It’s sickening how low the GOP has sunk in terms of telling bald-faced lies. On healthcare, which is a major concern, the lies are so blatant that they almost defy description. During a closed-door session at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island, Mike Pence, along with HHS Secretary Tom Price and another healthcare official, Seema Verma, tried to convince skeptical governors to back the Republican healthcare bill.
One of the things that Pence said was the following:
I know Gov. Kasich isn’t with us, but I suspect that he’s very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years.”
According to Ohio’s own governor, John Kasich, that’s a flat-out lie. He wasn’t at the meeting. However, he responded to Pence’s assertion by saying that it isn’t just inaccurate, it’s the exact opposite of what actually happened when he expanded Ohio’s Medicaid program. The waiting lists have to do with Medicaid’s community-based services and home services, which have zilch to do with expanding Medicaid.
Or, put another way, it’s fake news coming straight from Mike Pence’s mouth. Kasich is Republican, but he’s also reasonably sane. Chances are if Pence’s statement was true, he would have heartily agreed instead of sharply rebuking Pence this way.
Other governors, such as Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson, feel that Pence & Co. left many questions unanswered, particularly about the long-term effects of cutting Medicaid:
It is a huge challenge for us in terms of communicating what the future is going to be like to our health care providers. That is the challenge for governors — we’re on the front lines here. … It’s the long term that people want to know about.”
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead likewise said that too many questions remained unanswered. Wyoming didn’t expand Medicaid, but Mead continues to grapple with the uncertainty over healthcare in Congress.
Brian Sandoval, the Republican governor of Nevada, is worried that the 210,000 residents of his state who gained healthcare coverage under the Medicaid expansion will lose that coverage. Dean Heller, Nevada’s Republican Senator, is more or less aligned with Sandoval in his worries over the bill.
In general, Pence & Co. got a less-than warm welcome at the Association’s meeting. Many of the Republican governors like the idea of having more flexibility in how they run their programs, but there are too many unanswered questions for them. That, coupled with Pence’s extreme (ahem) misrepresentation of what’s happened in Ohio, has left them wary of what Washington wants to do to them and their residents.
Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images