WATCH: Elizabeth Warren Lied to Van Jones About Disabled Constituent on CNN’s Debate Show


Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren told CNN’s Van Jones about a constituent whose insurance company “said no” to treatment for his MS, but there’s a video of that man’s story, and it shows Warren lied.

In a lengthy interview on CNN’s post-debate show, Warren spent about ten minutes refusing to admit that taxes will go up, and falsely asserting that Medicare for All will reduce costs for middle-class families. It’s possible she was merely mistaken in those cases. Most Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance, and pay an average of about $2,ooo a year in premiums, deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket costs.

But there can be little doubt that Warren lied when she told Jones the story of a constituent who told his story at a town hall event a few weeks ago.

Jones was engaging Warren on the issue of allowing Americans the freedom to choose private insurance if they want it.

“Middle class people, poor people, that’s your concern, and you say I don’t want those people to be left out, but what about the people who could opt out, and want to have the freedom to opt-out, do you care about them and their freedom to opt-out?” Jones asked.

“What I care about is that they don’t get pushed out,” Warren said, and went on to tell a story to illustrate the point.

“I had a young man stand up at a town hall and explain that he had been diagnosed with MS, and his insurance company refused to pay for one of his treatments,” Warren said. “He had started down the treatment line, and his explanation of it was, there he was, he had insurance, he fights with his insurance company, “no no no no,” until he finally ends up in the public system.”

“But understand this, he described it as I have now a lesion in my brain that is an inch long that I will carry for all my life,” Warren continued, then went on to say that “an insurance company, a man who was fully insured, said ‘You know, we’re just not going to pay for this.'”

The problem with Warren’s story is that it was completely the opposite of what happened, and there’s video to prove it. The man was not covered by insurance, which was why his treatment lapsed, and he didn’t end up “in the public system,” he was denied Medicare because the government deemed him insufficiently disabled.

It was at a New Hampshire town hall event in late September that the constituent, named Dylan, told his story:

You say that you support Medicare for all, which does have a transition through to get everyone covered on that. However, I am someone who really relies on my health insurance a lot more than most people, I live with an invisible illness, multiple sclerosis, and I’ve been denied disability basically because, in their words, they don’t think I’m disabled enough.

And because of this I basically have to constantly fight to keep my health insurance, and over the summer I was kicked off, not my mistake, but I had to pay for it, and in about 3 months of me trying to get my insurance back, I was delayed from my disease modified therapy, which now resulted in a new centimeter-size lesion that’s going to follow me for life because someone tried to save a few dollars.

So my question is, during the transition, it says over the first year people with disabilities will be covered. Will it be easier than the current disability standards, and basically make it easier?

Dylan’s story is heart-wrenching, but it’s a great deal more complicated than “insurance companies bad.” They frequently are, and while Dylan didn’t go into detail about the reason for the lapse, it sounds like that could have been the case here. Maybe it was a paperwork snafu or a dispute over payment, which happens all the time. It happened to me recently, and it’s on;y because I’m a persistent pain in the ass with significant expertise in health insurance that I was able to get the insurance company to stop passing the buck and fix their own screw-up.

But it wasn’t because of his condition, because that’s illegal thanks to Obamacare. And the part of Dylan’s question that Warren ignored, and lied about to Van Jones, is that it was the government which said “no,” which failed Dylan as surely as his insurance company did.

And despite what Warren and Sanders would have you believe, Medicare (the government) is just as devoted to saving money as insurance companies, and denies claims at a higher rate than private insurers. It was the government that tried to “save a few dollars” by denying Dylan’s disability.

People like Dylan are caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea, and the answer definitely isn’t “Devil for All” or “The Affordable Deep Blue Sea Act.” It’s more complicated than that, but only a little.

My solution is fairly simple: anyone who isn’t covered by private insurance or the rest of a plan — like Biden’s or Mayor Pete’s — would be assessed an income-indexed tax penalty (which the Supreme Court has already found to be constitutional), and that penalty would fund their automatic enrollment in Medicaid. Your “Don’t Tread on Me” types could be offered the choice to pay the penalty and refuse the coverage, but very few people would likely do that.

In the meantime, journalists need to study up on health care policy in a big way, so things like this don’t end up adding to the confusion.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.



This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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