On Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) shared a touching campaign video detailing how his daughter Annika’s leukemia diagnosis made the need to protect people with pre-existing conditions personal for him.
“Politicians argue a lot about health care, but for me, it’s personal,” Rohrabacher says, while standing next to his daughter. “When my daughter Annika was 8 years old, she was afflicted with leukemia. It was devastating to my family, but we got through it. Today, she’s doing great.”
“So for her and all our families, we must protect America’s health care system,” he continues. “That’s why I’m taking on both parties and fighting for those with pre-existing conditions.”
For me, healthcare is personal. When it comes to preexisting conditions I'm using my heart as well as my head, advocating a creative bi-partisan approach. https://t.co/nVYq3iKRqI pic.twitter.com/d2McgjE5Zg
— Dana Rohrabacher (@DanaRohrabacher) October 3, 2018
But Rohrabacher’s words are belied by his actions. Last year, he voted for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), or as it is sometimes known, Trumpcare. That bill stood to cost 24 million-plus people their health insurance over a decade, while making coverage more expensive for people who need it the most — including the 100 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.
To justify his vote, Rohrabacher released a statement lying to his constituents.
“While a different approach, it is no less committed to covering Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Rohrabacher claimed, falsely.
With regard to health care policy, a number of Republicans are running on straight-up lies this election cycle. ThinkProgress has detailed how Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley (R), and Rep. David Young (R-IA) are all trying to gaslight voters in a manner similar to Rohrabacher.
It’s amazing to me that House Republicans are pretending their health care bill wouldn’t have caused prices to go up for people with pre-existing conditions.
There was this whole fight about waiving community rating. The Freedom Caucus won. And then they passed the bill.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) October 3, 2018
During recent speeches — including one on Tuesday — President Trump has taken to saying things like, “I will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. That’s a major part of what I’m all about.” In fact, Trump spent much of his first year in office working tirelessly to strip legal protections from people with pre-existing conditions.
TRUMP shamelessly claims Republicans "will always protect Americans with preexisting conditions. That's a major part of what I'm all about."
Trump spent most of his first year in office trying to roll back protections for people with preexisting conditions! pic.twitter.com/GBFzANwuCJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 2, 2018
As ThinkProgress has explained, there’s a simple reason why Republicans are running on lies — telling the truth about what they stand for could cost them the election.
The reason these incumbents are so eager to mislead voters about their records on this particular issue is obvious: A July poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a candidate’s position on pre-existing conditions protections was the top health-care issue for voters, with 63 percent identifying it as at least a “very important factor” in their vote. Even 49 percent of Republicans put the issue in that category of importance. A June NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found health care was the top voting issue for registered voters.