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Representing the 8th District of Indiana

The Washington Post Fact Checks Rhetoric on Preexisting Conditions

May 11, 2017
Press Release

The Washington Post Fact Checks Rhetoric on Preexisting Conditions

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Washington Post awarded four Pinocchios to a Democrat Senator’s unfounded claim that as a result of the American Health Care Act – the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare – millions of Americans with preexisting conditions “could be denied coverage.”

From The Washington Post:

Kamala D. Harris’s claim that 129 million people with preexisting conditions ‘could be denied coverage’

Update: We were so focused on fact-checking the “129 million” number that we neglected to consider the second part of her statement — that these people “could be denied coverage.” The problem is that the AHCA does not change the ACA’s guarantee of coverage. The rule for debating the amendment actually included a line to clarify any possible ambiguity —  that “nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions.”


As currently drafted, the provision affects a relatively small portion of the health insurance market — and even then several factors would need to play out before a person faced an issue. Moreover, the Republican plan specifically sets aside billions of dollars to help states create high-risk or invisible health pools to assist people if their health condition results in higher premiums or loss of coverage during the one-year transition period. It’s a valid question about whether the funding is adequate, but that’s different than assuming there is no funding at all.

Yet Harris uses a very high figure to suggest that everyone with a preexisting condition is at risk. The gap between her number and the reality of who might be affected is too large to ignore.

Update: We initially rated this claim as Three Pinocchios. Considering the totality of Harris’s statement, claiming that as many as 129 million could be denied coverage, we are changing the rating on this fact check to Four Pinocchios.

Read The Washington Post’s full fact check here:

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. is a physician and Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee serving his fourth term representing Indiana's 8th Congressional district. The 8th District of Indiana includes all or parts of Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warrick counties.