Fact Check: No CNN, Trump Does Not Want to Cancel Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

Abby Phillip and Trump (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)
Evan Vucci / Associated Press

CLAIM: President Donald Trump wants to cancel health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

VERDICT: False. Trump supports repealing Obamacare but has always backed coverage for pre-existing conditions.

CNN moderator Abby Phillip stated several false or contested claims as facts at the Democrat debate on Tuesday night. One was the claim that President Trump wants to end health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, simply because the president also supports a court challenge to Obamacare. In fact, while repealing the individual mandate of Obamacare, and backing a full “repeal and replace,” Trump has always insisted on covering people with pre-existing health conditions.

In his first address to Congress in 2017, Trump declared that his “first” principle in repealing and replacing Obamacare would be that “we should ensure that Americans with preexisting conditions have access to coverage.” Later that year, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a Trump-backed bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which included additional spending to protect Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

In 2019, Trump again promised in the State of the Union address “to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” And he repeated that promise again earlier this month in a speech in Toledo, Ohio. The president backs a court challenge to the existing Obamacare system because he believes it will create political momentum for a better Republican alternative.

Some Republicans have also introduced legislation to protect pre-existing conditions in the event that the courts throw out Obamacare — which many conservatives believe was unconstitutional on the day it was signed into law. Given support from his party for extending such coverage, and his own promises, there is no way Abby Phillip’s contention can be stated as fact.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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