Who Is Telling the Truth About Pre-Existing Conditions?

Since the day that a Republican first uttered the words, “repeal and replace” in reference to Obamacare, the party has been promising to keep the regulation that prohibited insurance companies from charging higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions. The reason is, of course, because that is one of the most popular provisions in Obamacare. Does Graham-Cassidy keep that promise?

Obviously Jimmy Kimmel’s segment the other night, in which he made it clear that the answer to that question is “no,” had an impact. Yesterday morning Trump tweeted this:

One of the authors of the bill, Sen. Lindsay Graham, followed up with this:

What most Americans will hear is that Kimmel said the Republican bill will not protect those with pre-existing conditions while both the president and the author of the bill say that it will. That is a classic case of bothsiderism—which means that people will believe whoever it is that they trust.

This is precisely why Trump and Republicans have worked so hard to discredit the media. It allows them to suggest that any fact-checks on their claims can simply be called #FakeNews. It is also why we are beginning to see personal attacks on Jimmy Kimmel. Anything that goes contrary to their claims must be discredited.

For those who are actually interested in the facts, there are people like Sarah Kliff who have explained how Graham-Cassidy neuters the current protections for those with pre-existing conditions. But the truth is a bit complicated and most people won’t be willing to dig that hard to find it.

This provides us with a perfect example of how our culture feeds political polarization. But in this one instance, we have an interesting check on that. Take a look at what a company that would be perceived as the beneficiary of a rollback of these regulations had to say.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association warned against a new GOP ObamaCare bill on Wednesday, saying it would “undermine” protections for pre-existing conditions.

“The bill contains provisions that would allow states to waive key consumer protections, as well as undermine safeguards for those with pre-existing medical conditions,” the association said in a statement.

The bill would allow states to repeal ObamaCare rules that prevent people with pre-existing conditions from being charged higher premiums.

When an insurance company says that Graham-Cassidy will undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, that’s pretty definitive. In other words, Republicans are lying.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.