Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman July 25, 2013

Americans for Prosperity says Patrick Murphy flip-flopped in votes on health care

Americans for Prosperity, a group opposed to Obamacare, called U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, a hypocrite for his votes on the health care law.

The group announced that it had started running online ads nationwide to highlight votes House members took to delay ObamaCare mandates. In Florida, the ads are targeting three South Florida Democrats: Murphy, Lois Frankel and Joe Garcia. (All three members are in their first terms -- Murphy and Garcia are expected to face competitive races in 2014.)

A July 23 press release from the group stated: "Rep. Murphy voted for the law back in 2010, yet he reversed himself and voted to delay both the employer mandate (in keeping with President Obama’s decision) and the individual mandate..." and then continued about Garcia’s and Frankel’s votes.

The press release portrayed Murphy as a flip-flopper: did he vote for Obamacare in 2010 and then vote to delay the employer and individual mandate? (AFP supports delaying the mandates and repealing the health care law.)

The problem with this claim that leapt out at us was that Murphy -- as in Patrick Murphy who represents parts of Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties -- wasn’t a member of Congress in 2010. Murphy beat U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, in November 2012 and officially took office in January 2013.

There was a Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in 2010 -- but he was from Pennsylvania and lost re-election in 2010. (To make matters more complicated there is a U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa.)

We asked an Americans for Prosperity spokesman if it had mixed up Patrick Murphys.

"Yes, that’s an error, it was a mix-up with Murphy from PA. We sent out a corrected release a couple minutes later," spokesman Christopher Neefus told PolitiFact Florida in an email July 24.

At PolitiFact, we give props to folks who admit to their errors -- and the group did ‘fess up quickly. But we still continue our fact-check. In this case, when we looked at AFP’s newsroom page about Florida on July 24, it still contained the press release with the wrong information about Murphy. The online banner ad doesn’t contain the error -- it simply says "Patrick Murphy voted to delay the ObamaCare mandate. Now let’s end it for good."

Murphy’s position on Obamacare

Featured Fact-check

On the campaign trail in 2012, Murphy said he supported the health care law, but also thought it could be improved. Specifically, he liked the provisions offering coverage for young people on their parents’ plans, fixing the doughnut hole to get prescription drugs for seniors, and forcing insurers to offer coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. He criticized some of the requirements on businesses, such as the requirement for filing complicated 1099 forms. That requirement was later repealed.

In office, Murphy has continued that general stance of supporting the law overall while calling for "improvements."

AFP correctly pointed to separate votes Murphy took for a one-year delay for the employer and individual mandates on July 17. Murphy was one of 35 Democrats to join the Republicans on the employer mandate vote and one of 22 on the individual mandate. (Murphy’s votes help him build the case that he is a moderate. The liberal Daily Kos pointed out that more than half of those 22 Democrats won close races.)

The Democratic-leaning Senate is not expected to vote in favor of the delays. In early July, Obama said he would delay enforcement of the employer mandate.

The Palm Beach Post quoted Murphy about the mandate votes:  "While I believe these delays are important," he said – to give the administration time to work out complexities in the law – "I do not support a wholesale repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which is already providing important protections and security to individuals and families who previously didn’t have access to affordable, quality health insurance."

Murphy does not support full repeal of the mandates but does support a one-year delay.

Our ruling

Americans For Prosperity said in a press release: "Rep. Murphy voted for the law back in 2010, yet he reversed himself and voted to delay both the employer mandate (in keeping with President Obama’s decision) and the individual mandate."

The group quickly admitted that Murphy of Florida wasn’t in Congress in 2010, so that part of the claim is wrong. While campaigning in 2012, Murphy said he was generally supportive of the law although he called for some changes.

The group is also correct that Murphy voted to delay the employer and individual mandates, but their claim leaves readers with a false impression that his voting record reflects flip flops.

We rate this claim Mostly False.

Our Sources

Americans for Prosperity press release, "New ads highlighting Florida delegation votes on Obamacare," July 23, 2013

Americans for Prosperity, Letter of support for delaying individual and employer mandates, July 15, 2013

Americans for Prosperity, "AFP responds to Obama speech claiming benefits of Obamacare," July 18, 2013

GovTrack.US, H.R. 2668, House vote July 17, 2013

GovTrack.US, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania, 2007-2010

U.S. Library of Congress, H.R. 2667, House vote July 17, 2013

Patrick Murphy for Congress website, Health care, Accessed July 24, 2013

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy website health care page, "Protecting coverage while working towards needed improvements," Accessed July 24, 2013

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy press release, "Murphy supports delay of ACA requirements for businesses," July 3, 2013

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, Biography, Accessed July 24, 2013

Roll Call, "After two losses, Pennsylvania’s Patrick Murphy waits in the wings," Sept. 6, 2012

Tampa Bay Times, "In swing district, Rep. Patrick Murphy has to tread carefully," July 4, 2013

Palm Beach Post, "Was Rep. Murphy right to break with Dems on Obamacare?" July 19, 2013

Palm Beach Post, "Murphy joins GOP in vote to delay health care requirements," July 18, 2013

The Stuart News, "Candidates speak at NAACP forum," June 15, 2012

Daily Kos, "Which 22 House Democrats voted to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act even more?" July 17, 2013

Interview, Eric Johnson, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, July 24, 2013

Interview, Erin Moffet Hale, spokeswoman to U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, July 25, 2013

Interview, Christopher Neefus, spokesman for Americans for Prosperity, July 24, 2013

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Amy Sherman

Americans for Prosperity says Patrick Murphy flip-flopped in votes on health care

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up