Which presidential candidate will do better at preserving protections for people with preexisting medical conditions? That might seem like a silly question to some readers, since President Trump’s administration is backing a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, including those protections. But the president has pledged to maintain those protections — he issued a toothless executive order to that effect last week — and, as Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz detail at The Upshot, Republican voters believe him.
While most voters say that Joe Biden will do better at maintaining protections for people with preexisting conditions — including 93% of Democrats and 57% of independents in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey — Republicans overwhelmingly trust Trump more on the issue (84% in the KFF poll). A Commonwealth Fund poll similarly found that 81% of Republican likely voters said Trump was more likely to protect coverage for those with preexisting conditions.
“They believe the repeated promises he makes, at campaign rallies, in Twitter messages and with executive orders — despite his support of lawsuits and legislation that would do the opposite,” Kliff and Sanger-Katz write.
The Times reporters spoke to a dozen voters who said Trump would do a better job on pre-existing conditions and found that the voters not only believed the president but also couldn’t believe that any politician would undo the protections.
“There is not a single guy or woman who would run for president that would make it so that pre-existing conditions wouldn’t be covered,” Phil Bowman, a 59-year-old retiree in North Carolina, told the Times. “Nobody would vote for him.”
The bottom line: Trump and Republican lawmakers have struggled to come up with a plan that would match the protections created under the Affordable Care Act, but Trump’s repeated promises are clearly enough to convince GOP partisans, even if other voters remain skeptical.