Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images & Alex Wong/Getty Images

Midterms 2018

Democrats Peddle ‘False Narrative’ on Republican Health Care Views, Says Tillis

North Carolina lawmaker predicts GOP will keep Senate majority in 2018 midterms; Durbin claims it 'can't win' on issues

Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) came out swinging Sunday on how health care, entitlement spending, and the economy will influence voters in the final two weeks before the 2018 midterms, during separate interviews on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“It’s a false narrative to say that Republicans want to remove pre-existing condition [protections],” Tillis told host Chuck Todd.

He added that he filed a bill with multiple co-sponsors that provided a contingency plan to allow the pre-existing conditions clause to stand, should the Affordable Care Act be nullified in a lawsuit.

Tillis (shown above left) said he also believes young adults under age 26 should continue to be allowed to remain on their parents’ health care plan, as was provided for under then-President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy program.

“It is a false narrative to say that Republicans want to kill that. It’s simply not true,” Tillis said, referring to the age 26 cutoff. Democrats have been claiming throughout the 2018 campaign that Republicans advocate ending benefits such as pre-existing conditions and up to age-26 coverage.

Related: Trump’s October Surprise for Democrats Is New ‘Middle-Class Tax Cut’

Durbin (above right), almost as if on cue, told Todd exactly what Tillis warned that many Democrats falsely claim with respect to Republican legislators’ stance on key, health care-related issues.

“They are going to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Those are fightin’ words for a lot of people, not just Democrats, but independents as well,” said Durbin. “They want protection for their families. They know the Republicans have voted consistently to take away that protection and file lawsuits to end it.” Durbin added.

“The American people put [the issue of insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions] as a highest priority,” Durbin continued. “Pre-existing conditions, making sure that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are strong for years to come — that’s a good basis to get a lot of people elected to Congress.”

Tillis and Durbin also diverged on the primary issues driving the electorate’s voting decisions this year.

Whereas Tillis said he believed the midterm election will hinge on the economic security and economic growth — issues he says his party has delivered on — Durbin contended health care and entitlement spending will be top of mind as voters make their way to polling stations.

“Most voters vote their pocketbook,” said Tillis, who is vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“I think you go back to the age-old question in elections. Do you feel better about your economic circumstances today than you did two years ago? And I think the answer to that question is ‘Absolutely yes.’”

“I think you go back to the age-old question in elections. Do you feel better about your economic circumstances today than you did two years ago? And I think the answer to that question is ‘Absolutely yes,’” he said.

Durbin cited issues such as prescription drug costs, retirement savings, and the affordability and availability of health insurance as mattering more to voters than “political squabbles,” including the tiff over the suitability of Nancy Pelosi as speaker should Democrats take the House.

Tillis said Democrats are avoiding the reality that federal entitlement spending is headed for a serious crisis that will jeopardize benefits under Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“What the Democrats are not mentioning are widely publicized reports that say if we stay on the current trajectory, we’re going to have a crisis in funding in those programs,” Tillis said.

“Nobody wants to take away Medicare or Social Security or Medicaid from people who need it. But we have to have a sustainable solution, and we need 60 votes to get that done,” he said.

“We’ve got to get the American people to recognize that we have a powder keg of dynamite in a debt that’s continuing to grow. We’ve got to balance our books. We’ve got to be on a budget just like the America people are.”

“I fully expect that we’re going to add to our numbers in the Senate for the Republicans,” said Tillis.

Durbin claimed Republican advertising campaigns targeting Democrat leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) do so because they “can’t win” on issues of importance to the electorate, so “they get personal.”

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.