AP NEWS

HEALTH CARE

April 2, 2019

TRUMP: “We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, always.” — Michigan rally.

THE FACTS: He’s not protecting health coverage for patients with pre-existing medical conditions. In fact, the Trump administration is pressing in court for full repeal of the Affordable Care Act — including provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions from health insurance discrimination.

Trump and other Republicans say they’ll have a plan to preserve those safeguards, but the White House has provided no details. And it’s a stretch to think they could get a Republicans-only plan passed through Congress with the House under Democratic control.

President Barack Obama’s health care law requires insurers to take all applicants, regardless of medical history, and patients with health problems pay the same standard premiums as healthy ones. Bills supported in 2017 by Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the law could have pushed up costs for people with pre-existing conditions.

TRUMP: “The Republican Party will become the party of great health care. ... Republicans want you to have an affordable plan that’s just right for you.” — Michigan rally.

TRUMP: “If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out, we will have a plan that’s far better than Obamacare.” — remarks Wednesday to reporters.

THE FACTS: Republicans may aspire to great health care but they don’t have a comprehensive plan for it. And there’s no indication that the White House, executive branch agencies like Health and Human Services, and Republicans in Congress are working on one.

Trump’s recent budget called for repealing “Obamacare” and setting hard limits on federal spending for Medicaid, which covers low-income people. Some Republicans argue that would be better, because the federal government would create a new program of health care grants to states. But when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed similar proposals a couple of years ago, it estimated such changes would result in deep coverage losses, not to mention weaker insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Trump’s budget also called for hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts to hospitals and other service providers, a nonstarter with lawmakers in Congress worried about re-election next year.

The Supreme Court has upheld the health care law twice in previous challenges. The five justices who first upheld it in 2012 are still on the court.

Congressional Republicans are generally trying to steer away from Obamacare spats. Some are trying to focus on areas where they might find common ground with Democrats and the president, such as reducing prescription drug costs.