First lady Melania Trump pitched President Donald Trump as a tireless warrior for health care at a rally on Thursday, claiming that health care for every citizen is his priority, even though his administration has worked to dismantle the Affordable Care Act since he took office.
The first lady told Florida rallygoers at her first campaign event with her husband in 2020 that “health care for every citizen remains a priority for him, and as you have seen over these past years, he won’t stop until he gets it done.”
But in reality, Trump has made repealing the Affordable Care Act a cornerstone of his candidacy and presidency, pledging back in 2016 that he would undo the law that not only gave millions of Americans access to health insurance, but also provided protections for those with pre-existing conditions and entitled people to receive free preventive health care services.
The Trump administration is currently fighting in court to strike down the ACA and has yet to release a comprehensive health care plan to replace it.
If the court wipes away Obamacare, it would have a sweeping impact on the nation’s health care system and on the lives of tens of millions of Americans – not only for the roughly 20 million people who’ve gained coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges and through the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults. The law is also what allows parents to keep their children on their health insurance plans until age 26 and obtain free mammograms, cholesterol checks and birth control.
One of its most popular provisions is its strong protections for those with pre-existing conditions, including barring insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based on people’s health histories. As part of what he touted as his larger health care “vision,” the President signed an executive order in September stating that it’s US policy that people who suffer from pre-existing conditions will be protected. But that protection likely won’t mean much if there’s no legislation passed by Congress ready to replace the ACA if it’s overturned. The law also serves as a safety net for those who lose their job-based health coverage, as millions have this year amid pandemic-fueled layoffs.
And despite the first lady’s assertion that “health care for every citizen,” her husband has been largely critical of universal health care plans.
In her swing state pitch less than a week before Election Day, the first lady focused largely on the President’s accomplishments from his first term and echoing some of her husband’s campaign themes.
“For those of you still deciding who to vote for on Tuesday, I hope what I have to say will prove to you that a vote for President Trump is a vote for a better America,” the first lady said.
She also criticized those who are playing politics with a coronavirus vaccine, but her remarks were delivered to a crowd of supporters where social distancing was not observed and masks were largely not worn.
“A vaccine is not a partisan issue. If you are not supporting the safe production of a vaccine, you’re not supporting the health and safety of the American people,” she said. “There is no room to play politics on this topic in the midst of [a] pandemic.”
“On Tuesday, the direction of our country will take is in your own hands. I ask that you join us in continuing to put America first,” she concluded. “Together we will overcome this pandemic and continue building the brightest future for generations to come.”