Reno Family Responds to Heller Lying in Debate on Pre-Existing Conditions: Senator Heller Lied to Us Last Year, and He Lied to Us Again in the Debate

“The truth is that he doesn’t have our son’s back because he keeps supporting health care plans that gut the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing conditions”

When given an opportunity to ask Sen. Dean Heller a question of her own during Friday night’s U.S. Senate debate, Congresswoman Jacky Rosen spoke on behalf of Reno parents Theresa Bohannan and Briant Gibb, whose son Dean was born with a heart defect and will have a pre-existing medical condition for the rest of his life.

Jacky challenged Heller to tell the truth about why he broke his promise and supported slashing pre-existing conditions protections after he met with Theresa and Briant last year and told them that he would preserve critical protections for their son. Instead of giving Theresa and Briant an honest answer, Heller struggled to answer the question, repeating lies that have already been repeatedly debunked. Heller referenced his “replacement bill” that slashes protections for pre-existing conditions, tried to distract from his silence on a Trump-backed lawsuit that specifically seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing conditions protections, and touted his sham health care bill that has been criticized by both patient groups and health care policy experts.

Theresa Bohannan released the following statement in response to Sen. Dean Heller’s dishonest response on pre-existing conditions in Friday night’s U.S. Senate debate:

“Senator Heller lied to us last year, and he lied to us again in the debate. The truth is that he doesn’t have our son’s back because he keeps supporting health care plans that gut the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing conditions. Nevada families like ours saw a clear contrast in the race for U.S. Senate between Jacky Rosen, a candidate who will fight for the health of our kids, and a self-serving politician whose word is worth nothing.”


ROSEN: “I actually have a question from a family in Reno. There’s a woman there, her name’s Theresa Bohannan, she has a son, his name happens to be Dean. He was born with a congenital heart defect. He’s going to have a pre-existing condition his whole life. He’s going to need surgeries and care. And you met them last year and you looked them in the eye and you promised them that you would protect their health care, and that you would protect their protections for pre-existing conditions. And then you went back to Washington and you broke your promise. You caved. So I want to tell you, look in the camera, they’re watching tonight and what they want me to ask you is this: to look them in the eye, and to tell them the truth - really tell them the truth - about why you broke your promise and why you support slashing protections for pre-existing conditions. Why you want to hurt their son Dean.”

HELLER: “First of all, Dean knows I have his back. Dean knows I have his back. The governor will tell you, and the governor will tell you what you said is false. You can say it 10 times, you can say it a hundred times, you can say it a thousand times. It’s just not true. I wrote the replacement bill for the Republican Party. I know exactly what’s in that bill. And what’s in that bill includes pre-existing conditions. So I told…”

ROSEN: “Please tell the truth. Look them in the eye and tell them the truth.”

HELLER: “Also, regardless of what happens in the Texas case, and it’s up for debate, I have signed legislation, authored legislation, which she rarely does, that would ensure that regardless of what happens in that case in Texas, pre-existing conditions do exist. I have two grandchildren with pre-existing conditions. I think it’s ridiculous, Congresswoman, that you think that I wouldn’t be there for the health and safety of my own grandchildren.”

ROSEN: “I can tell you that I led a resolution in the House to join on to that Texas lawsuit to be sure that we protect the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and the pre-existing conditions. And if Senator Heller and his Republican colleagues get their way, they’re going to take those away from you. Those junk plans are just a sham. He knows it, everyone else knows it. And if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. And every single one of us, Senator Heller, is one diagnosis away from a pre-existing condition. And we need to protect our health.”