President Trump, in a USA Today op-ed article, claims that Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-All proposal, which Trump says has been widely adopted by Democrats, would devastate Medicare as we know it. It is a big healthcare lie.
Checking the facts, it is clear that nearly every sentence of Trump's article contains either an outright lie or misleading statements.
What's clear is that Trump and other Republicans are on the attack as the November 6 "Blue Wave" mid-term elections draw near, charging Democrats with fostering angry mobs and claiming Democrats' healthcare proposals are nothing but socialism personified.
Hyperbole, exaggerations and lies have become the order of the day as election day approaches and Republicans attempt to thwart a concerted Democratic healthcare attack on Republicans.
They are reacting to concerns expressed by leading Democrats about efforts by Trump and the GOP to eviscerate Medicare and Medicaid along with their continuing and obsessive attack against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its protections against loss of coverage for preexisting conditions and other key provisions.
Another Trump Lie
Here's what Trump had the gall to write in that USA Today article: "“Democrats would gut Medicare with their planned government takeover of American health care. The Democrats’ plan means that after a life of hard work and sacrifice, seniors would no longer be able to depend on the benefits they were promised.”
First of all, Medicare-for-All is not "the Democrats" plan. It's Bernie Sanders' plan. While it has been endorsed by some Democrats, its 10-year cost of about $33 trillion make it highly unlikely to pass -- even should Democrats take control of Congress.
But who would actually gut Medicare?
The answer is Trump (despite his campaign promises) and his GOP cronies who want to turn it into a privatized system with retirees receiving annual vouchers to purchase their health coverage -- a pet project of outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS).
For Republicans, its not just rhetoric. Their effort to "gut" Medicare was written in black and white in Trump's own budget.
Under that plan, some $554 billion would be cut out of Medicare over the next decade, and it would be done to cover the cost of some $400 billion in new spending and more than $1 trillion in tax cuts pushed through Congress by Republicans at Trump's behest.
As Forbes magazine said in this analysis, "Economic growth will not make up the difference as trillions flow out of the U.S. Treasury. The numbers will never add up as retirees will be made to pay and other key government agencies such as the State Department and EPA are slashed to the bone. Medicare is one of many beneficial programs that is on the GOP's hatchet list.
"Medicare has long been targeted by the GOP and House Speaker Paul Ryan for privatization. Whenever the GOP talks about "entitlement reform," that's GOP speak for cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."
Editor's note: Keep in mind, the above comes from Forbes -- not exactly a liberal, Democratic-oriented publication.
The Pre-Existing Conditions Fight
Just a few weeks ago, Republican lawmakers filed a lawsuit to remove the most popular provision of the ACA — protecting people with pre-existing conditions. That, combined with the GOP's continuous attacks against the ACA have provided Democrats with a veritable election year gift, and they are not shying away from using it.
In fact, in a TV ad that's gone viral (above), Joe Manchin, a moderate Democratic senator seeking re-election in West Virginia -- where Trump's approval rating is 60 percent -- raises a rifle and shoots a hole in a document emblazoned in red: "LAWSUIT ON COVERAGE OF PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS."
In the ad, Manchin says: "Now the threat is Patrick Morrisey's lawsuit to take away health care from people with pre-existing conditions. He is just dead wrong, and that ain't gonna happen."
So, I guess, hyperbole can work both ways. But at least Manchin got his facts right. It is Trump and the Republicans who are fostering the big health care lie and it's up to us to see that their misguided and harmful plans never materialize.
How do we do that? We vote them out on November 6.