Health Issues Slip Into Chaotic First Debate Between Trump, Biden

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden blasted while President Donald Trump defended the administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The health law and coverage of preexisting conditions also got air time. And news outlets attempt to fact check a debate littered with false claims.

Modern Healthcare:
Biden, Trump Clash Over Healthcare Plans In First Debate

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden clashed over their agendas for healthcare reform as the issue took center stage during the first presidential debate on Tuesday. Biden used the first question of the night about the impending Senate fight over Trump’s Supreme Court nomination as an opportunity to raise concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act. He criticized Trump for supporting a lawsuit that could upend the ACA and for not presenting a comprehensive replacement plan if the law is struck down. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Nov. 10 in a case that could determine the law’s fate. (Cohrs, 9/29)

Kaiser Health News and PolitiFact:
The First Presidential Debate: A Night Of Rapid-Fire Interruptions And Inaccuracies 

Tuesday night, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden appeared for the first presidential debate, offering voters their first side-by-side comparison of the candidates. Little was said about what either candidate would do if elected; at one point, Biden’s attempts to explain his health care plan were drowned out by Trump’s persistent interruptions about Biden’s Democratic primary opponents. (9/30)

The Hill:
Biden Blames COVID-19 Death Toll On Trump: ‘It Is What It Is Because You Are Who You Are’ 

Democratic nominee Joe Biden blamed President Trump for the COVID-19 death toll Tuesday night, arguing that more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are dead because the president failed to take the virus seriously. Biden drew attention to comments Trump made privately to veteran journalist Bob Woodward in February, only recently published, that he knew the coronavirus was “more deadly” than the flu, even though he said otherwise in public. (Hellmann, 9/29)

The Biggest Falsehoods And Exaggerations In The First Trump-Biden Showdown 

Trump defended his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic by claiming a Covid-19 vaccine was only weeks away from being available. But several of his own health experts have cast doubt on that timeline. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a vaccine could be ready by next month, but it wouldn’t likely be available to the majority of Americans until the summer or fall of next year. Trump himself previously claimed a vaccine wouldn’t be available to “every American” until at least April — and that’s on an optimistic timeline. (Forgey and Choi, 9/30)

NBC News:
Fact-Check: Trump Says GOP Health Plans Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Trump claimed: “Obamacare is no good. We made it better. And I had a choice to make very early on. We took away the individual mandate. We guarantee pre-existing conditions.” It’s true that Republicans eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — a provision designed to force people to purchase health care coverage or pay fines through their taxes — as part of their 2017 tax bill. But Trump is wrong about pre-existing conditions. We’ve fact-checked this at length before, and it’s still false. (Timm and Kapur, 9/30)

USA Today:
Presidential Debate: Trump, Biden Clash On Masks, Rallies

Asked why he continues to hold large rallies against the advice of his own health experts, Trump responded: “Because people want to hear what I have to say.” He claimed that his rallies have had no negative effect on Americans, explaining “so far, we have had no problem whatsoever.”  (Hayes, 9/29)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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