Politico

Trump: Executive order on pre-existing conditions is 'a signal'


President Donald Trump on Monday acknowledged a prospective executive order he’s considering to make insurers cover pre-existing conditions amounted to political messaging — and that Obamacare already offered such protections.

“It’s a signal to people … it’s a second platform,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “Pre-existing conditions will be taken care of 100 percent by Republicans and the Republican party. I actually think it’s a very important statement.”

Trump had teased the executive order Friday night at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., while unveiling other executive actions to address the coronavirus crisis and economic crash.

Background: Trump and Republicans are vulnerable on the issue of pre-existing conditions after waging a lengthy legal battle to strike down Obamacare and its consumer protections without offering a replacement.

Trump’s administration has also increased the availability of cheap, skimpier health plans that don’t meet Obamacare’s coverage requirements and wouldn’t protect some patients with chronic conditions.

Meanwhile, voters rocked by the pandemic and the loss of tens of millions of jobs are increasingly supportive of strengthening the government’s safety net. Missouri last week became the sixth Republican-led state to defy GOP leaders and approve Medicaid expansion for some of its poorest adults,

What’s next: Trump could take yet more actions with Congress unable to reach a deal that could help the millions of Americans who are unemployed and facing evictions.

But Democrats are hitting Trump hard on health care in the final months of the 2020 campaign, both for his response to the pandemic and for policies like a payroll tax deferral they contend will weaken Medicare and other entitlement programs.

Trump’s tacit acknowledgment the prospective executive order was little more than messaging could intensify Democratic efforts to portray the president and GOP as not being serious about having a fallback to the 2010 health law.

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