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GOP's Best Hope: Forgetful & Gullible Voters

Healthcare coverage for millions of Americans at stake in November elections.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, this morning calls out a bunch of Republican politicians who are now trying to hide from voters their previous vocal and vehement opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which protects coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Now that pubic opinion polls show growing support for the ACA and opposition to efforts to scuttle protections for pre-existing conditions, many lawmakers who previously voted to dismantle the healthcare law and used it to whip up the emotional support of Obama haters are now pretending they never did such a thing.

For example, Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) is accused of voting against health care for more than 100,000 Mainers. When asked by a TV reporter if he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he said, “No, I voted for a replacement plan.” He then claimed he was “one of three Republicans in the country” against repealing Obamacare without a replacement.

But Poliquin did vote for the ACA repeal bill, the American Health Care Act, a measure that even President Trump later described as “mean.” His website in 2016 promised to “end Obamacare.” Now it says Poliquin is in favor of “protecting our hospitals and healthcare access.”

Writes Milbank, "Poliquin is part of an elaborate attempt at a midterm hoax: Republicans convincing the public that they did not try to repeal Obamacare and its preexisting-conditions protections, and that they would again not do so if reelected."

More examples cited by Milbank:

  • Rep. Tom MacArthur’s (R-N.J.) site last year vowed: “Tom will work to repeal Obamacare, but won’t stop there.” Now? “Tom opposed his own party’s efforts at a speedy Obamacare repeal.”

  • Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), in 2016, had a pledge: “I will do everything I can to repeal every word of Obamacare.” That passage is now repealed from his website.

  • Rep. Leonard Lance’s (R-N.J.) website, in 2016, boasted that “Lance is on the front-lines in the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare.” Now, that same passage has been rewritten: “Lance is leading the fight for real Health Care Reform.”

  • Gone from the website of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) is his boast that he “secured full congressional passage for the first time of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.” In its place: “member of the House bipartisan task force to combat the heroin epidemic.”

  • Struck from the website of Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) is his announcement that “I will not apologize for continually voting to delay, defund, and dismantle Obamacare.”

  • In lieu of the promise from Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.) that “I will seek to repeal and replace Obamacare” is a claim that “John is working to reform our healthcare system with commonsense solutions.”

  • Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio), before: “Dave Joyce has fought to defund, repeal or delay ‘Obamacare’ every chance he’s had, 30+ times.” Joyce, now: “Dave has been a strong advocate in the fight against the opioid epidemic.”

  • Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who proclaimed himself “a national leader in the fight” against Obamacare,”now cites his “bipartisan work for better healthcare.”

"Similar cases have been reported in California, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Montana and North Dakota," reports Milbank. "This raises a frightening epidemiological possibility: Selective memory loss is spreading, and it has become a necessary pre-condition to run as a Republican this year."

If the consequences weren't so serious all of this running for cover would be hilarious. But it comes even as Attorneys General Josh Hawley of Missouri and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia have joined a lawsuit that would eliminate protections for preexisting conditions. Now, as Senate candidates, they both claim to support such protections.

And, of course, let's not forget that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised this past week that if the Republicans maintain control of Congress, they will once again try to repeal the ACA. Should that occur, there goes pre-existing conditions coverage as well as health care coverage for millions of Medicaid recipients.

So none of this is funny at all.

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