WaPo fact-checker accuses Republicans of misleading voters about fact-checks

WaPo fact-checker accuses Republicans of misleading voters about fact-checks
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Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler this week accused seven Republican congressmen running for reelection of misleading voters regarding a previous fact check.

"A memo must have gone out to Republican lawmakers who voted for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare: If you are attacked for undermining protections for people with existing health problems, jab back by saying the claim got Four Pinocchios from The Washington Post," wrote Kessler, who lead's the Post's Fact Checker section.

"That’s not true," he continued. "Republicans are twisting an unrelated fact check and are misleading voters."


Kessler wrote that the Post has found at least six politicians who referenced a May 10, 2017, fact-check on a tweet from Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (D-Calif.) after the GOP bill passed the House, an article that mostly dealt with a figure she put forth.

"As a secondary matter, we looked at the question of whether people with preexisting conditions would be denied coverage," Kessler wrote.

He noted that the bill did include a sentence that said, "Nothing in this Act shall be construed as permitting health insurance issuers to limit access to health coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions."

However, Kessler said that the 2017 fact check did not state that the AHCA left the aspect of ObamaCare dealing with preexisting conditions "untouched" and noted that it came out before a report from the Congressional Budget Office that stated that people with preexisting conditions might be priced out of care.

Nonetheless, he noted that GOP Reps. Peter Roskam Peter James RoskamIllinois New Members 2019 Defeated Republicans mocked by Trump fire back at president House GOP returns to Washington after sobering midterm losses MORE (Ill.), Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 GOP lawmakers offer several locations for Trump address GOP lawmaker confronted by passenger for flying first class amid shutdown MORE (Ill.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyCongress needs to unite and pass this key infrastructure legislation Dems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (Pa.), Erik PaulsenErik Philip PaulsenLawmakers beat lobbyists at charity hockey game The 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall Minnesota New Members 2019 MORE (Minn.), John FasoJohn James FasoGOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority New York New Members 2019 MORE (N.Y.) and Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Polling editor says news outlets should be more cautious calling elections Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (Calif.) all referenced the Post's fact-check in rebutting their opponents' claims that they voted to undermine care for people with preexisting conditions.

A seventh politician, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), referenced a fact-check that defended a GOP politician who voted against the AHCA from an ad from his Democratic opponent that asserted he voted to deny people with preexisting conditions coverage. 

Brat voted for the AHCA. 

The Post noted that it asked each congressman to withdraw their use of the fact-check and that none agreed to do so. 

"The congressman pointed out that the false claim that the GOP health care plan would've eliminated protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions had received a '4 Pinocchio' rating," a spokesperson for Kelly told The Hill, linking to the May 2017 fact check. "He stands by his assertion."

"The fact remains that the American Health Care Act, which Rep. Kelly supported, explicitly protected patients with pre-existing conditions," the spokesperson added. "Despite his opponent's misleading claims, Rep. Kelly has always supported protecting coverage for those patients."

Updated: 11:05 a.m.