Skip to main content

Republicans’ New Campaign Strategy: Lie, Then Lie Some More

By October 26, 2018No Comments

As momentum builds to maintain protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Republicans have taken to covering up their records by trying to portray themselves as defenders of people with pre-existing conditions even as they continue efforts to demolish the very protections they claim to support. Across the country, the media have caught on to their plan.

Republicans’ claims have been fact-checked:

NBC News Fact Check Of Trump Claim That He Supports People With Pre-existing Conditions: “This Is False.” “‘We totally support people with pre-existing conditions,’ Trump said at the White House last week. This is false. The Trump administration is backing a Republican-led lawsuit that claims Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions are illegal. If the suit succeeds, insurers would be able to start denying coverage to those people. The White House has not proposed alternative legislation that would offer those with pre-existing conditions the protections Obamacare gives consumers.” [NBC News, 10/23/18]

New York Times Fact Check: Trump Claims To Protect Pre-existing Health Conditions. That’s Not What The Government Says. “At a campaign rally in Las Vegas, President Trump said that he and Republicans “will protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” But his Justice Department has said that those provisions under the Affordable Care Act should be overturned.” [New York Times, 10/21/18]

And outlets have called out Republicans’ attempts to hide the truth:

Washington Post Editorial: “It’s The Height Of Free-Lunch Irresponsibility For Republicans To Suggest That Consumers Could Have Mandatory Coverage For Preexisting Conditions Otherwise.” “It’s the height of free-lunch irresponsibility for Republicans to suggest that consumers could have mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions otherwise. It was already the height of hypocrisy for them to render Obamacare’s individual market less stable — then pledge to keep the part of it everyone likes. As the saying goes, though, hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue.” [Washington Post, 10/22/18

Time Magazine on Trump’s Pre-existing Conditions Statements: “To Say That These Claims Are Fantastical Is Almost An Understatement.” “In recent days, Trump has responded by making two bold pronouncements that have little grounding in the facts: that Republicans will protect people with pre-existing conditions, and that he is working on a big middle-class tax cut that will be voted on soon. ‘We’re going to be putting in a 10 percent tax cut for middle-income families. It’s going to be put in next week,’ he told attendees at an Oct. 22 rally in Houston. ‘We’ve been working on it for a few months, a 10 percent brand-new — and that is in addition to the big tax cuts that you’ve already gotten.’ To say that these claims are fantastical is almost an understatement…In both cases, Trump is essentially admitting that his approach on two signature issues was not popular and may end up costing some Republican lawmakers their jobs in the midterms.” [Time, 10/24/18]

CNN: Republicans Engaged In Tactical Ducking And, At Times, Outright Lies“ Over Pre-existing Condition Protections. “After two years of trying to repeal Obamacare outright, the President and some GOP candidates are suddenly claiming they support the Affordable Care Act’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions — even though they voted for repeal bills that would weaken them, or are suing to eliminate Obamacare altogether…But Republicans’ tactical ducking and, at times, outright lies over their roles in efforts to unravel the current system either through legislation or in the courts has left some Democratic candidates exasperated — and led to a new wave of Democratic attacks over the GOP’s inconsistencies.” [CNN, 10/25/18]

Axios: “Trump’s Tweet Is Wrong On Pre-existing Conditions.” “Reality check: Democrats have been criticized for a lot of things about the Affordable Care Act, which they passed over GOP objections. But this may be the first time they’ve been accused of not protecting people with pre-existing conditions, since the ACA does that and Republicans have been on the defensive ever since they tried to repeal it.” [Axios, 10/24/18]

Bloomberg: “In The Real World, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department Is Arguing In Court That The Affordable Care Act’s Protections For Pre-existing Medical Conditions Are Unconstitutional And Should Be Nullified.” “In the real world, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department is arguing in court that the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing medical conditions are unconstitutional and should be nullified. On top of that, his administration explicitly supported a bill passed by House Republicans that would have weakened those protections…That gets at the heart of Republicans’ dilemma: It’s one thing to promise an end to Obamacare’s burdensome regulations while vowing to lower premiums and maintain patient protections. But it’s actually a phenomenally difficult policy problem, and the GOP hasn’t offered a proposal that solves it.” [Bloomberg, 10/19/18]

HuffPost On Trump’s Claim That Republicans Will Protect People With Pre-existing Conditions: “Anybody Even Dimly Aware Of Recent History…Should Recognize The Claim As A Lie.” “President Donald Trump on Wednesday sent out another tweet on health care. ‘Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions,’ he wrote. ‘Democrats will not!’ By now, the fundamental dishonesty of that statement shouldn’t require explanation. Anybody even dimly aware of recent history ― specifically, the part where Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, only to have Republicans spend eight years trying to repeal it ― should recognize the claim as a lie. And anybody unfamiliar with that saga could simply have paid attention this week, when the Trump administration announced a major reinterpretation of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance rules. The change means that states can undermine some of the law’s key provisions that help people with serious medical problems.” [HuffPost, 10/25/18]

Slate: “More Than Obfuscation Or Spin, This Is Outright Lying.” “Republicans still want to repeal Obamacare, but they’re telling voters the opposite. On the campaign trail, Republican candidates are stalwart defenders of the Affordable Care Act and its most popular provision: a regulation that prohibits insurers from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions. More than obfuscation or spin, this is outright lying. And as they do it, Republicans are showing contempt for voters, and further fraying our ability to do electoral democracy…When the Affordable Care Act was unpopular, Republicans promised to repeal it. Now that it’s popular, Republicans are essentially promising to protect it—even as they plan to deliver the opposite if given the chance.” [Slate, 10/19/18]

ABC News: Republicans Trumpet Pre-existing Condition Protections Despite Votes To Repeal Obamacare. “According to data gathered by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and confirmed by ABC News, the following Republicans in competitive races, Chabot included, all voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass the ACHA, but have also, in the final months of their midterm campaigns, released ads targeted to people with pre-existing conditions: Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.; Rep. John Faso, R-N.Y.; Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio; Rep. George Holding, R-N.C.; Rep. French Hill, R-Ark.; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.; Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa.; Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas; Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.; Rep. David Young, R-Iowa.” [ABC News, 10/21/18]

Columnists were also taken aback by the lies:

Paul Krugman, New York Times Columnist: “Goodbye, Political Spin, Hello Blatant Lies.” “But Republicans no longer bother with deceptive presentations of facts. Instead, they just flat-out lie. What do they lie about? Lots of things, from crowd sizes to immigrant crime, from steel plants to the Supreme Court. But right now the most intense, coordinated effort at deception involves health care — an issue where Republicans are lying nonstop about both their own position and that of Democrats…Republicans don’t just hate the subsidies that help people buy insurance; they also hate the regulations that prevent insurers from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. Indeed, 20 Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit trying to eliminate protection for pre-existing conditions, and the Trump administration has declined to oppose the suit, in effect endorsing it.” [New York Times, 10/11/18]

Paul Waldman For Washington Post On Trump Claim That Republicans Will Protect Pre-existing Conditions: “It Simply A Lie.” “Let’s focus on the idea that “All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions.” As our video shows, this has become a common refrain among Republican candidates, claiming that despite what Democrats are alleging, they would never, ever seek to take away protections from people with preexisting conditions. That is simply a lie. Here are the facts. Until the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage if they had a preexisting condition, or they said that they would cover you, but the insurance would not cover that condition or that part of your body. Or they would offer you coverage, but set the premiums so high that you couldn’t possibly afford them. The ACA outlawed that practice, mandating both ‘guaranteed issue’ (they have to cover you) and ‘community rating’ (everyone gets charged the same premium for the same plan regardless of whether they have a preexisting condition).The ACA was opposed by every single Republican in both houses of Congress, and they immediately began holding votes to repeal the law and filing lawsuits asking the courts to strike it down. So there’s no confusion: If they succeed in what they’re trying to do, there would be no more protection for preexisting conditions.” [Washington Post, 10/19/18]

Frank Bruni, New York Times Columnist: On Pre-existing Conditions, Republicans Are “Brazenly Denying The Past.” “Meanwhile, many Republican candidates who fought proudly and persistently to junk Obamacare without any suitable alternative are brazenly denying that past and fashioning themselves as the planet’s greatest champions of guaranteed health insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions. That’s less an artful flip-flop than an extravagant fiction, and it’s of a piece with Republicans’ sudden complacency about deficits now that they’re ballooning under the party’s governance.” [New York Times, 10/23/18]

Dana Milbank For Washington Post: Republican Websites Continue To Cover Up Their Health Care Histories. “And they are vigorously scrubbing their records, according to archived versions of their websites reviewed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Rep. Tom MacArthur’s (R-N.J.) site last year vowed: ‘Tom will work to repeal Obamacare, but won’t stop there.’ Now? ‘Tom opposed his own party’s efforts at a speedy Obamacare repeal.’ Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), in 2016, had a pledge: ‘I will do everything I can to repeal every word of Obamacare.’ That passage is now repealed from his website. Rep. Leonard Lance’s (R-N.J.) website, in 2016, boasted that ‘Lance is on the front-lines in the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare.’ Now, that same passage has been rewritten: ‘Lance is leading the fight for real Health Care Reform.’ Their problem: Of the 73 incumbent House Republicans in competitive races, 67 voted at least once to eliminate Obamacare’s protections for those with preexisting conditions according to an analysis by the liberal Center for American Progress Action Fund.” [Washington Post, Milbank, 10/19/18]

Local media outlets have joined in taking on candidates’ lies:

Portland Press Herald Editorial Board Endorses Candidates On Health Care: “The Races In Maine’s Two Congressional Districts Are About Health Care, Taxes And Who Can Best Represent Our State In Washington.” “President Trump and other Republicans have demonstrated bad faith on health care, environmental policy and immigration. Pingree, however, has shown she’ll fight for the right side of those issues and others. She deserves another term…Where we think Golden would stand up for Mainers, Rep. Bruce Poliquin has, for the most part, let them down…Poliquin also voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in ways that would have been devastating, stripping 24 million Americans of health insurance by 2026, including more than 100,000 Mainers. And while Poliquin has become an ardent supporter of protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions since he got on the campaign trail, his votes say otherwise.” [Portland Press Herald, 10/22/18]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Leah Vukmir Claims To Support Pre-existing Condition Protections, But Only Offers Solutions Possible For Those Who Are Wealthy. “Leah Vukmir, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, also opposes the ACA but has said she supports covering people with pre-existing conditions. She hasn’t provided details on what she would support, but she has cited the state’s former Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan of Wisconsin, known as HIRSP, as a model. HIRSP was an option, however, only for people who could afford health insurance.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/19/18]

Even Republicans are calling out their own:

Former Kasich Aide John Weaver: Republicans Lying About Pre-existing Conditions “Do Not Deserve Your Vote.” Just saw a clip of @RepMcSally flat out lying about her longstanding opposition to insurance for those with pre-existing health conditions. She & the other Republicans lying about this issue & giving cover to Trump on so many other fronts do not deserve your vote.” [The Hill, 10/26/18]