

Ad Quotes Reporter’s Paraphrase, Still Deletes Heitkamp’s Opposition To The Mandate. From the article cited by Crossroads GPS: “The individual mandate – which requires all Americans to buy health insurance or be subject to a fine – is the law’s critical element. The Supreme Court upheld the mandate last month as a legal tax. ‘That was part of how they made the whole thing balance in the end,’ Heitkamp said, ‘but you need to start from the premise that we’re starting from: How do you get people healthier?’ Heitkamp said the penalty for not having health insurance isn’t severe enough to incentivize people to get insurance, so it won’t work to meet the goal of reducing costs. ‘It’s not going to add to the ranks of the people insured,’ Heitkamp said. ‘You need to deal with making health care costs more affordable.’ To that end, Heitkamp said the 2010 law should have looked at ways to promote prevention and early intervention of chronic disease.” [Jamestown Sun via, 7/23/12, emphasis added]

Heitkamp: “I’ve Never Liked The Mandate” And “You Need To Deal With Making Health Care Costs More Affordable.” From the article cited by Crossroads GPS, with the five words quoted in the ad in italics: “‘I’ve never liked the mandate – in part because of where it came from,’ Heitkamp said referring to the mandate’s origins as a proposal offered by a Republican think tank during the health care debate of the 1990s. ‘It presupposes people don’t buy health insurance because they don’t want to,’ Heitkamp said. ‘People don’t buy health insurance because they can’t afford it.'” [Jamestown Sun via, 7/23/12]

Full Heitkamp Interview Shows She Was Referring To Opinion Of Insurance Companies, Not Calling For Higher Penalty. From the Heitkamp interview with the Forum Editorial Board, posted along with the article Crossroads GPS cites: “I’ve never liked the mandate. In part because of where it came from, I thought it was one of those things that was punitive on people who couldn’t afford health insurance. It presupposes people don’t buy health insurance because they don’t want to. People don’t buy health insurance because they can’t afford it. And so you know when they can’t afford it, then you’re gonna penalize them. Well, let’s take it one step further, what Blue Cross & Blue Shield tells me is that the penalty isn’t high enough to really get people into buying health insurance anyway. If your health insurance is $500 to $1000 a month, and the penalty is $25 a month or 50 on a sliding scale, what do you think you’re gonna pay? It’s not gonna add to the ranks of the people insured, you need to deal with making health care costs more affordable.” [Heitkamp Interview via, 7/23/12]

Rick Berg Voted For Repeal, Which Would Increases Deficits And Reduce Or Eliminate Coverage For Millions

Crossroads GPS cites Rep. Berg’s vote for repeal of the Affordable Care Act to support its claim that “Rick Berg stands with you.”

CBO: Repealing ACA Would Add $109 Billion To Deficit Between 2013 And 2022. From a letter the Congressional Budget Office sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): “H.R. 6079 would repeal the ACA, with the exception of one subsection that has no budgetary effect. […]Assuming that H.R. 6079 is enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2013, CBO and JCT estimate that, on balance, the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting that legislation would cause a net increase in federal budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period.” [, 7/24/12]

Up To 6.6 Million Young Adults Would Lose Health Care Coverage Through Their Parents’ Plans. From the Los Angeles Times: “President Obama’s healthcare law helped as many as 6.6 million young adults stay on or get on their parents’ health plans in the first year and a half after the law was signed, a new survey indicates. […] Earlier surveys by the federal government found that the number of people ages 19 to 25 without insurance declined after the law was signed, reversing years of erosion in health coverage for young adults.” [Los Angeles Times6/8/12]

70,000 Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions Would Lose Insurance Coverage. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, as of May 31, 2012, 73,333 people were enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) created by the Affordable Care Act. [, 7/13/12]

5.2 Million People Would Have To Pay More For Prescription Drugs. From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid: “As a result of the Affordable Care Act, over 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also released data today showing that in the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs in ‘donut hole’ coverage gap for an average of $629 in savings this year. […] Coverage for both brand name and generic drugs in the gap will continue to increase over time until 2020, when the coverage gap will be closed.” [, 7/25/12]

Over 35 Million Seniors Would Lose Access To Free Preventive Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] report that 35,106,598 people were enrolled in Medicare Part B in 2011. CMS also reports:

Beginning January 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act eliminated Part B coinsurance and deductibles for recommended preventive services, including many cancer screenings and key immunizations. The law also added an important new service — an Annual Wellness Visit with a health professional — at no cost to beneficiaries.

According to preliminary numbers, at least 25,720,996 million Americans took advantage of at least one free preventive benefit in Medicare in 2011, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.  This represents 73.3% of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, including 2,404,792 African-American beneficiaries, 537,110 Hispanic beneficiaries, 104,393 American Indian beneficiaries, and 508,398 Asian-American beneficiaries. [, 2/15/12]

[Narrator:] Who will stand up for North Dakota families and small businesses? Heidi Heitkamp supports Obamacare’s tax on middle-class families. She even says it “isn’t severe enough,” even though it could cost many North Dakota families thousands of dollars a year. Rick Berg opposes the Obamacare tax on middle-class families, and he’ll fight Obama’s new taxes on North Dakota businesses. Heitkamp stands with Obama. Rick Berg stands with you. Crossroads GPS is responsible for the content of this advertising. [Crossroads GPS via YouTube, 9/28/12]