By Mike Kreidler, Washington State Insurance Commissioner
Over the last few days President Trump has engaged in one of his most arrogant lies, an insidious fabrication that threatens the health care of millions of Americans.
The lie in a recent tweet is that he “saved” consumers who have pre-existing medical conditions.
Here’s the ugly truth: He and his administration have been undermining the Affordable Care Act (ACA) since they took office.
These actions include working to eliminate the protection that prohibits an insurance company from denying you coverage for a disease such as cancer, asthma or a host of other life-threatening illnesses.
The ACA — which President Obama proposed and Congress passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote — guarantees that you cannot be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. It’s the most important of many protections in the law.
Citizen Trump had absolutely nothing to do with the law. But President Trump has done what he can to weaken it by:
- Supporting a federal lawsuit to declare the ACA and its pre-existing condition protections unconstitutional
• Ending the mandate for individuals to have health coverage (a Republican idea incorporated into the ACA)
• Reducing subsidies that allow those with lower incomes to afford an ACA policy
• Expanding the use of short-term medical plans that offer no protection for those with pre-existing medical conditions
• Leading the charge in 2018 to repeal the ACA with no viable replacement, a move that would have eliminated all current protections and resulted in at least 16 million more Americans losing coverage
A federal judge has indeed ruled against the ACA, a decision that President Trump crows wildly about as a victory for consumers. If allowed to stand, the ruling would devastate families, the health insurance market and literally cost lives. It would hit women especially hard.
But now that 21 states — including Washington — have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an expedited hearing on the case, President Trump wants to slow things down. Why? He faces re-election. The last thing he wants is widespread exposure of his lie about protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
If President Trump truly believes the ACA is the destructive force he claims, he should advocate for the court to take up the case as quickly as possible. We’re waiting for his tweets.
Instead, the administration just last week urged the court to hold off until after the next election.
The last thing President Trump wants is a speedy review to draw intense scrutiny and enable more Americans to learn the truth that he is doing everything he can to eliminate your protection for pre-existing conditions — and more. And he doesn’t care what happens afterward.
He’s had over three years to offer a viable plan to improve healthcare coverage that includes the protection for pre-existing conditions. We’ve heard and read nothing but a lot of bluster.
The old adage remains true: Actions speak louder than words.