While the left has demagogued on Obamacare to instill fear in the American people, President Trump has never wavered on his highest priority for our healthcare: protecting the coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Let’s be clear, President Trump is not going after coverage for pre-existing conditions — period.
The entire notion that Donald Trump would ever take away protections for Americans with preexisting conditions has always been a base and baseless lie. It was a lie when Hillary Clinton’s team invented it in 2016, it’s been a lie every time it’s been repeated by the president’s critics during his time in office, and it’s still a lie now.
In dozens of public statements dating back to the 2016 campaign, President Trump has always been consistent and unequivocal on this issue. He wants to repeal the unconstitutional (Un)Affordable Care Act, but he has always adamantly insisted that whatever replaces the law must mandate coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. He’s said so in tweets. He’s said so at public events. He’s said so in press conferences. No matter how times have changed, his priorities never have.
Whenever legislation has been proposed with the potential to actually reform the healthcare system, President Trump has supported it only if pre-existing conditions are covered, as he did when House Republicans proposed an “American Health Care Act” (AHCA). He did so later, with the “Graham-Cassidy” bill in the Senate.
It’s undeniably true that repealing Obamacare’s onerous, unconstitutional individual mandate, ending its faulty exchanges, and stopping its outrageous hikes in insurance premiums have all been priorities for Donald Trump since he entered politics. It’s also true, however, that the president has consistently refused to support any repeal measure that does not maintain coverage for pre-existing conditions.
So what is fueling the demonstrably false narrative that President Trump is coming for your pre-existing condition coverage?
The fantasy is entirely based on a lawsuit, Texas v. Azar, that 20 state attorneys general filed in September 2018 seeking to overturn Obamacare. Their arguments are simple, and have nothing to do with pre-existing conditions: they contend that Obamacare is unconstitutional in its entirety. Their case has merit. The lawsuit has made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and could very well result in the whole law being invalidated.
The lawsuit is a blunt instrument, but it’s the only tool available after Congress failed to deliver much-needed healthcare reform.
President Trump has directed his Justice Department not to defend the unconstitutional law, but he has also pointed out that Democrats created the current situation because they failed to make pre-existing condition coverage severable from the unconstitutional elements of Obamacare. Rather than accepting an egregious affront to the Constitution simply to save a few popular elements of the otherwise disastrous law, the Justice Department is focusing on the legal aspects of the issue and leaving it to Congress to deal with the political implications — elements of the law that have broad bipartisan support, after all, should be easy to reinstitute.
As the lawsuit has moved forward, President Trump has consistently acted to make sure that no one with pre-existing conditions loses coverage or experiences a sudden premium increase. To that end, his administration has continued enforcing Obamacare — actually managing it better than Obama himself — even after an appeals court struck it down. The president has also personally reaffirmed that the lawsuit has done nothing to shake his support for covering pre-existing conditions.
So what do Democrats mean when they say the lawsuit threatens protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions?
What they’re really saying is that they themselves will refuse to work with the White House and congressional Republicans to fix the problem. There have been myriad opportunities over the past three years to pass legislation that would guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions regardless of the outcome in Texas v. Azar. Indeed, the opportunity still exists. It could be a “skinny” bill or a grand health care compromise. In any event, the president’s door has always been open, and will always remain so in case Democrats ever decide that they want to help protect vulnerable Americans.
Because, unlike Obama, Donald Trump knows that being the Healthcare President isn’t about putting your name on a bill, then doing nothing but talk it up as people with pre-existing conditions lose their doctors and their insurance plans. Instead, it’s about taking action with smarts and heart to protect people with pre-existing conditions — and there’s no doubt Donald Trump gets it done.
President Trump is determined to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. The only question is whether Democrats will let partisanship stop them from doing what’s right for the American people.