When even Fox News calls you out for lying, you know you've gone too far.
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short embarrassed himself Sunday morning when he got called out for lying about the GOP’s latest attempt to repeal and — supposedly — replace Obamacare.
The Graham-Cassidy bill has been denounced by nearly every major health organization in the country. And chief among the criticisms of the legislation is that it gives states a way to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
But in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Short claimed that the GOP healthcare bill “guarantees pre-existing conditions.”
“It does not,” Wallace shot back. “…[T]he Graham-Cassidy bill says, yes, states can increase premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.”
“That is a loophole large enough to drive a tank through,” he said.
Wallace explained that the bill allows states to get a waiver to bypass Obamacare’s consumer protections if they show the federal government how they will maintain “adequate and affordable coverage” for people with pre-existing conditions. But, as Wallace pointed out, the bill never actually specifies what “adequate and affordable” means.
“That isn’t a guarantee,” Wallace said, adding: “What good is coverage if you cannot afford it?”
Short avoided the question, saying the federal government would provide assistance to states to make sure “rates stay low, even [for] those with pre-existing conditions.”
Wallace wasn’t having it.
“[The bill] says states can raise premiums for pre-existing conditions without any guidelines,” he said. “There is no question that [rates] are going to be higher in some states than [they] were under Obamacare.”
Before Obamacare was enacted in 2010, many people with pre-existing conditions found themselves uninsurable for life. Insurance companies regularly charged people with pre-existing conditions outrageous premiums or turned them away entirely.
Under Graham-Cassidy, states could choose to once again allow insurers to base premiums on a person’s medical history, and to sell insurance policies that don’t cover Obamacare’s 10 essential health benefits.
Even worse, the scaled-back consumer protections would apply not only to the individual market, but also to those who receive coverage through small business employers.
Trump claimed earlier this week that he would not sign Graham-Cassidy if it didn’t include coverage of pre-existing conditions. But rather than providing that coverage, it appears that the White House has decided to just lie about the bill instead.