Healthcare

'This already exists': Democrats seize on potential Trump executive order on preexisting conditions

Democrats pounced on President Trump's announcement Friday that he may sign an executive order to require that health insurers cover all preexisting conditions, claiming that the president is trying to run under accomplishments from the Obama administration.

Critical lawmakers were quick to point out that such protections for preexisting conditions were already implemented under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama administration's signature health care law that Trump and Republicans are currently trying to repeal. 

"This already exists. It's called the Affordable Care Act and you are trying to overturn it," tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a progressive and vocal critic of the White House.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) called the potential executive a "toothless gimmick," and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said the announcement is proof the GOP does not care about Americans' health. 

"Reminder: trump and barr are in court *right now* trying to destroy the ACA which already protects people with preexisting conditions. For years republicans have tried to gut the ACA and weaken protections because they don't give a damn about you or your health," Pascrell tweeted. 

Some lawmakers also mocked Republicans' praise of Trump, underscoring that the executive order would not include anything that isn't already law. 

"HUUUUGE NEWS @realDonaldTrump announces Executive Order to ensure that Americans observe the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. Dubs it 'Christmas.' MAJOR!" tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). 

The rebukes followed a press conference in New Jersey in which Trump said the move mandating insurers cover all preexisting conditions "has never been done before." 

The administration is currently backing a lawsuit led by conservative states to overturn the ACA, commonly known as ObamaCare, which would take away health insurance coverage for about 20 million people. 

The backlash to Trump's announcement underscores the key role health care is expected to play in the 2020 election cycle. 

Democrats are confident they can play offense on the issue, with lawmakers constantly noting that Republicans are trying to repeal the ACA in the midst of a pandemic that has already killed more than 161,000 people in America.

Republicans have pointed to their promise to replace ObamaCare, but they have been unable to coalesce around an alternative during Trump's first term in office.

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