Healthy Skepticism

Fact checkers continue to call BS on McSally’s healthcare claims.

Sen. Martha McSally's efforts to rehabilitate her record on healthcare hit another setback last week, when the Arizona Republic revealed that the average voter featured in McSally's latest healthcare ad was actually Whitney Lawrence, a former campaign staffer for former Sen. Jeff Flake.

Sure, Republican political operatives can certainly have preexisting conditions, as Lawrence does. But Lawrence's argument—that a government takeover of healthcare is bad because the insurance she purchased under the Affordable Care Act didn't cover her treatment for a rare blood disorder at the Mayo Clinic—is fundamentally flawed because Democrat Mark Kelly, who is challenging McSally, has said on the campaign trail that he doesn't support a Medicare-for-All program, although he does support a public option to buy insurance from a government insurer such as Medicare.

McSally has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is the only law that prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions. And at no point has McSally ever voted for legislation that would guarantee everyone treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

The ad also raises the question of why McSally is having such a hard time finding average people who support her healthcare proposals. An earlier ad featured a testimonial from former McSally aide Kristen Douglas and another featured former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell in a non-speaking role as supportive senior. It's almost like ordinary people aren't around to talk about how McSally has helped them.

The latest fact-checker to call bullshit on McSally's healthcare claims is the Washington Post, which gave McSally four Pinnochios for her claim in a TV ad that she "will always protect people with preexisting conditions. Always."

As WaPo points out—and as PolitiFact and the Tucson Weekly, among others, have previously pointed out—McSally has already broken that promise by repeatedly voting to repeal the only law that does protect people with preexisting conditions.

McSally says she's being smeared with lies from her opponents and the liberal hacks in the media, but just saying you will protect people with preexisting conditions doesn't make up for voting for legislation that would strip away those protections.

Meanwhile, as the federal $600-a-week boost for unemployment payments is coming to an end, McSally has failed to make any effort to extend them—which shouldn't be that surprising, since she voted against providing the extra dough in the first place.

All of this explains why poll after poll shows her trailing Democrat Mark Kelly. The Real Clear Politics polling average in Arizona shows Kelly ahead by 5 percentage points—and that's only if you throw in a survey by wackadoodle news outlet One America News Network, which recently produced a poll showing McSally with a 5 percentage point lead over Kelly. Could be that Team McSally is taking some solace in that one, even though it's quite a difference from other public polls released this year, which have shown Kelly leading by between 4 percentage points and 13 percentage points.

But McSally can't take much solace in the fundraising numbers as Kelly once again dominated the latest quarter. McSally did better than she has in the past, bringing in about $9 million. But Kelly also had a record-breaking quarter, bringing in a staggering $12 million. At the end of the quarter, Kelly had nearly $24 million in the bank, compared to McSally's $11 million.