GOP Counters Voter Fury Over Trumpcare With Lies and Spin
Republican Rep. Raul Labrador drew outrage from voters in Idaho after he claimed that nobody dies to a lack of healthcare insurance
The backlash has been fierce against House Republicans who are now being forced to answer for their vote to gut healthcare protections, driving many to resort to lies to defend the indefensible American Healthcare Act (AHCA).
Wasting no time for the promised retribution, healthcare advocacy group Save My Care on Monday rolled out a new half-a-million-dollar advertising campaign targeting vulnerable House Republicans who voted in favor of the "disastrous repeal bill," known as Trumpcare.
The campaign, which singles out 24 representatives running in districts considered up for grabs in 2018, says that lawmakers voted yes even though the bill makes "coverage completely unaffordable for people with pre-existing conditions," and implores: "How could you do this to us?"
Advocacy groups aren't the only ones who want answers. Constituents are holding another wave of town halls this week to force lawmakers to account for their vote.
At Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho on Friday, Republican Rep. Raul Labrador drew outrage from voters after he claimed that nobody dies due to a lack of health insurance.
After one constituent expressed frustration about Trumpcare's cuts to Medicare, saying, "You are making a mandate that will kill people," Labrador dismissed her and declared, "That line is so indefensible...Nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 6, 2017
In Texas, voters protested outside the officer of Rep. Lamar Smith on Saturday while continued actions have sent a clear warning to Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
— TX21 Hill Country (@TX21HillCountry) May 8, 2017
Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York is holding a town hall Monday in the district of his GOP colleague, Rep. John Faso. According to organizers, Faso "continues to avoid having town halls with his constituents," so Maloney "is stepping in to speak about the AHCA at our town hall."
Indivisible groups from Tennessee, Arkansas, and beyond are asking their lawmakers to address the bill, which threatens millions of people's access to healthcare and no longer prevents companies from driving up costs for consumers with pre-existing conditions.
— IndivisibleTN7 (@indivisible_tn7) May 8, 2017
— Ginny Maki (@Ginny_Maki) May 8, 2017
Meanwhile, Republicans can't seem to get their stories straight. In lieu of an updated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis on the impact of Trumpcare, lawmakers have taken to peddling what many describe as outright lies to try to amass support for the bill, which faces a tough sell in the Senate.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told CNN on Sunday that the bill's $880 billion cuts to Medicaid would "absolutely not" result in millions losing coverage. That was after he made the claim on NBC's "Meet the Press" that coverage for people with pre-existing conditions will be "more affordable" under Trumpcare.
At the same time, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have also been hard at work spinning the lack of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, with Ryan telling reporters "no matter what, you cannot be denied coverage if you have a pre-existing condition."
This is despite the fact that Trumpcare has only allotted $8 billion to help subsidize costs for those put into so-called "high-risk pools." According to a recent report from the Center for American Progress, that amount will only cover 76,000 people and is roughly $200 billion short—"meaning the $8 billion is just a drop in the bucket and the high-risk pools are likely to be overburdened and underfunded," ThinkProgress reports.