It impressed McEnany that the leader of the free world, whom she said she’d met only on a few occasions, would care enough to do that. “I know him well now,” she said, “and I can tell you that this president loves the American people, stands by Americans with preexisting conditions and supports working moms.”
She must mean “stands by” in the physical sense, as in he’s often surrounded by people with preexisting conditions. They are quite common, after all; according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than a quarter of U.S. adults younger than 65 have the kind of condition that, before the Affordable Care Act, would have made them “uninsurable.”
That’s because Trump’s actions, and those of his administration, certainly haven’t supported people like McEnany.
Americans with preexisting health conditions are protected against insurance company discrimination by a handful of federal laws that bar insurers from denying them coverage, limiting their benefits or charging them higher premiums. For people not covered by a group insurance plan, that protection comes from the Affordable Care Act — which Trump sought from his first day in office to wipe off the books or, failing that, to undermine to the point of uselessness.
Instead, Trump has backed a series of alternatives that would give insurers more ability to avoid covering expensive conditions. These include allowing business groups and trade associations to offer health plans that exclude some of the ACA’s essential benefits — presumably, the costliest ones — and letting insurers sell less expensive “short-term” plans that cover a limited set of conditions and flatly refuse to pay for treatments related to preexisting conditions. Such plans are often called “junk” insurance, and not for nothing.