Don’t Let Trump Fool You Into Thinking He’s Improving Health Care

The president says he saved pre-existing conditions. He’s lying.

Alex Edelman/CNP/Zuma

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President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday morning with a brazenly false claim about his health care policy.

Let’s break this down. First, Trump was not “the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare.” All health plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace are required by law, as enacted under Barack Obama, to cover treatment for preexisting conditions. A 2019 Kaiser Health News fact check found Trump’s repeated claims to protect patients with preexisting conditions false.

Instead, the Obamacare repeal bills Trump has supported, including 2017’s “skinny repeal” bill, would have gutted coverage for preexisting conditions to varying degrees. Trump has also extended the duration of short-term “junk insurance” plans that do not have to comply with the ACA’s protections for people with preexisting conditions.

And while Trump did have a hand in getting rid of the individual mandate, the end result was not to improve health care. In 2017, Congress used a tax cut law to set the financial penalty for going uninsured to $0. Because the Supreme Court upheld the ACA in 2012 on the grounds that the individual mandate counted as a tax, the $0 penalty is now at the center of a Trump-backed lawsuit that aims to strike down Obamacare in its entirety.

Last month, a federal appeals court sided with the Trump administration and ruled in Texas v. United States that the individual mandate was unconstitutional because it could no longer be considered a tax. The case was sent back down to a district court to determine whether this invalidates the rest of the ACA, but it may not be heard before the next election. Democrats are pushing for the Supreme Court to consider the case before November, which would ensure that health care becomes a central issue in the upcoming presidential election.

Thanks in large part to Trump, nationwide access to affordable health care is in jeopardy. So much for the “best ever” health care.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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