In a tweet on Wednesday evening, Trump ― hailing the legislation as “a great bill” ― affirmed that he would not sign it “if it did not include coverage of pre-existing conditions.”
As HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn explains, the bill, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), leaves most decisions on health insurance to states, as it converts federal money to state grants. States could dismantle key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as the requirement that people with preexisting conditions are not denied coverage. Without that requirement, insurers could charge higher insurance premiums based on patients’ medical status.
The bill, which Republicans are rushing through the Senate without hearings or an independent analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, is yet another attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare.
In an later tweet on Wednesday, Trump defended Cassidy, a physician, saying that “he doesn’t lie.” In a viral clip on Tuesday, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel said Cassidy “lied to my face” about the bill. Kimmel took more swipes at Cassidy on Wednesday.
This summer, after Kimmel’s infant son underwent surgery for a preexisting heart condition, Cassidy appeared on Kimmel’s show and pledged the Senate health care legislation would pass what he called “the Jimmy Kimmel test,” including protecting people with preexisting conditions.
But responding to Kimmel this week, Cassidy defended his bill by making misleading claims, including the assertion that it would contain protections for preexisting conditions.
Several health care experts said Kimmel was more accurate than Cassidy in explaining what’s in the bill.