Following the release of a new ad from Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg that accuses President Trump of being a “destroyer” when it comes to health care, the president claimed in a tweet Monday that he had, in fact, strengthened the health care system, which includes preserving the protections for people with pre-existing conditions that were put into place by the Affordable Care Act.
Trump proclaimed that through his actions, health care in the U.S. has now been “brought to best place in many years,” while promising that if voters give him reelection and a Republican Congress in 2020, he will make health “the best ever, by far.” And he said that he would “always protect your Pre-Existing Conditions, the Dems will not!”
Bloomberg quickly replied, pointing out that the Trump administration is currently supporting a lawsuit that would invalidate the ACA in its entirety and thereby eliminate its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
So who’s right and who’s wrong? Here’s a roundup of comments that point to a clear verdict in Bloomberg’s favor:
- “The president is touting his health record. So we looked at what he's done. His claim to have protected people with pre-existing conditions & expanded access to care? One expert said it's ‘misleading, if not comical.’ Another called it ‘astounding.’” – Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News
- “Trump’s tweet is either a big lie, illustrates his profound confusion about health care policy, or some combination thereof.” – Aaron Rupar, Vox
- “Not only did President Trump have nothing to do with covering preexisting conditions, he and congressional Republicans tried in 2017 to pass legislation repealing the ACA that would have eroded those consumer protections.” – Jonathan Oberlander, health policy professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
- “This is brazen lying. Democrats *got* the protections for people with pre-existing conditions, in Obamacare. Trump has tried to get bills passed that would weaken the protections, is supporting a lawsuit to overturn the whole law, has presented no plan for if the suit succeeds. ... Before the Trump administration asked the courts to throw out the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, including the protections for pre-existing conditions, it specifically asked the courts to declare the protections for pre-existing conditions unconstitutional.” – Daniel Dale, CNN
- “This is a bald-faced lie. Having changed its position, the Justice Department is now actively asking the federal courts to throw out the entire ACA—including, more than a little cynically, the (entirely constitutional) requirement that insurers cover pre-existing conditions.” – Steve Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas School of Law
- “Rather than amplify a baldfaced lie just going to reiterate the truth: Republicans, including Donald Trump, have engaged in an unrelenting campaign to rip health insurance, including protections for preexisting conditions, from tens of millions of people. ... As we speak, the Trump administration is trying to convince the courts to declare the entirety of Obamacare unconstitutional, leaving nothing but chaos in its place.” – Ezra Klein, Vox
Why tell such an obvious lie? Vox’s Rupar suggests that Trump is worried that health care could be a powerful weapon for Democrats in the election this fall and is trying to muddy the waters to obscure his administration’s record, which includes rising uninsured numbers and the anti-ACA lawsuit that could eliminate health insurance for 20 million people. On Friday, the administration bolstered that theory when it asked the Supreme Court to postpone any decisions on the ACA case until after the election, thereby removing the threat that Trump could get exactly what he’s asking for – the effective repeal of Obamacare, which would include the elimination of protections for people with pre-existing conditions.