Fact Squad: Ad falsely claims John James would deny millions health insurance

The ad from Senate Majority PAC claims James supported a health care plan that would remove insurance protections for 4.1 million Michigan residents with pre-existing conditions. 

LANSING — A new TV ad targeting John James claims he supports health care changes that would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions and leave millions without insurance. 

The claim comes from Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC pouring money into high-stakes Senate races nationwide. James, a Detroit-area businessman, faces first-term incumbent Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, this fall. 

The ad is built around a hypothetical and is misleading. While James has supported repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, he’s never supported the changes referenced in the ad.

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The Claims

The ad opens with James telling Fox News that “health care is extremely important and we need to make sure that we’re not pulling the rug out from under people.”

The ad claims James “supported a health care plan that would take away protections for 4.1 million Michiganders with pre-existing conditions.”

“James’ plan would leave 23 million Americans without health insurance,” the ad continues. It concludes that James is “wrong on health care, wrong for Michigan.”

The Facts

Republicans have sought to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act since it became law in 2010.

The ad’s numbers are correct on who is protected under the ACA: The Center for American Progress, a Democratic-leaning public policy think tank, estimated in 2019 that 4.1 million Michiganders with pre-existing conditions would stand to lose coverage through ACA if the law was struck down in the pending Supreme Court case Texas v. United States.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 23 million Americans would have lost health insurance under a House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the ACA — known as the American Health Care Act — that was considered in 2017 and failed in the U.S. Senate. That was before James even began his campaign.

So while the ad’s numbers are accurate, it’s unfair to say they reflect James’ “plan.”

That’s partly because James is squishy on exactly how he would replace the Affordable Care Act.

James has said during both his 2018 and 2020 campaigns that he supports repealing and replacing the ACA, but that his preferred solution would include coverage for pre-existing conditions. That’s also on his current campaign site, in addition to general details of what he would look for in his preferred health care plan.

“We must have a market-based, patient-centered approach that must cover preexisting conditions,” James said during a 2018 debate with Sen. Debbie Stabenow at the Detroit Economic Club.

Even so, millions would lose insurance if the Trump administration and Republican attorneys general prevail in their case to strike down the ACA.

When asked by Bridge if James supports the lawsuit, a spokesperson said he “doesn’t support a repeal without a replacement.”

The Conclusion

The ad uses real data showing what’s at stake for Michiganders and Americans if the ACA were repealed but reaches a false conclusion about James’ stance on health care.

The proposal that the ad calls “James’ plan” died before he was even a political candidate. 

No doubt, more specifics are needed from James on what he would do to ensure millions don’t lose coverage if the ACA is repealed, but he has always been consistent that a replacement should include protections for pre-existing conditions.

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

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Just the facts
Thu, 08/27/2020 - 7:08pm

To be fair, listen to John James:


For 10+ years Republicans have been saying they want to repeal and replace the ACA, but we STILL have never seen a GOP plan. It's all just talk while they have been systematically dismantling it.

President Trump has said that, politically, the best thing to do would be to let the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “explode.” This timeline tracks Administration actions that would sabotage the ACA by destabilizing private insurance markets or reversing the law’s historic gains in health coverage.


Wed, 09/02/2020 - 8:00am

Objectively, John James has a huge credibility problem. In his latest ad, he claims the senate race isn't about Trump and DeVos, but he said he supports Trump "2,000%". Um, so what is it, John, are you a Trump stooge or not? Be honest! We don't need or want another reckless prolific Trump liar or agent representing We the People.

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 9:09am

Latest John James ad, "No one owns me"!

Way to play the inflammatory race-card like you are a victim to a vicious white Democrat trying to enslave you. James shows he's not beneath trying any emotional ploy to win his election as a Trump Republican. His ads show a running theme of wanting to be elected because he's Black, his family history of slavery, even though his policies are totally inline with Trump's policies of crushing "law and order" that allows police to be judge, jury, and executioner. James' tactics are straight out of the Trump/Putin playbook, revolting, just like those of all the other Trumpster enablers.

Funny how James only became interested in running for office when Trump took power, no history of governing experience at any level, just like the snakeoil salesman Trump. At the very least, run for the House and show us what you're really like for two years, so we don't get stuck with SIX years of buyer's remorse! Prove you are what you claim, even though your claims are inconsistent, hard to believe anything you say. I thank God for straight party ticket voting in Michigan. That way we can vote for values, rather than cult personalities, like another lying Trumpster.

Thu, 08/27/2020 - 8:53pm

I hate lying hypocritical people who profess to be Christians, like Pence and James. Pence said last night about Trump, "Promises made, promises kept". What BS! Trump promised Clinton would go to jail. She didn't. Trump promised he would build the wall and MEXICO would PAY for it. There's little or no new wall and Mexico didn't pay anything. Trump promised to rebuild our infrastructure. He didn't.

So Pence is a liar, just like James in all his ads.

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 11:30pm

They're not lying. You just don't like their answers. Nothing wrong with "promises made, promises kept". He moved the embassy to Jerusalem, promised kept, he appointed conservative justices, promised kept, he DID build (or is building as we speak) several hundred miles of wall; maybe not as much as we liked, but still, promised kept. No president achieves all his goals (even the vaunted Obama fell far short), mostly due to an unwilling Congress, not due to lack of trying. You don't like Pence and James being against your team, so you have to retro-engineer their comments and say they're lying. To me, it sounds like you are the one who is the false Christian.

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 10:15am

Sorry, did Mexico pay for any wall? MAJOR PROMISE NOT KEPT. Conservative judges? LOL

You can't be a Christian and a Trump sycophant. Choose Jesus or Trump!

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 9:01am

Trump said he'd have a health plan out in July. It's September now. Where is it? What about infrastructure? Where's that? What about his tax returns - he said he'd release them if he was elected. He was - in 2016. Where are they?
Every time Trump opens his mouth he lies. I guess you never noticed.

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 1:25pm

- He said he was going to bring the troops home from the Middle East but that hasn't happened.
- Instead of fixing trade like he promised, he's caused a trade war with China that has greatly impacted US farmers to the point of them needing a bailout.
- He called NATO obsolete and pledged to leave if other members don't pull their weight, we are still in NATO.
- His "build the wall" promise was specifically for new wall and specifically that Mexico would pay for it. What is actually being built is mostly replacement and is bollard fencing and not a "big beautiful wall." To get it done, he abused his executive powers to declare an emergency on the border and defunded other projects like schools on military bases to make it happen. This is Trump's moving target lie. First Mexico was going to pay for all of it, then Mexico was going to reimburse us for some of it, and finally he defunded other projects and us taxpayers are paying for all of it. Worth noting that even Trump's DHS has said most of the boarder crossings happen through existing ports of entry which a wall through an arid desert doesn't address.
- He said he was going to "drain the swamp" but instead filled the swamp with nepotism and high-dollar donors. Please tell me what qualifications Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump have? What qualifications does Betsy DeVos have to be Sec. of Education?
- He said he was going to separate his business from the presidency except he frequently visits his own resorts and the taxpayers are stuck paying for Secret Service rooms and golf cart rentals AT FULL PRICE. Why did Mike Pence choose to stay at a Trump hotel 180 miles away from his meetings in Ireland last fall? Why did William Barr throw a $30k Christmas party at Trump's hotel in Washington DC? Why did Trump suggest moving the G-7 summit to his hotel in Miami? Isn't it strange that Ivanka Trump was granted lucrative patents in China (including a patent for voting machines) the same day she sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping at an official government meeting with her dad in China?
- He also said he wasn't going to Tweet and wasn't going to play golf as much as Obama and both of those things are so laughably far from the truth.

Also, Trump and the GOP had full control of the government for the first two years of his presidency and still couldn't get things done.

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 3:54pm

We can't blame Trump. He's under Putin's control because of the pee pee tape. Maybe this time we should vote for the one who provides the tax returns at the very least.

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 4:22pm

mw, thank you for sharing such important information to remind us. Yet even you are just scratching the surface. Most of Trump's "best and brightest" that he promised us are indicted criminals or already in jail. None of his appointees are qualified, including the latest reckless government destroyer, DeJoy. Barr, who happens to be in Opus Dei, is a modern day Benedict Arnold, along with Moscow Mitch, a good Baptist. All the real "Catholics" and "Christians", unlike Biden, seem to be prolific liars and crooks. Remember Bannon? A "good Catholic" may he rest in jail!

Tired of the traitorous hypocrites?
Check out this:

Sleepy Joe, "your ass, not mine". Our current president, vociferously defended by all the so called Christians, actually said! Not surprising when we see that Jerry Falwell Jr also stands by Trump and the Trumps stand by him.

Precious how Eric Trump's wife Lara talks with Jerry's "wife" Becki about "Christian" values. Unfortunately they took down the video abruptly from the RNC for some reason. I wanted to show it to my Sunday school students to teach them about hypocrisy.

Liberty U
Tue, 09/01/2020 - 5:52pm

bruvolt, who is the false Christian?

Here is Trump prominently featured with Jerry Falwell, Jr even TODAY:

Please don't tell me about forgiveness. We forgive, but we don't forget especially when the lies and are still in progress. We also don't exalt, neither Trump, nor Falwell, nor James.

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 5:57pm

"False Christians" make up fantastic lies about people like Hillary Clinton eating babies to distract from the truth that they are adulters:
The latest Falwell saga reminded me of this :

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 8:54am

If he supports repealing the ACA and has not said how it would be replaced, then he supports taking away coverage for preexisting conditions.

John James Boo/hiss
Fri, 08/28/2020 - 12:43pm

Exactly, and if he's against anything Trump and Moscow Mitch are doing, like suing to take away healthcare during a pandemic, he sure hasn't told us.

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 10:49pm

succinct, and seems pretty obvious - usually respect Bridge's take on politacal ads, but think they really missed the boat on this one (in my reading, the R's have advocated "repeal and replace" without mentioning what the replace would look like)

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 4:52pm

Yes, Bridge, what about the "replace"? We want to know what John James proposes, but fear not, we won't hold our breath.

George Hagenauer
Fri, 08/28/2020 - 9:58am

With attacks on the payroll tax that funds social security and medicare by Trump , and James being major supporter of Trump in the past - a key question is whether he would support medicare and how he would fund it especially given the deficits now facing the federal government which has been the norm for most Republican administrations. Medicare funding is a lot tighter than social security.

Don't trust GOP
Fri, 08/28/2020 - 12:46pm

Yeah, the GOP claims they're all about policy. So why don't they answer questions like yours?

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 4:57pm

Trump destroyed the ACA by not enforcing the penalties. What does John James think about that? That single act or omission cost us all higher premiums, deductibles, and copays. It's more expensive for all of us to use healthcare and many of us don't. That's bad enough in general, but disastrous during a pandemic, especially when Republicans insist on tying healthcare to employers where workers have no choice. Employers and insurance companies dictate. Even physicians are now faced with closing shop, few patients and insurers pay very little of the costs.

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 12:51pm

Hey Bridge, just sayin', is John James "paying you for this service? You are so partisan! I'm going to stop my subscription! Hey everyone lies."

PS Just making fun of all the usual Republican whiners who complain when you fact-check John James. Such crybabies. Read the comments from those articles. LMAO

Sat, 08/29/2020 - 10:42pm

Funny you think Bridge leans to far right. I see them as far, far too far left.

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 10:24am

Most of us, think Bridge has high journalistic integrity and wants to be fair to all sides, other than the occasion opinion piece by people in the GOP that is usually full of lies. It's only the nutjobs that think Bridge is biased.

Fri, 08/28/2020 - 1:40pm

Peters is also claiming in an ad that Betsy Devos' donated 1 million dollars to Jame's campaign which is also a pack of lies. With campaign finance limits, it would be impossible.

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 10:26am

Oh yeah, ever hear of PACs?

Sat, 08/29/2020 - 10:38pm

I'd like to see the elimination of PACs and Super PACs and a change to the rules governing political ads.... Please tell me what you've done and what you're going to do for me if I vote for you. Let the other candidates worry about the same.

I also would like to see fairness in purchasing air time especially when it comes to a presidential election. Not all Americans can afford internet to search out info on their candidate. Mainstream media bosses should suck up their personal biases and let the election process play out as it has for more than 200 years. That goes for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram too. They want to get into suppression of a candidate or a political group, then they should lose the protection to be sued.

Jake D
Mon, 08/31/2020 - 10:29am

I'd like to see the Fairness Doctrine and the elimination of Citizens United. I would like to see the senate vote on the house bipartisan legislation concerning elections and campaign finance reform, but it might be too late for our country as it seems we are falling into a state of fascism.

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 5:04pm

Speaking of healthcare, I'd like to see what John James will do about the PFAS problems all over Michigan. Is there a free market solution to bankrupted polluters and the DOD in denial? Does John James have the courage to take on these polluters the way Peters has done and continues to do? I don't think so.

I just don't trust anything about John James:

"Like Trump, James's company appears to be master dealmakers, at least for themselves. According to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and reviewed by Metro Times, under his tenure James's company took nearly $2 million in tax breaks from the state, a condition of which was that the company had to create 108 jobs. In fact, according to the documents, James's company actually lost more than 30 jobs under his leadership, and the MEDC revoked its tax-exempt status after it failed to create the jobs it promised."

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 2:18pm

Falling indeed, fast and hard.