In an interview with Face The Nation’s John Dickerson that aired Sunday, it appeared that President Donald Trump did not fully understand what was in the latest version of the Republican health care bill.
When Dickerson pushed Trump to acknowledge why there are critics of the bill, noting higher premiums for older people, Trump interrupted him to say that issue was fixed. Throughout the interview, Trump insisted that the latest version of the bill addressed all of the problems Dickerson mentioned, even though the bill has only become worse for low-income people, older people and people with pre-existing conditions.
When Dickerson asked Trump explain to how higher premiums were “fixed” under the new health care bill, he didn’t have an answer.
Finally, after being pressed several times, Trump responded, “This bill has evolved…But we have now pre-existing conditions in the bill. We have — we’ve set up a pool for the pre-existing conditions so that the premiums can be allowed to fall. We’re talking across all of the borders or the lines so that insurance companies can compete.”
When Dickerson pointed out there wasn’t any mention of purchasing insurance across state lines in the current legislation, Trump said, “Of course, it’s in.”
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) April 30, 2017
It isn’t clear what Trump means when he claims that “pre-existing conditions” are in the bill. In fact, Republicans gutted protections for people with pre-existing conditions last week. On Tuesday, Republican leaders proposed an amendment to the latest version of the legislation that would raise premiums by thousands of dollars for people with pre-existing conditions and thus make health care unaffordable for many Americans.
That’s why it was so puzzling that Trump insisted pre-existing conditions were covered “beautifully.”
Journalists and health care experts, such as Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, all pointed out that the president doesn’t seem to be familiar with his party’s current plan or how it functions.
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) April 30, 2017
striking: in Dickerson's Trump interview, the president really cannot describe the difference between the versions of the hc bill.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) April 30, 2017
AHCA 3.0 ends ACA guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions won't be charged more money. https://t.co/YJkmcEeqaG
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) April 30, 2017
Trump quickly tried to pivot away from taking about the GOP-sponsored legislation and back to the current health law. “I’ll tell you who doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Obamacare. You know why? It’s dead,” Trump said.
When Dickerson continued to push Trump to acknowledge the MacArthur Amendment, which essentially eliminates coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, Trump said, “It’s not going to be here.”
Despite Trump’s insistence that he wasn’t interested in a deadline for the bill, the White House pushed for a vote on the health care bill last week to secure a legislative victory for the president in his first 100 days. But with the latest changes to protections for people with pre-existing conditions, there was enough opposition from moderate Republicans for GOP leaders to say they were not confident they had the votes to pass it.