One of the weird things about Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech was how much he sounded like a normal president– ignore the parts about the wall and MS-13 and the digs at kneeling NFL players and you could easily picture an alternate universe where a President Mitt Romney or a President Jeb Bush was giving the same speech.
Partly that’s just the nature of the State of the Union– it’s a laundry list of policy accomplishments/goals, and for all the talk of Trump being an “outsider” candidate, his actual policies are generic Republican stuff– but it was also partly in how he defended those policies.
We’ve probably fact-checked hundreds of statements about healthcare from politicians on both sides of the aisle, and it’s actually pretty rare to catch them straight up lying. They say things that are false all the time, but they typically do that by starting with a grain of truth and then spinning it wildly out of context. So for example, during the 2012 campaign Mitt Romney claimed that Obamacare “robbed” $716 billion from Medicare– in truth Obamacare didn’t take any money out of Medicare, it simply lowered the reimbursement rates that would be paid to hospitals, insurers, and other providers, saving $716 billion. Or to give an example from the other side, there’s President Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” claim. It’s true that the Obamacare contained a provision that exempted pre-ACA plans from the ACA’s rules, but there was nothing in the law to prevent insurers from canceling those old plans, and many did.
President Trump is different. From the size of his inauguration crowd to the ratings of his State of the Union, Trump’s tells lies that don’t contain even a grain of truth– and he does it constantly. However, in the State of the Union, at least on healthcare, he spun and mislead like a normal politician. Here’s how… [click to continue…]