Prominent liberals are repeating the talking point that the new Republican health care bill classifies rape and sexual assault as a pre-existing condition, but several fact-checking organizations have discredited the claim.
House Republicans on Thursday passed the American Health Care Act, which the GOP has touted as a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, in a 217 to 213 vote. After the bill passed, liberals were quick to claim that the plan would classify rape and sexual assault as a pre-existing condition and allow insurance companies to deny Americans coverage or charge higher prices.
The Washington Post fact checker gave the claim four pinocchios, meaning the paper found the statement to be completely false.
"The notion that AHCA classifies rape or sexual assault as a preexisting condition, or that survivors would be denied coverage, is false," the Post reported.
PolitiFact and BuzzFeed News also said the claim was false.
The GOP health care plan doesn’t make rape a pre-existing condition but it is a big wealth transfer to the rich https://t.co/IYQkynYE7D
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 7, 2017
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) May 5, 2017
Several news publications, however, rushed to publish stories that reported the false talking point. The liberal Huffington Post published an article that blamed Republicans for making it more difficult for rape survivors to report what happened to them. The site claimed that Republicans were an "ally of rapists."
CNN joined the hysteria and published an article titled, "Rape and domestic violence could be pre-existing conditions."
The millennial news publication Mic tweeted out a video that stated rape survivors could be denied coverage because they were raped.
Under the GOP health care plan, being a rapist isn’t considered a pre-existing condition — but being a rape survivor could be. pic.twitter.com/UWZZQSZUo1
— Mic (@mic) May 5, 2017
Several reporters parroted the talking point as if it was fact. GQ special correspondent and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann said that President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) "can burn in hell."
Rape is now a pre-existing condition. Let's cut to the chase. Even if Senate fixes, Trump and Ryan can burn in hell pic.twitter.com/akgrPWqvU7
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) May 5, 2017
Fusion senior reporter Emma Roller added that domestic violence would be considered a pre-existing condition.
Things the AHCA considers pre-existing conditions:
– domestic violence
– postpartum depression
— Emma Roller (@emmaroller) May 4, 2017
Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) repeated the false claim, tweeting that the bill makes her "sick."
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) May 4, 2017
Other prominent liberals shared their disgust on Twitter over the false claim.
You’ll go to jail for laughing. Lose insurance if you get raped. This is dystopia. We’re already there. https://t.co/1q1NsIw6fn
— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) May 3, 2017
There's something strange about this group that just decided RAPE was a pre-existing condition… pic.twitter.com/xDtQT4fNeX
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) May 4, 2017
And it's not. But read it all.
"Rape as a pre-existing condition." I've never seen the hatred of women codified into law to this degree. https://t.co/yEUWFB8Vnh
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) May 5, 2017
This is appalling. https://t.co/HSgKNzivde
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) May 3, 2017