President Donald Trump is tweeting about how he saved the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people who have pre-existing conditions, even as he is backing a court challenge to the law that would overturn the ACA and eliminate those protections.
Political observers say the president’s tweets suggest he is recognizing the political danger posed by his support for the ACA court challenge, in an election year when Democrats are focusing on health care.
Trump has pledged to repeal the ACA and has attempted to undercut the law in a number of ways, including supporting for a 2017 House Republican bill that would have allowed for weakening protections for pre-existing conditions.
“I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare, you have it now, while at the same time winning the fight to rid you of the expensive, unfair and very unpopular Individual Mandate,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 13.
Protections for those with pre-existing conditions were included in the ACA. Republicans have attempted to weaken or repeal the law numerous times since the law was passed in 2010.
With pre-existing conditions shaping up to be a key issue in November, Trump has recently been defending his record on the issue, while drawing little to no attention to earlier attacks on the ACA.
Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Hill that the Trump administration has “affirmatively argued to overturn” the ACA’s pre-existing condition protections in the lawsuit that’s making its way through the courts.
That suit, brought by a group of Republican-led states seeking to overturn the entire health law, is supported by the Trump administration.
Levitt also pointed out that the Trump administration expanded short-term health insurance plans that are less expensive than ACA plans but do not have to cover pre-existing conditions.
Trump also touted a 2017 bill sponsored by House Republicans that would have allowed states to get waivers to allow insurers to charge much higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions.
Meanwhile, Trump’s re-election campaign has shifted from attacking the ACA to hitting progressive Democrats on “Medicare for All” that would eliminate private health insurance coverage and replace it with a government-run plan.