John James Revealed: New Report Exposes John James’ “Empty Rhetoric” on Protecting Michiganders with Pre-Existing Conditions

James claims that he will protect coverage for pre-existing conditions “but ask [him] for details on how and [his] answer is … 🦗 🦗 🦗” 

In case you missed it, a new HuffPost report exposes failed politician and failed businessman John James’ “empty rhetoric” on claiming to protect Michiganders with pre-existing conditions. The truth is, James has promised to repeal the health care law which protects 1.7 million Michiganders with pre-existing conditions. And just like Trump and Washington Republicans, James has no plan to maintain protections for pre-existing conditions, and even when pressed James couldn’t offer “something, anything, resembling a specific proposal.” 

James’ refusal to detail his health care plan is “one more reason to treat his promises… with extreme skepticism.”


HuffPost: GOP Hoping Empty Health Care Rhetoric Can Save Their Senate Majority

In states like Michigan, Republican candidates want voters to forget how hard the party fought to repeal Obamacare.

  • [John] James has also run into a familiar political problem for Republicans. Back in 2017, he called for repealing the Affordable Care Act, describing the law as a “monstrosity.” Now he is under attack for trying to take away the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions. 
  • In response, James has adopted a strategy Republicans around the country have used. In a widely circulating television advertisement and in interviews with local journalists, James has cited a family member’s medical problems ― specifically, his son’s asthma ― as proof that he would always look out for people with preexisting conditions.
  • That vow, not to support a plan that “pulls the rug out from under people,” may sound familiar. It’s the same promise Republicans kept making in 2017 after Donald Trump became president and they were trying to write repeal legislation.
  • But if you remember the promise, you may also remember how empty it was.
  • The reality is that Republicans have never produced alternatives to “Obamacare” that live up to their lofty rhetoric. They didn’t in 2017 and they aren’t now.
  • “Our failure to repeal and replace Obamacare is the surest sign that we need someone who will go and work their tail off to remove this monstrosity,” James says in the clip, which he recorded while he was seeking the GOP nomination to run against Michigan’s other Democratic senator, Debbie Stabenow. It was a key issue in his campaign; in an October 2018 debate, James said “we took a system that was broken and made it worse.” 
  • But, by that point, the politics of health care in Michigan was shifting in the same way it was shifting nationwide. Voters started to appreciate what the Affordable Care Act, for all of its flaws, had achieved. And they got angry at Republicans for trying to take those things away. 
  • James tried to deflect the anger by insisting that, notwithstanding his support of repeal, he was committed to preserving protections for people with preexisting conditions. He lost anyway.
  • So far, the campaign is playing out a lot like it did in 2018, with Republicans insisting, again, that they would never take away protections for people with preexisting conditions. Several are running ads featuring family members who fought medical problems, just to prove how serious they are.
  • The story with James in Michigan is pretty much the same. 
  • But when the Detroit Free Press editorial board pushed James for details on how he would do that, he said he’s “not a healthcare expert” and that he’d rely on “experts” to work out a “market-based solution.” The Free Press ultimately endorsed Peters.
  • And in that WZZM interview, James dodged questions for a full 10 minutes while correspondent Nick LaFave repeatedly (and admirably) tried to get him to offer something, anything, resembling a specific proposal. The most James would say is that he thought more transparency about hospital prices would bring down prices through competition and that “I believe the decision-making should go to the people, not the federal government.”
  • Making it easier to see hospital prices and giving consumers more choices might or might not improve health care access at the margins, but it’s not a substitute for the structure the Affordable Care Act has put into place.
  • It’s also not a substitute for the hundreds of billions of dollars that the Affordable Care Act spends every year on private insurance subsidies and expanded Medicaid ― which, in turn, has improved financial security, access to care and health outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.
  • “While it seems that every candidate — including President Trump — is vowing these days to protect people with preexisting conditions, you can’t just click your heels together three times and make it come true,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote recently.
  • The Affordable Care Act has its shortcomings and tradeoffs. Still, it’s a response, which is more than James has offered. It is one more reason to treat his promises on health care, like those from so many other Republicans, with extreme skepticism.

The Michigan Democratic Party launched to hold the failed U.S. Senate candidate accountable for his positions – including those made over the course of the 2018 campaign that he then tried to delete after losing that campaign. For the first year of his campaign, James was largely in hiding from Michigan press and voters to try to paper over his out-of-touch record, and has only come out of hiding after facing scrutiny from Michiganders.