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Fact-Checking Wasserman Schultz on ACA Court Rulings


The Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- was dealt another setback recently when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that people in states that don't operate their own insurance marketplace cannot get subsidies for the insurance they buy on the federal marketplace.

That's because the language of the ACA doesn't specifically say that.

Another federal appeals court -- on the same day -- ruled that the subsidies for insurance bought on the federal marketplace are fine.

This is, obviously, headed for the Supreme Court -- where Debbie Wasserman Schultz is confident the subsidies will be upheld.

In a TV interview soon after the rulings came down, the Florida congresswoman and Democratic National Committee chair said a couple of things about the ACA marketplace that caught the attention of PolitiFact Florida.

First, Wasserman Schultz blamed Republican governors in 36 states for blocking implementation of state-run insurance marketplaces.

"We ruled this one mostly false," said Josh Gillin of PolitiFact Florida. "The 36 number is involved here but that's 36 total states that have used federal exchanges or state-federal partnerships. Of those, 27 had Republican governors who used the federal exchange and two more had Republican governors who adopted a state-federal partnership. But that's not 36 total. And the DNC, when we asked them about it, said she misspoke."

The other Wasserman Schultz statement about the ACA court rulings is a little more complicated. She said:

"The language in the Fourth Circuit actually compared if you buy a pizza from Pizza Hut to a pizza from Dominoes," Wasserman Schultz said. "And if you ask for ham and pepperoni on your Pizza Hut pizza, but then I actually go get your pizza from Domino’s, it’s implied if I bring back a pepperoni and ham pizza, then that’s what you asked for."

"We called this one mostly true," Gillin said. "There was an opinion from a judge who gave a concurrent opinion that did, in fact, use this kind of analogy. She didn't get it totally right because the opinion said that if you ask for for Pizza Hut pizza with ham and pepperoni but you say, 'I'd be all right if you get Domino's,' that's the difference in language. It's a slight difference in what is a kind of complex metaphor. So we called it mostly true."

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