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Checking a Fact-Check on Alex Azar

HHS Secretary Alex Azar (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Every once in a while I’ll read a political group’s press release that winds up in my inbox. Yesterday I got one from “Protect Our Care,” a pro-Obamacare organization, about Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar’s speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Supposedly Azar told ALEC a bunch of lies, and Protect Our Care is on the case.

Supposed lie number one: “Azar claimed 28 million Americans are uninsured because of the Affordable Care Act.” Here’s what Azar actually said: “[F]or all the government intervention and expense involved in Obamacare, 28 million Americans remain uninsured.” Not the same thing.

Supposed lie number two:

Azar claims people who don’t have subsidies are backing out of the markets because premiums have gone up so much.

TRUTH: The Trump administration is taking actions that push health premiums even further out of reach. Just ask insurance commissioners and other experts in state after state.

You’ll notice that far from proving that Azar said something he knew to be false, the group didn’t show that what he said was false at all.

“Lie” number three:

Azar claims short-term plans are great for the gig economy.

TRUTH: Short-term plans leave Americans with junk coverage and saddled with huge debt. . . .

Azar’s actual words:

While these plans aren’t for everyone, we believe they can be an important option for many: people who have been priced out of Obamacare plans, who are between other sources of coverage, or who are independent contractors in today’s gig economy.

You can see why I don’t make it a practice to read most of these emails.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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