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USA Today defends running Trump's 'Medicare for All' op-ed

USA Today defends running Trump's 'Medicare for All' op-ed
© Greg Nash

The editor of USA Today's opinion section on Wednesday pushed back on criticism that the newspaper ran an op-ed from President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE riddled with misleading and inaccurate information, saying the president's piece was "treated like other column submissions."

"USA TODAY Opinion provides a forum for a diversity of views on issues of national relevance," editorial page editor Bill Sternberg said in a statement. "We see ourselves as America’s conversation center, presenting our readers with voices from the right, left and middle."

He added that just like other op-ed submissions, "we check factual assertions while allowing authors wide leeway to express their opinions."

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USA Today published an opinion piece by Trump on Wednesday morning that warned of a dystopian future if the Democratic Party's agenda were enacted, and he focused on "Medicare for all," a proposal that's backed by many Democrats.

"In practice, the Democratic Party’s so-called Medicare for All would really be Medicare for None," Trump wrote. "Under the Democrats' plan, today’s Medicare would be forced to die."

USA Today embedded links in Trump's op-ed that provided more context for his statements, some of which were contradicted by the information in the links. Democratic lawmakers and fact-checkers have highlighted what they say are problems with the president's arguments.

Glenn Kessler, who heads up The Washington Post's Fact Checker section, wrote that "almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood."

PolitiFact reviewed a dozen of Trump's remarks in the op-ed and said many of them lacked full context or were inaccurate.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted the piece as "smears and sabotage," and posted a photo on social media that included an edited version of the op-ed that was marked up to correct what he said were Trump's mistakes.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBooker holds 'Get Out the Vote' event in South Carolina as presidential speculation builds The Democratic Donald Trump is coming Biden: Trump administration 'coddles autocrats and dictators' MORE (I-Vt.), one of the most prominent supporters of Medicare for all, derided the op-ed as being "full of lies." He said his proposal would cover areas that the Medicare currently does not, like dental care and eyeglasses, and would do away with certain premiums.

Trump and Republicans have seized on Democratic support for Medicare for all heading into the final weeks of the midterm campaign, highlighting studies that show the program would come with an increase in federal spending, even though some studies also show that the plan would lower health-care expenditures overall.