Fact check: Trump's claim that he 'saved' preexisting conditions is 'part fantasy,' 'part delusion' and 'all lie'

Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Political News

President Donald Trump attempted to take credit for one of the most popular elements of the Affordable Care Act: Its protection for people who have preexisting medical conditions.

"I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your healthcare," Trump tweeted Monday.

The protection for people with medical problems has been a rallying cry for Democrats, and they used the issue to help propel their widespread election victories in 2018.

Trump repeatedly has sought to align himself with this issue -- in May, for instance, claiming he would "always protect patients with preexisting conditions." We rated that claim False. His reelection campaign has made similar claims, which experts debunked.

Trump's recent claim that he "saved" that guarantee of coverage adds a new twist, though. We contacted the White House to find out the basis for this statement.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told us, "President Trump has repeatedly stated his commitment to protect individuals with preexisting conditions and his track record shows that he has consistently done what is necessary to improve care for the vulnerable." Deere also pointed us to a range of other policy initiatives -- such as efforts on kidney health, approving generic drugs and loosening restrictions on short-term health plans.


But none of those addressed the basis of Trump's tweet.

The health policy experts we consulted, however, were unambiguous: The president's claim has no factual basis and flies in the face of his ongoing policy efforts.

"I feel like we're being gas-lit," said Linda Blumberg, a health economist at the Urban Institute. "You can't tell me you're the savior of people with preexisting conditions when every single thing you've said or done is the opposite of that." (Gaslighting means manipulating the telling of events in such a way it leads people to question their recollections.)

This skepticism persisted across the political spectrum.


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