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Hawley’s Laundry List of Lies About Health Care

By September 21, 2018No Comments

As he prepares to take the stage with Donald Trump tonight, today Josh Hawley earned a “mostly false” rating from Politifact Missouri on health care and the Kansas City Star lamented his misinformation campaign about his lawsuit to overturn pre-existing conditions protections for millions of Americans, including nearly 2.5 million Missourians.

Here are more whoppers Josh Hawley has told the people of Missouri in recent weeks:

  1. Hawley Is Arguing Against Pre-Existing Condition Protections In Court, And Encouraging Consumers To Buy Association Health Plans That Can Discriminate Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Hawley claims that Sen. Claire McCaskill has chosen not to back reforms that would have covered pre-existing conditions, despite the fact that she voted against numerous bills last year that would have enabled insurance companies to once again charge people with pre-existing conditions more and opposes a lawsuit led by Hawley that would overturn these protections. At the same time, Hawley argues in favor of health plans that can discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. In contrast to ACA-compliant health plans which are required to provide essential health services and are prohibited from raising premiums when someone gets sick, association health plans are able to discriminate against consumers at their whim. They also have a history of fraud and unpaid claims.
  2. Hawley Wants To Bring Missourians Back To When Insurance Companies Could Charge Women And Adults Over 50 More For Coverage. Hawley argues that we should eliminate “one-size-fits-all dictates” about what services, like maternity care and prostate exams, insurance plans need to cover. Eliminating these crucial consumer protections would take us back to before the Affordable Care Act, when insurance companies were allowed to charge women, people over 50, and people with pre-existing conditions more. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies charged women an estimated $1 billion more than men for the same health care plans, and 75 percent of individual market plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance use disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services.
  3. Hawley claims that “millions of Americans have lost their healthcare plans.” This claim, which Republicans have been repeating for years, has already been fact checked as misleading given that “far more have gained coverage than had their policies canceled.” The ACA ultimately helped 20 million Americans access coverage, including more than 240,000 Missourians who were able to purchase care through the marketplace.
  4. Hawley pointed to premium increases as evidence of the ACA’s failure, but fails to mention that Republican sabotage is increasing premiums and costing consumers. In fact, experts say Republican efforts to sabotage the ACA are causing premiums continue to increase. A Brookings Institute analysis estimates that premiums would have decreased by 4.3 percent in 2019 if not for Republican efforts to sabotage the law.
  5. Hawley claims that insurance companies are profiting thanks to “open-ended payments” from the federal government. However, the Affordable Care Act limits the amount of premiums that insurance companies can take as profit. The federal government does not send open-ended payments to insurance companies, instead it pays for a portion of low-income Americans’ premiums. Because of the ACA, 80 percent of premiums must be used to pay for actual health care costs rather than administrative expenses and overhead. Thanks to this requirement, Missouri insurance companies returned more than $13.7 million in rebates to consumers in 2016.
  6. Hawley falsely alleges that Sen. McCaskill sides with big pharma, when Sen. McCaskill Is Fighting To Stop Drug Price Increases. However, Sen. McCaskill has not only commissioned reports on drug pricing and supported allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but has also introduced numerous pieces of legislation aimed at lowering drug costs and preventing consumers from overpaying on prescription drugs.