GOP senator caught lying about her efforts to take away people's health care


Sen. Martha McSally claimed to support protections for people with preexisting conditions despite voting against them.

During an April 2 tele-town hall, Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) lied about supporting protections for people with preexisting medical conditions.

Throughout her career in Congress, McSally has repeatedly voted against those protections and has encouraged her colleagues to do the same.

On the Thursday call with constituents, McSally was asked why she was "still supporting the Trump administration's lawsuit to end preexisting condition coverage in the middle of this crisis."

The question referred to a lawsuit filed by several Republican-led states and supported by the Trump administration that is aimed at declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

"That's actually not accurate," McSally responded. "I have nothing to do with the lawsuit, and I fully support people with preexisting conditions, ensuring that they cannot be denied health insurance. So it's just not accurate."

McSally's claim is not consistent with her congressional voting record.

While McSally is not directly involved in the lawsuit to overturn Obamacare, she has not publicly opposed it. Further, she has voted numerous times to take health care protections away from people with preexisting conditions.

In 2017, McSally, then a member of the House of Representatives, voted to repeal the ACA, including its provisions to guarantee affordable coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Before that vote, she urged her colleagues to join her, saying it was time to get "this fucking thing done."

In October 2019, she supported a Trump administration effort to expand access to "junk" health insurance plans that limit coverage and don't provide essential health benefits. Groups such as AARP opposed the plans, saying they would allow health insurance companies to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions.

"The truth is that Senator McSally has repeatedly voted to gut coverage protections and let her corporate health insurance donors jack up prices on older folks and Arizonans with preexisting conditions," Brad Bainum, a spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party, said in an email. He also noted that if the GOP-backed lawsuit against the ACA was successful, it would "fully dismantle coverage protections and increase health care costs for Arizonans."

McSally lost a 2018 run for the U.S. Senate, in an election in which health care was a top issue for voters. She was then appointed by the Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to the remainder of the late-Sen. John McCain's term.

She is up for election in November.

McSally currently lags behind her opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly, in both polling and fundraising. Forecasters at Sabato's Crystal Ball, a newsletter of electoral analysis compiled at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, recently changed its rating of the race from "toss-up" to "leans Democratic."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.