During a rally with President Trump on Wednesday night, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) shamelessly lied about his position on pre-existing conditions.
“I want to reinforce it to everyone — we will always cover people like my wife with preexisting medical conditions,” Walker said, referring to his wife Tonette, who has Type 1 diabetes. “Don’t believe the lies. Don’t believe the lies!”
Walker has good reason to pay lip service to protecting pre-existing conditions, as the part of the Affordable Care Act mandating them is the most popular part of the law.
But there’s a major problem with Walker’s comments — as ThinkProgress has previously detailed, Wisconsin is actually one of 20 states that sued the federal government earlier this year to immediately overturn the ACA, which makes it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
It’s not like the lawsuit doesn’t have Walker’s direct approval — the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the governor directly authorized his state’s Attorney General Brad Schimel to join the lawsuit.
“At a minimum, the states asked [federal] Judge Reed O’Connor to strike down in their states the parts of the law that prohibit health insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing health conditions or charging them higher rates,” the Sentinel reported last month. “A preliminary injunction or final ruling declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional would affect more than the roughly 17 million people who have gained health insurance through the law and the people with health conditions.”
Walker wasn’t the only Republican brazenly gaslighting during Wednesday’s rally. After he got off the stage, Leah Vukmir, the Republican candidate running against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), accused anybody who has rightfully pointed out that Republicans have spent years trying to roll back protections for people with pre-existing conditions of pushing “a big lie.”
Trump falsely claims "Republicans will always protect Americans with preexisting conditions," but then immediately adds "we have done a great job, we have gotten rid of a lot of Obamacare" — the law that protects people with preexisting conditions pic.twitter.com/B8vB7qg5Gz
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 25, 2018
Trump’s own lies about pre-existing conditions were remarkable for how self-defeating they were. After falsely claiming that “Republicans will always protect Americans with preexisting conditions,” Trump then added that “we have done a great job, we have gotten rid of a lot of Obamacare” — the very law that protects people with pre-existing conditions.
In fact, Trump’s Justice Department has argued in federal court that the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. The administration has taken steps to allow the sale of skimpier insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions.
During another part of his relatively tame speech, Trump — who mostly refrained from attacking the media or goading his followers to chant “lock her up!” on the heels of today’s attempted bombings of prominent Democrats and CNN — joked that if Walker doesn’t win reelection, he’ll ignore his calls when he sadly calls the White House seeking help.
Walker’s health care comments indicate that for him, desperate times are calling for desperate measures. Polling indicates that his Democratic opponent, Tony Evers, has a slight lead heading into the final days of the campaign.