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Republicans celebrating at the White House in 2017 after the voted to take away insurance from 23 million people and gut pre-existing condition protections.

Don Bacon’s Dishonest Re-Election Campaign

I’m old enough to remember when Republicans claimed to believe in integrity and told us that character counts. In many previous campaigns, the GOP put a high premium on what they called “character issue.”

What we’ve discovered over the years is that the GOP maintains a double standard in politics. The GOP holds Democrats to impossible standards and holds their own party members to no standards at all. As Pulitzer Prize winning economist Paul Krugman said: “The lesson here is never to take right-wing huffiness about the process of politics and political debate seriously. These guys don’t actually believe in any rules at all; whatever rule they may lay down in one case, they’ll break in an instant if they think they see an advantage.”

I’ve become alarmed to see that Representative Don Bacon is running a deeply mendacious re-election campaign. The credibility gap regarding Bacon grows larger and larger everyday. Mr. Bacon has made calls for civility but it isn’t very civil to lie about your opponent’s proposals and your own record.

Bacon’s biggest lie is that Kara Eastman’s health care plan will cost American taxpayers an additional $32 trillion over the next decade and increases taxes on the middle class.

What Bacon doesn’t tell you is that the cost of maintaining the health care status quo over the next 10 years is $50 trillion. The unspoken and dishonest assumption behind Bacon’s attack is that somehow we will be paying twice for health care in the next 10 years. Or in the alternative, Bacon makes the assumption that our health care will be free for the next 10 years.

Somebody needs to ask Bacon how he plans to come up with the $50 trillion necessary to finance the status quo. The U.S. has far and away the most expensive health care system in the industrialized world and it simply isn’t sustainable. We pay a lot more than other First World countries and get a vastly inferior outcome.

And that isn’t Bacon’s only lie about the crucial health care issue. Bacon has made the false claim that he supports the continuation of pre-existing condition protections. Unfortunately, Bacon’s assertions on this matter are directly contradicted by his record.

Last year, Bacon said “Hell yes!” to voting for the GOP Trump Care bill. That piece of legislation would have allowed states to waive pre-existing conditions protections. It was widely anticipated that if the bill had passed, Pete Ricketts would have done the bidding of the insurance industry and ended those consumer protections in Nebraska.

What makes this episode even more disturbing is that the House Trump Care bill that Bacon supported exempted members of Congress from the bill. It’s true that the House subsequently voted to end that exemption but that was only because they got busted.

Even if (God forbid) Trump Care had become law, members of Congress would have still enjoyed the consumer friendly reforms of the Affordable Care Act. This is because members of Congress would have been allowed to buy insurance on the D.C. insurance exchanges. The District of Columbia would have maintained pre-existing condition protections.

Trump Care — if it had passed — would have created a two tier health care system. A consumer friendly one for the Blue States and an insurance company friendly one for the Red States. Bacon (and the rest of the Nebraska Congressional delegation) would have had a better health care system than their constituents.

Bacon is trying to explain away his vote for Trump Care by claiming he supports a House GOP bill that allegedly maintains pre-existing condition protections. Once again, Bacon isn’t being honest with the voters. According to twenty five patient groups: “(T)he measure does not include a ban on insurers simply excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions, meaning insurers could offer plans that do not cover the care that patients need most while still not denying coverage outright.The legislation also would allow insurers to charge higher premiums based on factors like age.”

And Bacon isn’t just lying about health care, he is also misrepresenting Eastman’s stance on taxes . The Second District Congressman continues to falsely assert that his challenger supports a 90% tax rate. In an interview with the Omaha World Herald on April 15, 2018, Eastman said: “If we just raise the top rate … to 50 percent on today’s earnings of a million dollars or more we could raise about $96 billion. What we need to be looking at in our country is reducing income inequality.”

There is nothing extreme about a 50% top rate. What Bacon doesn’t tell you is that GOP icon Ronald Reagan signed into law a 50% top rate as part of the 1981 tax bill. This country had a top rate of 50% between 1981 and 1986. Apparently, Bacon must believe that his conservative hero was extreme.

I would agree with the GOP of the 1990s that character counts. Bacon isn’t running an honest campaign and he will say anything to get re-elected. Anything. It is Kara Eastman who has the necessary character to serve Nebraska CD02 in Congress. Vote for integrity. Vote Eastman on November 6!

I’m a trial lawyer, a Democratic activist and a sports fan.

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