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Monday, May 1, 2017

President Trump: Your Health Care Bill Harms People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Update (05/01/2017 4 p.m.): President Trump told Bloomberg News today that the final version of the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act will be modified to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

There was a lot that President Trump got wrong in his interview yesterday about the new version of the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But his biggest mistake was insisting that the updated GOP bill, called the American Health Care Act, protects people with pre-existing conditions. 

As we reported last week, the bill with its newest amendment guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions: It allows insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums and would effectively put all sick people at risk of facing higher premiums.

Here's what President Trump said on "Face the Nation" yesterday about the new bill:

"Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I just watched another network than yours, and they were saying, 'Pre-existing is not covered.' Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, 'Has to be.'"

House Republican leaders made changes to their bill to get the support of the conservative Freedom Caucus. As Vox's Sarah Kliff put it, the bill now "caves to conservatives’ demand to deregulate the insurance industry and let health plans once again use pre-existing conditions to set premium prices."

The bill would let states use the waiver process to turn back the clock to pre-ACA days when insurers could charge sick patients higher premiums. 

In other words, the bill that Republican leaders are trying to push through the House of Representatives this week absolutely contradicts any "mandate" by President Trump to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Claims to the contrary by the president won't change that fact.