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Campaign Watchdog: GOP claim that health insurance going up 34 percent in Ky. mostly false

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the 2014 elections.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

cwatchdogmostlyfalseThe statement: “In Kentucky, individuals will see a 34 percent increase in their health care premiums.”

— News release issued Wednesday by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, attacking Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes on the Affordable Care Act

The ruling: Mostly False

The facts: In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, a sweeping and complex law intended to provide health coverage to the uninsured. Americans must be enrolled in a health plan by March 31 to avoid a tax penalty.

In a news release, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said there will be a 34 percent increase in insurance premiums for individuals in Kentucky under the health care law. To support that claim, the NRSC cited a report published in March by the Society of Actuaries in Schaumburg, Ill.

This was one of many attacks the NRSC is making on Democratic Senate candidates, alleging large and specific increases in insurance costs under the health care law on a state-by-state basis. Expect to see more of the same in 2014 television commercials promoting the re-election of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

However, because there are so many variables involved and changes coming to the marketplace, it’s impossible to accurately predict the law’s impact on premiums, according to many of the nation’s health care experts, including the author of the Society of Actuaries report the NRSC cited.

“It’s a heck of a lot more nuanced than that. We didn’t even try to predict the future of premiums in that study,” said author Randy Haught, senior scientist at Dobson | DaVanzo, a health care consulting firm just outside Washington, D.C.

Campaign Watchdog: Democrats’ abortion claim about Andy Barr false

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Stamper — jstamper@herald-leader.com

The statement: Andy Barr “says here he’ll vote to outlaw a woman’s right to choose, and make it a crime — with no exceptions. … Not even if your life is at risk.”

— Radio ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

The ruling: False

The facts: Republican Andy Barr’s stance on exceptions to an abortion ban has been a hot topic this week after he refused to answer a question about the issue during a debate Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television.

Barr, a Lexington lawyer, is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Versailles in Tuesday’s election. Barr has promoted himself as a pro-life candidate throughout his campaign, including in a mailer that showed a photo of his daughter.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee claims Barr said he would make no exceptions to a ban on abortion, even when the mother’s life was in danger. That’s not what happened during the KET debate.

Campaign Watchdog: Claim that Chandler opposes Alaskan drilling mostly true

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves — jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “Despite rising gas prices, Chandler voted against expanding drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.”

— Online ad by FreedomWorks for America attacking U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles

The ruling: Mostly true

The facts: Chandler, who faces Republican challenger Andy Barr in Tuesday’s election, opposes oil drilling in the 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska, a protected habitat for polar bears, caribou and seabirds.

Congress has debated drilling in ANWR for several decades, most recently in a pro-drilling House bill in February that Chandler voted against. The House approved that bill but has not sent it to the Senate for further action.

Claim that Barr supports tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas half true

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “My opponent wants tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.”

— U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, in a television commercial

The ruling: Half true

The facts: Chandler, who faces Republican challenger Andy Barr in Tuesday’s election, says Barr wants tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Barr has not called for exactly that sort of tax break, but he supports changes to the tax code that would have that practical effect.

Barr and many other Republicans support a proposed tax break that can be found most prominently in the budget plans of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the GOP vice presidential nominee.

Republican Party wrongly claims that Chandler voted for Obamacare

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “The stimulus. Bailouts. Pork barrel projects. Obamacare. Ben Chandler voted yes on every one.”

— Republican Party of Kentucky mailer sent to Central Kentucky homes

The ruling: False

The facts: In a mailer sent to voters’ homes, the state Republican Party says Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler voted for the federal stimulus bill, bailouts (plural), pork barrel projects and Obamacare — “every one.”

He didn’t.

Campaign Watchdog: GOP wrong about impact of cap-and-trade bill supported by Chandler

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “Ben Chandler’s vote for Obama’s ‘cap and trade’ bill would raise taxes on every American household by $1,761.”

— Republican Party of Kentucky mailer sent to Central Kentucky homes

The ruling: False

The facts: U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, faces Republican Andy Barr, a Lexington lawyer, in the Nov. 6 election.

In 2009, President Barack Obama proposed a cap-and-trade plan — a compromise between free-market conservatives and environmentalists — to deal with the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to climate change.

Facts don’t support claim that Andy Barr subverted open-records law

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “Andy Barr … was even admonished by the attorney general for subverting the state open records law.”

— Television commercial for U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles

The ruling: False

The facts: Barr, a Lexington lawyer, is the Republican challenger to Chandler in the Nov. 6 election.

Chandler’s claim that Barr was caught subverting the Kentucky Open Records Act stems from an October 2007 request for documents submitted to Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s office, where Barr was Fletcher’s deputy general counsel.

Campaign Watchdog: Blaming Chandler for all of nation’s debt unreasonable, unfair

By John Cheves — jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “Since taking office, Ben Chandler has allowed Congress to run up $9 trillion in new debt.”

— Mailer sent by the Republican Party of Kentucky

The ruling: Mostly false

The facts: Andy Barr is the Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, in the Nov. 6 election. In a mailer sent to Central Kentucky homes to promote Barr, the Kentucky Republican Party said “Chandler has run up $9 trillion in new debt in eight years.”

The national debt has soared from $7 trillion to $16 trillion since Chandler took office in February 2004, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

However, Chandler is one of 535 members of Congress. Without a leadership post or committee chairmanship, he has limited power to affect federal spending. For instance, Chandler voted three times against raising the federal debt limit under President George W. Bush, and he voted against the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008. He was outvoted every time.

Campaign Watchdog: Claim that Chandler responsible for coal job losses false

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By John Cheves
jcheves@herald-leader.com

The statement: “Obama, Ben Chandler and EPA: 2,000 coal jobs lost this year.”
– TV ad for Andy Barr

The ruling: False

The facts: Andy Barr, a Lexington lawyer, is the Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, in the Nov. 6 election.

In his ad, Barr’s campaign alleges that Chandler is destroying the coal industry.

“Obama, Ben Chandler and the EPA are destroying us. They’re putting the coal industry out of business — and it’s just devastating,” says Heath Lovell, vice president of River View Coal, in the ad.

Campaign Watchdog: Claim that Barr wants to ‘end traditional Medicare’ half true

The Herald-Leader will routinely check the accuracy of statements made by candidates and their surrogates leading up to the Nov. 6 election.

By Jack Brammer
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

The statement: “But Andy Barr supports a plan that would end traditional Medicare, raising costs for seniors more than $6,000 a year.”

— A recent TV advertisement for Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler’s re-election campaign.

The ruling: Half True

The facts: The two major candidates in the race for Central Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District have inundated the district with a barrage of advertisements about Medicare, the government health program primarily for people age 65 and older.

In his latest salvo, Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler of Versailles is attempting to convince voters that his Republican opponent, Lexington attorney Andy Barr, wants to “end traditional Medicare.”

Reality is more complicated.