Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, vying with fellow Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado for whose political career is most likely to be toast come November, is pretending that she cares about whether or not you have health care. She’s running an ad back home in Arizona, where coronavirus is raging out of control in which she says “Of course I will always protect those with preexisting conditions. Always.”
Hahahahahahahaha. There are going to be a helluva lot of Arizonans with preexisting conditions when we come out of this pandemic, and so far McSally hasn’t taken a single vote that would indeed protect their coverage. She voted at least eight times while she was in the House from 2015-2017 against expanding health care, including two votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. She voted in 2017 for the American Health Care Act, the House Trumpcare bill that would have let insurers charge people who have preexisting conditions more for their insurance. That’s the opposite of protecting people, in case it wasn’t obvious. In fact, she didn’t just vote for it. She enthusiastically voted for it, infamously cheerleading in her conference that it was time to get this “fucking thing” done.
“Anyone who voted for that bill was voting to take away the ACA’s preexisting condition protections,” Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill told Kaiser Health News and Politifact. “Sen. McSally is trying to erase history for electoral purposes.” Back home in Arizona, Dr. Daniel Derksen, a professor of public health, medicine and nursing at the University of Arizona says “Martha McSally has in her actions, in her votes, been pretty consistent about cutting back benefits and trying to repeal the ACA without any clear plan in mind that would protect people who gained insurance through the ACA. […] Her words on preexisting condition protections don’t align with any votes I’ve seen.”
McSally’s campaign defended her claim saying that she’s supporting a bill from North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis (who has his own reelection concerns) called the Protect Act. That bill has the words that say it bans insurance plans from imposing preexisting condition exclusions, but it does nothing to keep insurance companies from pricing insurance for people with health issues out of reach. It is literally just lip service to the idea of protections. What’s more, McSally has refused to say whether she supports the Trump administration’s efforts to have the Affordable Care Act—including those protections—struck down. “When given the opportunity, she has declined to oppose this lawsuit, which would essentially eliminate the protections that exist,” Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University, said.
The pandemic is guaranteeing that this is going to be another healthcare election. It guarantees that people are going to be watching what their elected officials do and say to protect our health and our futures. Back in 2018, when she was running for the Senate, McSally complained to Sean Hannity, “I did vote to repeal and replace Obamacare on that House bill—I’m getting my ass kicked for it right now because it’s being misconstrued by the Democrats. […] They’re trying to, you know, invoke fear in people who have family members or loved ones with pre-existing conditions.” It worked. She got her ass kicked by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, but then got the consolation prize of being appointed to John McCain’s seat after his death.
She’s going to get her ass kicked again, this time by Mark Kelly, and health care will be one of the top reasons why.
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