Which Is More Important? Trump’s Lies or Minor Errors Fact-Checking Those Lies?

A couple of weeks ago, Kellyanne Conway denied that the Senate health care bill cut Medicaid. “These are not cuts to Medicaid,” she said. “This slows the rate for the future.”

This is the lamest, tiredest trope imaginable, and it’s flat-out false. In inflation-adjusted dollars—the only kind that honest people use—CBO estimates that the Senate bill cuts Medicaid spending by about 18 percent over the next decade. As a result, 15 million fewer people will receive Medicaid by 2026. That’s a cut by anyone’s definition.

But Ramesh Ponnuru isn’t concerned about this. Instead, he’s mad at PolitiFact for saying that the Senate bill “rolls back who is eligible”—i.e., that it kills the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare. That’s not quite right: according to CBO’s analysis, the Senate bill gradually reduces the federal share of payment for Medicaid expansion from 90 percent to 57 percent. Because of this, “CBO expects that no additional states would expand eligibility.”

This may seem like a thin distinction, but Ponnuru is so mad about it that he brought it up again today. “So far, no correction,” he says.

Fine. PolitiFact got something wrong. They should correct the record. But I sure wish conservatives could work up the same level of indignation for an administration that flatly lies about Medicaid and a Republican bill that slashes Medicaid funding so much that it tosses 15 million poor people off the rolls. Instead, they’re busy concocting rickety arguments that Medicaid is “lousy” and then making pie-in-the-sky suggestions that we should use Medicaid money to help the poor buy private insurance instead. But they know perfectly well that’s not an option on offer, and never likely to be in any practical way. It’s just a way of soothing their consciences without any danger of supporting any actual real-world spending.

Life is less about facts and figures than it is about priorities. Over the past few months, conservatives have pretty clearly shown us theirs.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.