Democratic candidates and incumbents should take a lesson from Rep. Elissa Slotkin on how you deal with the marble-mouthed, content-free lip service that Republicans give to the issue of health care policy.
September 27, 2020

Former external affairs official for ICE and television anchor Paul Junge is running to unseat Michigan’s newest House representative, Democrat Elissa Slotkin. Slotkin was one of the many Democratic and progressive candidates to shake the world during the 2018 blue wave elections. Slotkin won Michigan’s 8th district, one that had gone comfortably to both Mitt Romney and Donald Trump in 2012 and 2016, respectively. On Sunday morning, the two candidates had a debate on local TV station WDIV Channel 4.

One of the biggest issues facing Americans and something that both sides of the aisle’s constituents are worried about is the continued rising cost of health care and, more specifically, health insurance. The exchange that took place just hours ago is one that is taking place nationally in every race as we speak. It will be a focus at some point during whatever it is we end up calling the debates between Joe Biden and Trump. Hopefully Democratic candidates and incumbents will take note of how you deal with the marble-mouthed, content-free lip service that Republicans give to the need to “lower premiums” while offering up absolutely nothing in terms of concrete policy.

Rep. Slotkin has a very personal story about health insurance: Her mother, who had had a bout with cancer decades earlier, continued to get gouged by insurance companies because of her “preexisting condition.” This led to her mother’s premiums becoming unaffordable and her need to lapse in paying them when evaluating what she was actually getting in return. When asked about her campaign to make sure Michigan residents could receive affordable health insurance, Slotkin highlighted the absolute need for a preexisting conditions clause—one that Republicans are hoping will be destroyed by the Supreme Court. Then, the moderator handed the question over to Junge.

Like most Republican candidates or soon-to-be-squatting presidents, Junge’s solution to rising healthcare costs and premiums is to get rid of “undue burdens and regulations”—you know, like the way it was before. Before, when skyrocketing healthcare costs and premiums helped lead to President Obama passing the Affordable Care Act because everyone—even the racists that voted for President Obama—understood that bigotry aside, we need to take steps forward in regulating the insurance industry.

It is here that Rep. Slotkin made sure to circle back to remind the audience what exactly was being asked and highlight the answers being given by both candidates. This is something that every person running for office must do in the next few weeks every time a conservative obfuscates a direct question about preexisting conditions and health care.

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN: With all due respect, if you talk about my mother's case, you shouldn't talk about it without knowing anything about it. My mother's case wasn't she couldn't afford insurance because of undue regulation. It’s because she had a preexisting cancer she had 30 years ago, and forever and ever and ever, every insurance company thought they could gouge her, and charge her $1,000 a month, and a $10,000 deductible. Please don't speak about my mother as if you understand what made her health care unaffordable to her. And I think it’s crazy that every time we ask you specific details about the thing that really helps people know that they’re going to be protected, their kids are going to be protected, you deflect and start attacking me and raising my mother? Come on, Paul, this is about being a big guy and running for Congress. If you’re going to do it, do it right and tell people how you're going to protect them—not some throwaway talking point, but a real plan.

Paul’s response is to say he wasn’t talking about her mother—he was, and when he wasn’t technically responding to the direct question about preexisting conditions that was because Paul wasn’t talking about anything at all. He was just saying words that he hopes will make it sound like he gives a shit about people’s health insurance.

Because Republicans like Junge cannot offer up anything resembling a solution, they sidestep the question of preexisting conditions every time it comes up. Donald Trump is such a liar that he is willing to just say “there will” be “something” for preexisting conditions, because he doesn’t care about lying. His base doesn’t seem to recognize that they are continuing to get screwed by his candidacy. But there are people on the ground that get it, and hopefully come November, we can begin the process of making America a democracy again.

Posted with permission from Daily Kos.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.