TRUTH TEST: Does Trump oppose pre-existing health condition coverage?

Updated: January 16, 2020 06:22 PM

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is blanketing Super Tuesday states like Minnesota with television ads. He's focusing his ads on criticism of President Donald Trump rather than his Democratic primary opponents.

"Trump repeatedly tried to undermine coverage for 134 million Americans with pre-existing conditions," says one ad focused on Trump's health care policies. Bloomberg claims the president has repeatedly tried to eliminate coverage for "134 million" people with pre-existing coverage.


This claim is misleading. The federal government estimates a total of about 134 million Americans have some pre-existing medical conditions. The Affordable Care Act guarantees health insurance coverage to be made available, but it primarily impacts people in the "individual" health insurance market because most private employer health plans already covered pre-existing conditions. Only about 6% of Americans buy insurance through the individual market. So, to say the president is trying to "undermine coverage" for 134 million Americans is an overstatement.

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"He just doesn't care if you have a pre-existing condition," the ad goes on to say. "If you have a pre-existing condition, he wants to deny you access to coverage."

That claim is also an exaggeration, but there is some truth to the idea President Trump has supported legislation that would increase the cost of pre-existing condition coverage. For instance, the president supported a House Republican bill in 2017 that would have charged higher premiums to cover some people with pre-existing conditions. However, it would not have denied coverage. It also didn't become law.

The Bloomberg ad contains a mix of truthful, misleading and exaggerated claims. It gets a 'C' on the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS "Truth Test."

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Tom Hauser

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