President Donald Trump said Friday he will be pursuing an executive order requiring health insurers to cover all pre-existing conditions, a stipulation already made by the Affordable Care Act.
"Over the next two weeks I’ll be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions for all companies," Trump said from his property in Bedminster, New Jersey. "That’s a big thing. I’ve always been very strongly in favor. We have to cover pre-existing conditions."
Trump, who did not specify a date he would sign the order, said such a mandate "has never been done before." But insurance companies are already required to cover patients with pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, which Trump has consistently attempted to dismantle during his time in office.
"Under current law, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a 'pre-existing condition,'" the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website states. "That is, a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts."
The rule applies to all health insurance plans bought after March 23, 2010.
Trump's statement comes as he seeks to overturn Obamacare, which continues to gain ground throughout the country as voters in more states approve its centerpiece Medicaid expansion.
Prior administration officials of former President Barack Obama were quick to point out the redundancy of the possible executive order.
Karine Jean-Pierre, who served as an advisor on both of Obama's presidential campaigns, and currently serves as an advisor on former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign, posted a photo of Obama signing the Affordable Care Act on Twitter.
"President Obama and Vice President Biden did it first," she wrote.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) August 8, 2020
Richard Stengel, who was under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs under Obama, clarified that pre-existing conditions are already covered under Obamacare, and pointed out that "your administration is currently arguing in the Supreme Court to strike down that law."
Just a point of information, Mr. President: Requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions is already the law, it's called the Affordable Care Act—or Obamacare. And, by the way, your administration is currently arguing in the Supreme Court to strike down that law. https://t.co/zI9h5v1UXz
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) August 8, 2020
Trump has tried to take credit for protecting pre-existing conditions before.
“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 on Twitter in January. "I will always protect your Pre-Existing Conditions, the Dems will not!"
Mini Mike Bloomberg is spending a lot of money on False Advertising. 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.....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2020
The government has reported that that almost half a million people who lost their health insurance during the economic shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus have gotten coverage through the Department of Health and Human Services' website.
Contributing: Hope Yen, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Mark Sherman, Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump pursuing executive order covering pre-existing conditions