From the time President Donald Trump assumed his role at the White House, his administration has been outspoken about doing everything possible to repeal the Affordable Care Act — aka, "Obamacare" — which went into affect in 2010. Although the ACA isn't perfect, it did introduce a number of important protections for healthcare consumers, including a new rule involving pre-existing conditions.
Let's take a closer look at what, exactly, Obamacare did in relation to pre-existing conditions. Because President Trump's comments in August 2020 have left people scratching their heads.
Trump said he's working on an executive order for pre-existing conditions.
On Aug. 7, President Trump held a press conference in the ballroom of his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. — and that's when he dropped the news of a potential upcoming executive order.
“Over the next two weeks I’ll be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions for all customers,” the POTUS said that evening without offering any further details about the plan, according to CNBC. "That's a big thing."
Does Obamacare cover pre-existing conditions?
Yes, it does.
You can probably imagine the general public's confusion when President Trump touted he was working on an executive order that would force insurance companies to cover consumers' pre-existing conditions. That's because it's literally been a thing in the U.S. for the past 10 years. In 2010, Obamacare effectively prohibited insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
The Trump administration has repeatedly worked to repeal Obamacare.
President Trump's plans for an executive order about pre-existing conditions is interesting, considering the POTUS and his administration have continually worked to repeal Obamacare since he took office in 2017.
Even during his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to replace Obamacare — which he has criticized for its cost and coverage — with a better plan.
In summer 2017, Congress failed to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. The GOP tax cut bill toward the end of 2017, however, did away with the tax penalty portion, which required everyone to have insurance coverage or pay a penalty. This resulted in 19 states filing a lawsuit stating that the ACA was unconstitutional without the the tax penalty.
With the Trump administration backing the lawsuit, the Justice Department asked the U.S. Supreme Court to try to overturn Obamacare in June 2020. If successful, it would result in roughly 20 million people losing their health insurance coverage — and the mandate requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions would also be overruled.
Joe Biden, who leads Trump in polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, has condemned the POTUS for supporting the gutting of Obamacare — especially amid a global pandemic.
“It’s cruel, it’s heartless, it’s callous,” Biden said in June, adding it would force families to “live their lives caught in a vise between Donald Trump’s twin legacies: his failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus and his heartless crusade to take healthcare protections away.”