Washington Post Fact Checks 'Misleading' Dem Claims About GOP Health Care Plan

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March 17, 2017

The Washington Post has fact-checked five Democratic talking points about the Republican's healthcare plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and every single claim was found to be misleading.

Democrats have used the claim that millions of Americans will be thrown off their health insurance plans under the GOP plan.

"Is it an act of mercy to throw 24 million people off of health insurance, so Republicans can hand billionaires a massive new tax giveaway?" House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said at a news conference on Thursday.

"But what this bill does is it takes away health care from 14 million people in the next year, 24 million over ten years," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D, Fla.) said in a CNN interview.

Washington Post claimed that these claims were misleading. The CBO report did state 14 million fewer people would have insurance in 2018, and that number would grow to be 24 million by 2026.

But the Democratic talking point insinuates that all these people would be forced off their insurance plans, which is false. Some individuals will choose not to purchase health insurance plans because they are no longer forced to under Obamacare's individual mandate.

"Most of the reductions in coverage in 2018 and 2019 would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate," the CBO report stated.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) used a faulty assumption when he made the misleading claim that thousands of Americans will die when they are thrown off of health insurance.

"If this legislation is passed and millions of people are thrown off of health insurance, not able to get to a doctor when they must, thousands of Americans will die,"  Sanders said in an interview.

Washington Post declared this claim to be four pinocchios. Sanders based his talking point off of a faulty Think Progress report that assumed there would be no replacement when the GOP repealed Obamacare, and that almost 30 million Americans would lose insurance. The GOP's plan does not support this assumption. 24 million would lose coverage and it would happen over the course of ten years.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) addressed this concern in a news conference. Speaker Ryan said the CBO only scored the first part of the GOP's plan on healthcare and didn't take into account the next two steps, which include Health Human and Services Secretary Tom Price rolling back regulation that will reduce costs and additional reforms that can't be passed through the reconciliation process.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) also made a misleading claim about insurance executives making millions off the GOP plan.

The GOP plan repeals the Obamacare $500,000 cap on how much insurance companies can deduct on their taxes. Politifact Wisconsin explained how the GOP plan does not apply to insurance executives' personal tax liability. The Washington Post believes Baldwin went too far in her claim that executives would personally make millions from the health care bill.