Trump says he 'saved' protections for pre-existing healthcare conditions — but he's actually tried shredding them for 3 years

jzeballos@businessinsider.com (Joseph Zeballos-Roig)
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)

Associated Press

  • President Trump said in a pair of Monday morning tweets that he "saved" insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions on behalf of Americans, a claim that was misleading at best.
  • Trump first tried scrapping Obamacare in Congress back in 2017. When that failed, his administration turned to the courts and backed a GOP lawsuit that would eliminate the entire law.
  • If the lawsuit succeeds, over 20 million people could lose their health coverage.
  • Protections banning health insurers from rejecting coverage for people based on their medical history are among the most popular parts of the law.
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President Trump sought to place himself as the guardian of a popular part of Obamacare in a series of Monday morning tweets, saying he protected insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions on behalf of millions of Americans.

But that doesn't align with his administration's record on healthcare.

Trump first blasted Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg for running an ad assailing his handling of healthcare, then said he "saved pre-existing conditions."

"I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare, you have it now, while at the same time winning the fight to rid you of the expensive, unfair and very unpopular Individual Mandate.....," he said, referring to the provision compelling Americans to carry health insurance which was scrapped in 2017.

Trump went on in a second tweet: "and, if Republicans win in court and take back the House of Represenatives, your healthcare, that I have now brought to the best place in many years, will become the best ever, by far. I will always protect your Pre-Existing Conditions, the Dems will not!"

Protections that ban health insurers from rejecting coverage for people based on their medical history are among the most popular parts of the law, according to polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The president's remarks were misleading at best, deceptive at worst, given his administration has tried shredding the law for the past three years.

After assuming office in Jan. 2017, Trump made dismantling the Affordable Care Act his chief legislative goal. It led to an unpopular "skinny repeal" bill in Congress that failed to acquire enough Senate votes to become law. The legislation would have substantially loosened those protections.

When that door closed, the Trump administration backed a Republican lawsuit in federal court last year that would throw out all of Obamacare if it succeeds.

Though Republicans have scored court victories, the high-stakes legal battle still hasn't resolved Obamacare's fate, and it's likely to drag on for many months to come. It could end up before the Supreme Court.

On Friday, Trump's lawyers filed a brief arguing there is no "present, real-world emergency" compelling the high-court to take up the case immediately after a group of Democratic lawmakers urged it to issue a final ruling before the election in November.

If the GOP-led lawsuit succeeds, an estimate from the Urban Institute found 20 million people could lose their health insurance as a result of eliminating the law's significant coverage expansions and protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

Bloomberg fired back in a follow-up tweet on Monday.

"I know management isn't your strong suit, so perhaps you don't know your Justice Department supports a suit that would undermine protections for pre-existing conditions," he said. "Now that you know, why not ask them to drop the suit?"

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