David Perdue is the latest GOP senator to lie about his record on health care

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Perdue has voted to eliminate insurance protections for people with preexisting health conditions.

An ad released Thursday by the campaign of Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) claims he supports insurance protections for people with preexisting health conditions.

Perdue has a history of votes and statements that show the claim to be false.

"Health insurance should always cover preexisting conditions for anyone. Period," Perdue says in the ad. "Unfortunately, some people want to play political games with this. I just think it's the right thing to do."

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Perdue, a first-term senator facing a tough reelection race in November against Democrat Jon Ossoff, voted in 2017 to repeal Obamacare, including its mandate the people with preexisting conditions must be covered by insurance policies.

In January 2019, Perdue said that "of course" he wanted a GOP-spearheaded lawsuit aimed at striking down the health care law to succeed.

In April 2019, he joined other Republicans in supporting the "Protect Act," a bill he claimed "protects Americans with preexisting conditions."

Shortly after it was introduced, analysts noted that, while its sponsors say that the act "guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions and prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage of treatments for a patient's pre-existing condition," other provisions of the Protect Act undercut that guarantee.

Sarah Lueck, a senior analyst with the nonpartisan Center on Budget Policies and Priorities, noted that the Protect Act would allow insurance companies to

  • exclude coverage of essential health benefits — such as maternity coverage, mental health care, and substance use treatment — as many plans did before the ACA;
  • impose annual and lifetime limits on how much they will pay out (in large employer plans as well as individual-market and small business coverage);
  • sell plans with no limit on how much enrollees could owe in out-of-pocket costs if they get sick (another change that would affect large employer plans as well as the individual and small-group markets);
  • charge higher premiums based on non-health factors that can strongly correlate to health risk, including gender; and
  • charge older people (most of whom have pre-existing conditions) far more, compared to younger people, than the ACA allows.

For example, under the Protect Act, a cancer patient could not be denied health care coverage, but the coverage could exclude prescription medications used to treat the cancer. Additionally, health insurance companies would be allowed to put lifetime caps on benefits, leaving patients with large medical bills after the cap was hit.

The Cook Political Report calls the race between Perdue and Ossoff one of six toss-ups in the 2020 election. Analysts at Inside Elections rated the race "Likely Republican" in January, but in their latest evaluation, in July, rated it "Tilt Republican."

In addition to Perdue, two other Republicans facing tough races have lied about their positions on health insurance mandates regarding preexisting conditions.

In July, a campaign ad for Montana Sen. Steve Daines claimed, "Steve Daines will protect Montanans with preexisting conditions and fight for lower prescription drug prices." Daines joined Perdue in voting to eliminate Obamacare in 2017.

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally, who as a House member in 2017 voted to repeat Obamacare as well, has repeatedly lied about her position on the issue, stating in a July campaign ad, "I will always protect those with preexisting conditions." Politifact rated the claim as "False."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.