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Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg March 9, 2016

Pro-Ted Cruz PAC wrongly says Donald Trump wants government-run health care

In the days leading up to the South Carolina Republican primary, Palmetto State voters who tuned in to the game show Jeopardy or the evening news had a good chance of seeing an anti-Trump ad called "Trumpcare."

It comes from Keep the Promise I, a political action committee that backs Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The ad, and others like it, weren’t enough to thwart Donald Trump, who took the state by a hefty 10-point margin. (Thanks to the Political TV Ad Archive, anyone can dip into the archive’s database to learn where and when it and dozens of other ads have run.)

This ad makes the case that Trump supports a government-run health care program in which Washington pays for everybody. The last half is an edited version of an interview Trump did on CBS News’ 60 Minutes with Scott Pelley in September last year. Here’s the full text:

Voiceover: "First there was Hillarycare."

Clinton video clip: "We have to get to universal health care."

Voiceover: "Then there was Obamacare."

Obama video clip: "Moves us in the direction of universal health care coverage in this country."

Voiceover: "We can't afford TrumpCare."

Trump: "Everybody's got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say."

Pelley: "Universal health care?"

Trump: "I am going to take care of everybody."

Pelley: "Who pays for it?"

Trump: "The government's gonna pay for it."

Voiceover: "Donald, don't you know Hillarycare, Obamacare and Trumpcare are all government-run health care?"

We compared the ad’s version of the 60 Minutes interview to the actual transcript and it’s clear that some artful editing took place. Here’s the complete segment on health care between Trump and Pelley on 60 Minutes. We bolded the words the ad kept in.

Trump: "Obamacare's going to be repealed and replaced. Obamacare is a disaster if you look at what's going on with premiums where they're up 45, 50, 55 percent."

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Pelley: "How do you fix it?"

Trump: "There's many different ways, by the way. Everybody's got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can't afford private.’ But--"

Pelley: "Universal health care?"

Trump: "I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now."

Pelley: "The uninsured person is going to be taken care of how?"

Trump: "They're going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably--"

Pelley: "Make a deal? Who pays for it?"

Trump: "--the government's gonna pay for it. But we're going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it's going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything."

So now we can see what the ad left out.

It left out Trump saying that he was talking about people of limited means, the lower 25 percent, who can't afford private insurance. It left out Trump saying that for the most part, he sees people picking the deal they like from competing private plans.

By omitting those key phrases, the ad delivers the message that Trump backs government-sponsored health care for everyone.

That said, Trump did lay out the goal of making sure that everyone got health care.  But using his rough percentages, the country would get there with about three-quarters of the public taking care of themselves. Given that one of the details of his health care proposal is to eliminate government regulations that prevent insurance companies from selling policies across state lines, to some degree, Trump advocates a smaller role for government, not a larger one.

We reached out to the coordinator of the PAC that produced the ad and did not hear back.

Lastly, as we've said many times, Obamacare is not government-run health care.

Our ruling

A pro-Cruz PAC, Keep the Promise I, ran an ad that appeared to have Trump saying he wanted the government to pay for everyone’s health care. That ad relied on very selective editing of an interview Trump had on CBS News.

The edits left out very important words. Trump said most people would buy their insurance privately and that the government would help those of limited means, which he roughly described as the lower 25 percent.

The ad omitted key details that would have conveyed a very different meaning. We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Keep the Promise I PAC, Trumpcare, Jan. 26, 2016

Political TV Ad Archive, Trumpcare, Feb. 17, 2016

CBS News, 60 Minutes, Sept. 27, 2015


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Pro-Ted Cruz PAC wrongly says Donald Trump wants government-run health care

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