GOP senator says voting against health care somehow gives people health care

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Sen. David Perdue offered a bizarre response to his own attacks on health care during Wednesday's Senate debate.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) claimed on Wednesday that he has repeatedly voted to take away people's health care because he wanted to cover more people.

He made the comments during a televised Senate debate. As his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff repeatedly hit him for his many votes to repeal Obamacare and his support for a lawsuit to kill the law in its entirety, Perdue suggested that Georgians would be better off without it.

"I voted against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, because it was taking insurance away from millions of Georgians," he argued. "Today almost 18% of Georgians don't have any health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act."

This claim is false.

Georgia does have among the highest rates of uninsured citizens, but Obamacare did not cause that.

A local television station noted last month that, without Obamacare, more than 450,000 Georgians would likely lose their coverage. And a huge percentage of people with preexisting conditions, such as diabetes or a previous case of COVID-19, could face insurance discrimination without the law.

And the state has not yet implemented the law's Medicaid expansion provisions. When the state's expansion goes into effect next year, an estimated 400,000 to 500,000  Georgians with lower incomes will be able to get covered.

Another factor is the economic toll of the pandemic. At least 1.4 million Georgians have been at least temporarily unemployed in recent months. More than 175,000 Georgians lost their employer-paid coverage in the early months of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a July report.

A portion of Ossoff's attack on Perdue's anti-Obamacare record went viral after the debate. As of Thursday morning, it has been viewed more than 6 million times.

"It's not just that you're a crook, Senator. It's that you're attacking the health of the people that you represent," Ossoff said in the segment. "You did say COVID-19 was no deadlier than the flu. You did say there would be no significant uptick in cases. All the while, you were looking after your own assets and your own portfolio. And you did vote four times to end protections for preexisting conditions. Four times."

Perdue also gave a nonapology when asked about his recent racist attack on Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris. Asked why he had intentionally mispronounced the name of Harris (D-CA), who has been his colleague in the Senate for nearly four years, he answered only that he "absolutely meant no disrespect" and has "said that publicly to Senator Harris." He then tried to justify his mockery as an attempt to "educate the people of Georgia" about the Democrats' "radical socialist agenda."

Polls show the race between Ossoff and Perdue to be very close. If no candidate receives a majority on Tuesday, the top two finishers will face off in a January runoff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.