We fact checked lawmakers’ letters on health care. They were full of mistruths and misinformation.
In the race to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have been guilty of spreading erroneous statements, exaggerating the truth, and skimping out on context.
That’s the takeaway from a review by ProPublica and its partners at Kaiser Health News, Stat and Vox of more than 200 letters that members of Congress sent out to their constituents in response to the public’s questions and concerns about the Affordable Care Act, and its proposed replacement, the GOP’s American Health Care Act.
We reviewed the emails and letters sent by 51 senators and 134 members of the House within the past few months. More Republicans fudged than Democrats, though both had their moments. The legislators cited wrong statistics, conflated health care terms and made statements that don’t stand up to verification.
It’s not clear if the inaccuracies were intentional, or if the lawmakers and their staff don’t understand the current law or the proposals to alter it. But either way, the issue has become increasingly heated as the House gets ready for a vote on the GOP’s replacement bill this Thursday.
Here are some whoppers from members of both parties, and the truth and context behind what they told voters.
The lies Republican members made to their constituents
Republicans criticize the law for not living up to its promises. They say former President Obama pledged that people could keep their health plans and doctors and premiums would go down. Neither has happened. They also say that insurers are dropping out of the market and that monthly premiums and deductibles (the amount people must pay before their coverage kicks in) have gone up. That’s all true.
But they also told a few whoppers.