Friday, 18 Jan 2019

These Republicans mislead voters about our fact-finding Obamacare

Somehow, somehow, a memo had to be sent to Republican lawmakers who voted for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare: If you're under attack for have undermined the protection of people with existing health problems, go back. saying that the claim got four Pinocchios from the Washington Post.

This is not true. Republicans distort unrelated factual control and mislead voters. We found at least seven politicians who did that.

Peter J. Roskam (6th District of Illinois): During a debate on October 22, he said: "Sean [Casten] I've falsely accused of being against the protection of people with pre-existing diseases, which was verified by the Washington Post, who gave these four pinocchios. "

Rep. Rodney Davis (13th District of Illinois): In a debate held on October 18, he said: "The lies about the removal of coverage of pre-existing health conditions have been labeled" Four Pinocchio "by the Washington Post. Read the bill. In the bill, it says specifically, "Nothing in this bill will allow insurance companies to deny anyone coverage for pre-existing conditions."

Representative Mike Kelly (16th District of Pennsylvania): During a debate on October 8, he said: "The other thing, listen, is incredible when you talk about an illness or pre-existing conditions. The New York Post [sic] gave a Pinocchio that he was absolutely wrong. We have always kept the pre-existing conditions there. … Watch your nose as if you keep talking in this way, this nose will be all the way to the back. If you could stick to the truth, it would make a big difference. "

Rep. Erik Paulsen (3rd District of Minnesota): In a debate held on October 22, he said, "We guaranteed in language – Four Pinocchios were awarded to anyone who claims that pre-existing conditions were not covered by the Washington Post's non-partisan audit – that covers pre-existing conditions. The legislation contains a specific sentence to ensure that no assurance can deny this. "

Rep. John Faso (19th district of New York): In a press release dated Sept. 24, the campaign featured Four Pinocchios: "Claim: Faso voted to remove health care from voters with pre-existing disorders. Note: False. An analysis by the Washington Post's fact-finder gave this statement four pinocchios. "

Jeff Denham (10th district of California): An advertisement sponsored by the US Congressional Leadership Fund shows four Pinocchios and states, "Do the commercials attack Jeff Denham? Independent auditors say the charges are not true. Denham's vote does not change the coverage guarantee for those with pre-existing conditions. Why lies?

Dave Brat (7th District of Virginia): In a debate on October 15, he said: "His [Abigail Spanberger’s] announcements, which are going on today, she got four Pinocchios for lies on my votes on pre-existing conditions. "

There is a slight difference between the references of the first six legislators and that of Brat, which will be explained later.


Health care is a complicated subject. We find that the more complex a problem is, the more likely it is to give misleading statements by politicians. Fact checks are meant to reveal misleading speech, but these politicians are now using fact checks to further mislead voters.

In summary, the top six legislators refer to de facto control that: (a) focused on the number of people with preexisting conditions, not the fact that the bill has harmed them; (b) was published before the Congressional Non-Parliamentary Budget Office issued a critical report on the potential impact on people with pre-existing conditions if the bill they supported became law.

Several legislators have referred to a sentence of the AHCA law. The Davis representative even misunderstood this statement as saying: "Nothing in this bill allows insurance companies to deny anyone coverage for pre-existing illnesses."

In fact, the sentence read: "Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted as allowing health insurance issuers to limit access to health insurance for persons with pre-existing conditions."

This sentence was mainly a public relations exercise, but do you notice the difference? It says "limit access to health coverage" and not "deny coverage" as Davis claims. Everyone has "access" to buying a Tesla, but knowing if you can afford to buy it makes all the difference.

The CBO subsequently concluded that states that had benefited from certain exemptions in the bill could have blown up their individual insurance markets, resulting in soaring costs for people with pre-existing conditions. In addition, the agency said the bill did not provide enough funds to help states help those who could not afford insurance.

Unlike the usual practice, Republican leaders hastily rushed through the assembly without waiting for the budget office to make an assessment. On May 4, 2017, by 20 votes to 21, the Republicans voted very little against the AHCA by 217 votes to 213, partly because of their concern over the proposed changes to the pre-existing conditions provisions. This discomfort was confirmed when the critical report was published three weeks after the vote.

Let's go back for a moment and explain some of the nuances of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Republican substitute.

Before the ACA, insurance companies could take into account a person's state of health when determining his premium, sometimes making the coverage too expensive or unavailable, if a person was already sick and suffering from a problem that required expensive treatment. The ACA has banned this, in part by requiring everyone to buy insurance. The AHCA would have ended its mandate (and President Trump's tax bill basically made it).

In ACA, there are two other essential elements that work together to help people with pre-existing conditions: the guaranteed issue, which means that insurance companies must purchase insurance at will; and community classification, which means that people who buy similar insurance and are the same age pay similar prices. This has made insurance affordable for people with, for example, cancer. Prior to the passage of the ACA, even minor health problems could have caused an insurance company to refuse coverage.

A derogation granted by the AHCA to the states would have allowed insurance companies to take a year to take into account a person's state of health when writing policies on the market if that person did not maintain a coverage keep on going. Another derogation, also limited to the individual and small group markets, would have allowed a state to replace a set of essential benefits with a federal system with a more tailored package of benefits.

The theory was that removing the markets from the sicker ones and allowing policies with more limited options would result in lower overall premiums. But the CBO was skeptical that it would work without harming people with pre-existing conditions, in part because of insufficient funding.

It should be remembered that during the debate on the Senate version of the repeal, which was not passed, Trump said that the House version was "nasty" because it does not have any effect. did not go far enough to protect individuals in the insurance markets. He urged the Senate to add more funds to cover people with pre-existing conditions. "I want to see – and I speak with the heart – that's what I want to see, I want to see a bill with heart," Trump told "Fox & Friends" on June 25, 2017.

Trump's second thought on the House bill is certainly a problem. But what is odd is that these lawmakers could counter a democratic attack on AHCA by a conservative criticism of ACA, arguing that attention to pre-existing conditions has undermined care, as sicker patients pay the same premiums as everyone else. Some right-wing experts have argued that the requirements for pre-existing conditions, in addition to significantly increasing premiums, already force insurers to discriminate against sick people by limiting access to care. The AHCA could be considered as a step in the right direction to balance the situation.

Republicans would also have been able to point out that the changes were limited to the individual market – 22 million individual and small business policies sold on the stock market or directly to consumers – representing one seventh of the size of the job-based market where most Americans get their income. health insurance. But frankly, Republicans rarely made that distinction when they attacked Obamacare.

Instead, these lawmakers chose to hide behind our pinocchios, falsely claiming that our fact-checking showed that the AHCA had left this aspect of the law intact. But that was not the point of factual verification they cite.

The fact-finding of May 10, 2017 concerned a tweet by Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) Following the vote of the AHCA in the House: "Once again, 129 million people with pre-existing conditions may be denied coverage and insurers may charge more money to sick people. Second, we looked at whether people with pre-existing conditions would be denied coverage.

At the time, there was no report from the Congressional Budget Office on legislation. As noted, the office later found that in states requesting waivers – estimated at about one-sixth of the US population – the population was at risk of being excluded from the market.

The essence of the fact-finding, however, was Harris's estimate of $ 129 million, not the coverage guarantee. These legislators are therefore choosing the Pinocchio ranking, although the control of the facts has mainly focused on a totally different problem: the 129 million. They ignore the fact that the office has shown that the AHCA had undermined the guarantee in states that requested a waiver; they simply claim that the critical analysis has never been published. (A Kelly spokesman claimed that he thought his opponent, Ron DiNicola, was referring to the figure of $ 129 million because Mr. DiNicola had declared that the AHCA would "marginalize and eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions. ")

The case of Brat is a little different, although it also concerns pre-existing conditions. He asserted that a note from Quatre-Pinocchio that we had attributed to an advertisement attacking the representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) On pre-existing conditions also applied to an advertisement broadcast by his opponent, Abigail. Spanberger. But Fitzpatrick was one of the few Republicans to vote against AHCA, while Brat voted for it. This is obviously a very different situation.

The Pinocchio test

We asked these lawmakers if they would be willing to withdraw the quote from Pinocchios. None agreed to do so.

It is appalling. These lawmakers were warned that they were peddling a lie – and politicians concerned with their reputation should acknowledge that they made a mistake and apologize.

Instead, they apparently think it's politically advantageous to continue to mislead voters in their districts. This is particularly irritating because many accuse their opponents of spreading lies – and then cry Four Pinocchios.

We urge district media outlets to highlight the brutal diversion of our fact-checking. Sunlight is sometimes the best disinfectant.

Four Pinocchios

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