On health care, there are some lies Trump just can't shake

If Trump honors his commitment, we're just days away from seeing his "full and complete" health care plan that will do more and cost less than the ACA.
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By Steve Benen

As a rule, incumbent presidents only give one speech at their nominating conventions: a big one toward the end of the festivities in which they accept their party's nomination. But Donald Trump isn't exactly normal.

And neither are his claims, especially when it comes to health care.

On the first day of the RNC, Donald Trump inaccurately told a crowd in Charlotte, N.C., that he has "strongly protected pre-existing conditions" while in office. "We strongly protected your pre-existing conditions.... Every Republican is sworn to protecting your pre-existing condition. You won't hear that."

You may not hear it, but that's because he's lying. As regular readers know, the truth is politically inconvenient, but stubbornly inflexible: the president fought to strip Americans with pre-existing conditions of their current protections -- those established by the Democrats' Affordable Care Act -- through a series of misguided and far-right repeal-and-replace proposals he couldn't get through a Congress led by his own party.

Making matters worse, Trump's efforts are ongoing: the White House is helping champion a federal lawsuit, which is currently pending at the U.S. Supreme Court, which would strip protections from Americans with pre-existing conditions.

What's more, Trump has also "expanded the use of short-term plans that are cheaper and that aren't required to cover pre-existing conditions."

It's possible the president doesn't fully understand developments that unfold around him. It's also possible Trump knows the truth, but he feels the need to deceive the public in order to win votes. Either way, his claims on this critically important issue are ludicrous.

The rhetoric coincides, however, with the Trump campaign's release of a strange document purporting to list the president's "agenda" for a second term. The list is actually just a series of catch phrases and slogans masquerading as substantive goals, but it includes a handful of priorities, including "lower health care insurance premiums" and "cover all pre-existing conditions."

First, as NBC News' Sahil Kapur noted, "If there was a way to lower premiums and 'cover all pre-existing conditions' in a more conservative manner than Obamacare, it seems like the party would have figured it out sometime during the last decade."

Second, "covering" pre-existing conditions isn't quite the concern. Republicans have already presented proposals that would require private insurers to cover pre-existing conditions, but charge exorbitant rates. If, for example, you were born with a heart defect, under GOP plans, your insurance company couldn't deny you coverage, but it could charge you premiums you'd have to be a millionaire to afford. The Trump campaign's promise brushes past this with a vague four-word slogan that doesn't mean much.

Nevertheless, we're approaching a deadline of sorts that should bring greater clarity on the issue. Earlier this summer, Trump vowed on Fox News that he would "sign" a "full and complete" health care plan by the end of July. That, of course, didn't happen.

Pressed for some kind of explanation, the president recently said his new health care policy is "just about completed," and it'd be unveiled by the end of August. That, too, seems highly unlikely to happen, but according to my calendar, the end of August is just days away.

Won't it be exciting to see a brand new health care system that does more and costs less? I, for one, am looking forward to the president honoring his promise sometime between now and Monday.