It’s the last week of Crooked Cramer’s Chronicles! We’re choosing to spotlight three important issues in North Dakota where Kevin Cramer chose to put himself and his political ambitions above the interests of North Dakota: Social Security and Medicare, health care, and trade.

“EVERYTHING [IS] ON THE TABLE” FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE CUTS. Cramer finally told the truth when he admitted that “everything [is] on the table” when it comes to making changes to Social Security. But after admitting his true intentions, Cramer began backpedaling once again, stating that he doesn’t want to “cut benefits for people currently receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits or for anyone over the age of 55.” Of course, he makes no mention of those North Dakotans who have paid into the program for decades but are 54 years old or younger. Cramer has consistently tried papering over his objective of cutting Social Security and Medicare, earning him the moniker: “one of the best fudge masters in Washington, D.C.

LISTEN to Marlene, a retired RN from West Fargo who is “very concerned” about Cramer’s rhetoric on Social Security and Medicare and read below:

Marlene: “I really want these programs protected. We’ve paid into these for decades and we want to have them for our generation, but also for future generations.”

“It makes me very nervous because our Congressman Cramer said he was encouraged to hear Mitch McConnell talk about that – and cutting Social Security and Medicare is going to affect at least one-seventh of North Dakota’s population.”

“I see workers who are doing physical labor… construction workers. If the age goes 70 or older, they aren’t able to continue their work to that age, they just aren’t physically capable. And that’s true of nurses, too. Nursing is a very physical occupation and that’s where I was, I am a nurse. For people to continue taking care of others, say in a hospital situation, when they’re 70 years old, is pretty devastating.” 

CRAMER’S REAL HEALTH CARE RECORD. Affordable access to health care has become one of the defining issues of this campaign and, in every respect, Kevin Cramer is on the wrong side of North Dakotans. For 53 percent of North Dakotans, Cramer’s vote to repeal the current health care law and undermine protections for folks with pre-existing conditions is a “major concern.” It’s no wonder he’s spent the last year running away from his dangerous health care record. While he tries to make North Dakotans forget, here’s his real record:

❌Cramer voted to repeal the current health care law FIVE times without a replacement.

❌ Cramer voted for the AHCA and supports Graham-Cassidy and bills like ‘skinny repeal,’ all of which could:

  • Eliminate federal funding for Medicaid expansion, which has enabled 18,000 North Dakotans to obtain coverage
  • Allow insurance companies to charge more for pre-existing conditions coverage
  • Allow states to define essential health benefits to not include health conditions like asthma, cancer, or depression
  • Implement an ‘Age Tax’ on older North Dakotans ages 50-64

❌ Cramer supports the ill-advised partisan lawsuit that would strike down patient protections in the current law, including eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions.

❌Cramer is so afraid of North Dakotans learning the truth about his health care record that his campaign threatened constituents with physical removal when they tried to attend a ‘Set the Record Straight’ press conference on his health care record.

❌ Because it’s an election year, Cramer is lying about his health care record, trying to convince North Dakotans that he’ll protect their care, but here’s the truth: his record is downright dangerous and North Dakotans will hold him accountable.

His health care lies have earned him multiple fact checks, including a “FALSE” from Politifact just this week:

  • Have pre-existing conditions been protected in North Dakota for decades? No. “To suggest there was a complete protection of pre-existing conditions under state or federal law is just not accurate,” said Kevin Lucia, project director at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.
  • Prior to the ACA, private insurers in the individual market in North Dakota could turn people down because of a pre-existing condition, or exclude coverage for their pre-existing condition.
  • First, people who are not HIPAA-eligible have to wait six months before coverage begins for their pre-existing conditions, or nine months if they are pregnant. For a cancer patient, that can be six months too many. HIPAA eligibility is conferred by 18 months of qualifying previous coverage and less than a 63-day gap in coverage.
  • Second, the policies cap out at $1 million. “An individual with a serious pre-existing condition could hit that cap pretty quickly and then have no source of coverage after that,” said Wendy Netter Epstein, a law professor at DePaul University.
  • Third, premiums can be up to 35 percent more expensive than standard rates. In the individual market in the ACA, there are no lifetime caps and the standard rate is the rate, according to Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation. While rates have been on the rise, the ACA offers sliding scale subsidies for people earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. 87 percent of marketplace enrollees received subsidies in North Dakota this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • [P]rivate insurers in North Dakota could turn down people in the individual market because of a pre-existing condition prior to the ACA. A 1982 state law provided an alternative, but it was not nearly as strong a guarantee of protection for pre-existing conditions as those provided by the ACA.

Reminder: Cramer was previously caught lying by the Washington Post on another false health care claim.

CRAMER “CAN’T RUN FROM… PAST ACTIONS AGAINST PROTECTIONS FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS.” Cramer can spout election-year spin all he wants but, as Tyler Axness explains, “[s]ix years of action speaks louder than eight months of political speak.” Here are the facts: Cramer’s votes to repeal the current health care law without a replacement and his support for the ill-advised lawsuit that would strike down the current law would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions. It’s that simple.

TONE-DEAF ON TRADE. Since the day China first announced retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods, including soybeans, Cramer has been a loyal lapdog for the administration, putting his political self-interests above North Dakota. What’s worse, he’s bullied anyone and everyone who disagrees with him. See for yourself:

  • Cramer accused farmers of being hysterical over the trade war and told them they “don’t have a very high pain threshold.”
  • Cramer created a self-imposed deadline of September for when he’d become “concerned” enough to stand with North Dakota against the administration’s reckless trade war. It’s been more than 63 days and Cramer has yet to take meaningful action.
  • Cramer’s actions and rhetoric “almost derailed” grain grading trade negotiations with Canada.
  • Cramer called Heidi an “enemy of our own country” when she took farmers to visit the Mexican Embassy to discuss trade.

BOTTOM LINE: At every turn, Kevin Cramer will always put himself and his interests, whether they be political or financial, above North Dakota.