CBO score proves Rep. Poliquin’s health care claims are 100% false

CBO score proves Rep. Poliquin’s health care claims are 100% false

Publicly calling someone a liar is a tricky thing.

Even when you catch someone saying something that is proven to be false, in order to ethically call them a liar, you need to prove an intent to deceive. So someone could only be reasonably called a liar if you could prove that he didn’t believe what he was saying when he said it.

With that ethical dilemma in mind, some Mainers may recall May 4, when our Republican Second District Representative joined a GOP majority in the House to pass a repeal to the Obama-era Affordable Care Act by a narrow margin of 217-213.

In a conference call with reporters preceding the vote, Poliquin repeatedly misstated the scale of the impact that the massive bill would have on Mainers, perplexingly trying to justify his support for the bill by arguing how only 7% Mainers would be affected by it. Even at the time, members of the press began pointing out that Poliquin’s argument— that only people insured on the Obamacare insurance marketplace would be impacted by the repeal— neglected to account for the bill’s massive cuts to the Medicaid program, as well as its dramatic loosening of insurance regulations that would allow insurers to charge older Mainers far more than younger ones and make insurance unaffordable for individuals with preexisting conditions in Maine and around the country.

So in the above example, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who is by all accounts a reasonably intelligent person, said repeatedly and emphatically that a bill that would cut more than $800 billion from the national healthcare system would only impact 7% of Mainers— when in fact it would negatively impact literally any Mainer that had the audacity to get old, sick, or poor.

The dissonance between Poliquin’s assurances and the true impact of the “American Health Care Act” (AHCA) is now even clearer to behold, since this week the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its highly anticipated score on its assessment of the bill’s true impact. In its report, the CBO estimated that the bill would have the immediate effect of causing 14 million people across the country to lose their health insurance, with a total of 24 million more people left uninsured by 2026. It’s also worth noting that the fact that Poliquin and House Republicans pushed the legislation through the chamber so fast that we are only getting the CBO score on a bill that affects one sixth of the national economy twenty days after its passage is both unprecedented and insane enough to warrant its own outrage; it’s just bad governing all-around.

Since I am not a mind reader and Rep. Poliquin hasn’t made his intentions known, I would not presume to call him a liar. However, the contrast between his characterization of the impact that the AHCA would have on Mainers and the reality of the bill is a stark one.

Ultimately though, whether he knew what he was putting his name next to when he voted for the bill and whether he intentionally misled or tried to lie to reporters and his constituents when he completely misstated the bill’s impact are probably not the most important questions that we need to be asking Rep. Poliquin: Now that the disastrous consequences of the bill are evident for all to see, what is our representative going to do about it?

If you would like to ask him yourself, Representative Poliquin’s offices can be reached at:

Washington DC: (202) 225-6306
Bangor: (207) 942-0583
Lewiston: (207) 784-0768
Presque Isle: (207) 764-1968

About author

Grady Burns
Grady Burns 39 posts

Grady Burns is an activist on issues involving young Mainers. He serves on the Auburn City Council and is president of the Maine Young Democrats.


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