Yesterday, USA Today published an Op-Ed by President Trump entitled “Democrats [sic] ‘Medicare for All’ plan will demolish promises to seniors.” In addition to the inflammatory rhetoric throughout the piece (which includes language reminiscent of the “Red Scare” fears used to oppose passage of Medicare in the 1960s), it is filled with false and misleading statements about the Medicare program and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Indeed, according to the Washington Post fact checker Glen Kessler, “almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.”
As noted by the Center for American Progress in response to the op-ed, the President’s promises to “protect” Medicare are not consistent with the Administration’s support for, among other things, proposed budget cuts to Medicare and massive tax cuts that put extraordinary pressure on the federal budget. Similarly, contrary to stated promises to “protect” people with pre-existing conditions, this Administration has sought to eliminate such protections by supporting repeal of the ACA via legislation, gutting it through litigation, and actively sabotaging it through regulation.
As noted by media columnist Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post, the publishers of this Op-Ed “seem to have forgotten the axiom popularized by Daniel Patrick Moynihan: You’re allowed to have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts.” Stoking fears about efforts to expand health insurance coverage to more people is not a productive way to address our nation’s health care and coverage challenges. Doing so while also spreading misinformation is both counter-productive and dangerous.