Vice President Mike Pence said during a Tuesday interview that the president is considering executive action, if necessary, to protect Americans with pre-existing health conditions.
As Democrats consider all the ways a conservative-anchored Supreme Court could affect different laws that were enacted under their own party control of the Executive and Legislative branches, the fate of Obamacare weighs heavy in their minds. Shortly after Election Day, the Supreme Court is set to rule on the constitutionality of certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including the much bemoaned individual mandate.
On Tuesday, CBS' Norah O'Donnell asked the vice president whether he believed that Obamacare should be in such jeopardy when so many Americans are concerned about not being able to get health coverage for their pre-existing medical conditions.
Pence answered in the affirmative, saying that the core of Obamacare, the individual mandate, violated the constitutional rights of all Americans.
"Do you want a justice who will help strike down the Affordable Care Act?" O'Donnell asked straight out.
"We've long believed that the individual mandate at the center of Obamacare was unconstitutional," the vice president answered. That mandate, which legally requires all Americans to have at least a basic level of pricey health care coverage, has been blamed for hiking up the cost of premiums across the board. The tax penalty for refusing coverage has already been repealed for being unconstitutional.
"But make no mistake about it," Pence continued, "the president's also been very clear we're going to make sure that any American with a pre-existing condition will continue to have coverage. The president is going to take action in the weeks ahead to make sure of that."
NEW: @VP Mike Pence tells @NorahODonnell that “in the days ahead” Pres. Trump could use “executive branch authority” to take action on health care “to make it clear to every American that those that are facing preexisting conditions…will not be denied coverage.” pic.twitter.com/n2zF2yxEQ0— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 22, 2020
O'Donnell further pressed Pence on why if he and the president were so concerned with substituting Obamacare with a better health plan for America of their own had they not yet done so.
Pence calmly reminded O'Donnell that the administration got very close to achieving just that. However, the majority vote was thwarted by Sen. John McCain before he passed away.
The vice president said that now, as there could be a very real possibility of striking down the costly requirements of the ACA, Trump is making it a priority to protect the coverage of pre-existing conditions that Democrats continuously claim is at stake if Obamacare is repealed.
"The president’s going to take action in the weeks ahead to ensure that, and we’re going to continue to take our case to Capitol Hill to pass a new health care reform bill that will lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government."
Trump told reporters last week that he would force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions by signing an executive order.