DSCC - Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

06/26/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/26/2020 09:53

Fact Check: McSally’s Latest Pre-Existing Conditions Ad Rated FALSE

June 26, 2020 Press Releases

Vulnerable Incumbent Attempts 'to Erase History for Electoral Purposes'

Unelected Senator Martha McSally was caught lying again about her terrible record on pre-existing conditions. In an attempt to save her struggling campaign, the vulnerable incumbent tried to tie herself to 'an issue with across-the-aisle appeal ' by releasing a new ad promising to always protect pre-existing conditions. The problem? It's a lie. PolitiFact rates McSally's latest ad as 'False.' The truth is that Senator McSally has 'spent years waging war against the Affordable Care Act,' voting at least five times to undermine or eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and PolitiFact points out 'her stance hasn't changed.'

McSally's dishonest ad comes as Republicans are plowing forward with their lawsuit that would strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, eliminating protections for people with pre-existing conditions while kicking an estimated 20 million Americans off their health insurance. McSally herself refuses to take any meaningful steps to stop the GOP's lawsuit, saying it's 'not my role' to oppose the lawsuit.


PolitiFact: Arizona Senate candidate makes health care pledge that contradicts past votes, policy positions
By Shefali Luthra
June 25, 2020

Key Points:

  • Trailing Democratic challenger Mark Kelly in one of the country's most hotly contested Senate races, Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is seeking to tie herself to an issue with across-the-aisle appeal: insurance protections for people with preexisting health conditions.
  • Only one national law makes sure people with preexisting medical conditions don't face discrimination or higher prices from insurers. It's the Affordable Care Act.
  • Both as a member of the House of Representatives and as a senator, McSally has supported efforts to undo the health law - voting in 2015 to repeal it and in 2017 to replace it with the Republican-backed American Health Care Act, which would have permitted insurers to charge higher premiums for people with complicated medical histories.
  • 'Anyone who voted for that bill was voting to take away the ACA's preexisting condition protections,' said Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 'Sen. McSally is trying to erase history for electoral purposes.'
  • 'Martha McSally has in her actions, in her votes, been pretty consistent about cutting back benefits and trying to repeal the ACA without any clear plan in mind that would protect people who gained insurance through the ACA,' Derksen added. 'Her words on preexisting condition protections don't align with any votes I've seen.'
  • McSally's campaign… instead pointed to her support of the Republican-backed Protect Act as evidence to back up her promise… The problem, though, is that simply banning that exclusion isn't enough, because the law also has to make sure the health insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions remain affordable. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), does nothing to provide subsidies or cost-sharing mechanisms - meaning people both with and without pre-existing conditions wouldn't necessarily be able to afford those plans.
  • Without that framework, the act remains a 'meaningless promise,' argued Linda Blumberg, a fellow at the Urban Institute, a social policy think tank. And it has other holes: for instance, permitting insurers to charge women more than men.
  • McSally has consistently declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying she doesn't want to weigh in on 'a judicial proceeding.' In reporting this fact check, we asked where she stood on the case. The campaign didn't specifically answer, but pointed to her general disapproval of the ACA. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have called on the administration to reverse its stance.
  • That context makes McSally's silence especially relevant, said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University. 'When given the opportunity, she has declined to oppose this lawsuit, which would essentially eliminate the protections that exist,' Corlette said.
  • Nothing in her voting record, which tracks closely with the Republican repeal-and-replace philosophy, supports this claim. And she has continually declined opportunities to oppose a pending legal threat to the ACA, including its provisions related to preexisting conditions, by a group of GOP governors and supported by the Trump administration.
  • McSally has not in the past or present taken actions that back up her statement. We rate it False.

Read the full story here.

MSNBC (Opinion): McSally, Trump haunted by their records on pre-existing conditions
By Steve Benen
June 25, 2020

Key Points:

  • A few months ago, for example, McSally's campaign unveiled an ad featuring a cancer survivor who said the GOP senator is 'fighting for what's right when it comes to pre-existing conditions and making sure everybody has access to health care.' What viewers weren't told was that the woman giving the testimonial was one of McSally's own former aides.
  • This week, the Republican lawmaker unveiled another ad in which she again says she's committed to 'protecting those with pre-existing conditions.'
  • I don't doubt that McSally's team has polling data that shows how important this issue is to voters, which is very likely why she keeps repeating the line. The trouble is, McSally's record is getting in the way.
  • In 2017, at Trump's behest, House Republicans pushed a far-right 'repeal-and-replace' plan, intended to scrap the Affordable Care Act and impose a regressive alternative. As regular readers may recall, it was controversial and wildly unpopular for a reason: the GOP plan, among other things, was designed to allow private insurers to punish Americans with pre-existing conditions, charging them much higher premiums.
  • But some in the GOP ranks demanded the party press on anyway. According to some accounts, then-Rep. Martha McSally told her partisan allies ahead of the vote, 'Let's get this f**king thing done!' She proceeded to vote for her party's scheme.
  • Indeed, during her 2018 Senate candidacy, McSally tried to pretend she was vaguely progressive on health care, but she lost the race after Democrats focused heavily on the Republican plan she voted for.
  • And now, it's déjà vu all over again. McSally is again vowing to look out for those with pre-existing conditions - a claim that's drawn fire from fact-checkers before - despite having supported a plan that would've hurt those with pre-existing conditions - as Donald Trump does largely the same thing.

Read the full Op-Ed here.