Trump to Require Health Insurance Companies to Cover Preexisting Conditions

August 8, 2020 Updated: August 8, 2020

President Donald Trump said that he is intending to pursue an executive order to require health insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions.

“Over the next two weeks I’ll be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions for all customers,” Trump said at a news conference at his golf property in Bedminster, New Jersey. “That’s a big thing. I’ve always been very in strongly in favor—we have to cover preexisting conditions.”

“This has never been done before but it’s time that people of our country are properly represented and properly taken care of.”

The president provided no further details about his plan, including whether or how his executive order may be different from that which was required under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Under the law, passed under former President Barack Obama’s administration, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover people or charge people more just because they have preexisting conditions. It is one of the most popular aspects of the law. However, the rule does not apply to “grandfathered” individual health insurance policies, which refer to those that were purchased on or before March 23, 2010.

The Trump administration in June asked the Supreme Court to terminate Obamacare. A day later, he criticized Obamacare in a Twitter post, saying that the “deductible is far too high and the overall cost is ridiculous.”

A sign on an insurance store
A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in San Ysidro, San Diego, Calif., on Oct. 26, 2017. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The request to the Supreme Court came after two federal courts ruled that Obamacare’s individual mandate—an unpopular part of the healthcare law requiring people who didn’t have health insurance to pay a fine—had violated the U.S. Constitution. The Trump administration argued that the mandate is not separate from the rest of Obamacare.

The Trump administration and Republicans have taken steps to weaken Obamacare in an effort to ultimately repeal and replace the entire law with more lower-cost options. They say Obamacare represented government overreach and increased the cost of health care.

“Obamacare is a disaster, but we’ve run it very well,” Trump told reporters at the White House in May. “And we’ve made it barely acceptable. It was a disaster under President Obama, and it’s very bad healthcare. What we want to do is terminate it and give great healthcare. And we’ll have great healthcare, including preexisting conditions—100 percent preexisting conditions.”

Just days after Trump requested the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would expand the law. The Trump administration opposed the move.

Janita Kan contributed to this report.

Follow Mimi on Twitter: @MimiNguyenLy