Republican Party wrongly claims that Chandler voted for ObamaCare

jcheves@herald-leader.comOctober 30, 2012 

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

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 Obama-Care — "every one."

He didn't.

Chandler, who faces Republican challenger Andy Barr on Nov. 6, voted "no" on ObamaCare — President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act — in 2010. At the time, Chandler cited several concerns he had with it. Rural hospitals might be hurt by a cut in payments they receive for providing indigent care, and senior citizens might suffer from reduced growth in Medicare spending, both of which the bill requires to help pay for its staggering cost, he said. A better bill would deal with the costs added to health care by insurance and pharmaceutical companies, he said.

He later voted against House Republican efforts to repeal the health care law, saying he appreciated parts of it, "like those that protect Central Kentuckians by preventing insurance companies from dropping people if they get sick, ending lifetime caps on coverage, and eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions." Congress needs to return to the law and make "some major changes" without gutting it entirely, he said.

Chandler also voted against the $700 billion bank bailout in 2008. He later argued: "If there are no rules, no consequences for causing a massive global economic crisis, and if there are bailouts when things go bad, what will stop these banks from causing another financial crash?"

The same argument led him to oppose Obama and the Democratic Party on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2009. Chandler said Dodd-Frank leaves banks "too big to fail," potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for future bailouts.

Chandler did vote for Obama's $787 billion economic-stimulus package in 2009. And he voted for an $85 billion auto-industry bailout in 2008.

The Republican Party does not explain in its mailer what "pork barrel projects" it thinks Chandler supported, so it's impossible to evaluate that claim.

Campaign Watchdog finds the Republican Party mailer to be false. Chandler did not vote for "every one" of the items listed. He voted against some of them.

John Cheves: (859) 231-3266. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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