UPDATE: President Trump’s decision to cut cost-sharing reduction subsidies (CSR) — which Gardner apparently supports — is directly related to significant increases in healthcare costs in Colorado:
— Blair Miller (@blairmiller) October 18, 2017
Critically, Gardner refers to these subsidies as “bailouts” for insurance companies, echoing the Trump administration’s line–and signaling clearly that Gardner will not be of assistance in moving forward a bipartisan plan to fund the CSR payments floated this week:
— Alexandra Limon (@AlexLimonNews) October 18, 2017
GARDNER: Now we know it contains a bailout to the insurance companies, I think most people across America probably don’t like the fact that we’re giving billions of dollars to insurance companies while they’re still increasing rates dramatically…
But as Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler analyzed in detail a few days ago, the claim that the cost-sharing reduction payments constitute a “bailout” in any sense the term is correctly used is completely wrong–earning the dreaded “Four Pinocchios” on their scale of falsity:
The CSRs were in addition to the premium tax credits received by people making less than 400 percent of the poverty line. (The tax credits were available for any level of plan.) The intent was to make it easier for low-income people to afford the cost of health insurance…
CSRs are not a bailout for insurance companies. A bailout means a company is being propped up with government money after making bad decisions. That’s not the case here…Insurance companies don’t make money through cost-sharing — they are being paid back for money they’ve already spent on behalf of people who purchased their health plans. The president either doesn’t understand the process or is being purposely misleading.
If it’s true that President Trump “either doesn’t understand the process or is being purposely misleading” when he called the CSR payments a “bailout,” it’s true of Cory Gardner as well. In Gardner’s case, we’re not inclined to presume ignorance. In the clip above, Gardner smiles as he refers to the CSR payments as a “bailout,” almost like he knows what he’s saying is nonsense and is a little embarrassed by it.
If so, it’s because he should be. It may not be a surprise at this point for Gardner to echo Trump’s already-proven lies, but it’s pretty galling. For everyone who defended Gardner as “a different kind of Republican” in 2014, this should be the breaking point if they haven’t already reached one.
Because these are just not the words honest people use.