Donald Trump delivered two speeches at the Republican National Convention a few weeks ago, and both included the same specific lie: "We will always and very strongly protect patients with pre-existing conditions."
As regular readers know, the truth is politically inconvenient, but stubbornly inflexible: the Republican 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. Those 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.
But at a campaign rally in Michigan last night, before repeating the lie, Trump added a new twist to the message. As part of a strange line of attack against Joe Biden, then president said:
"He will destroy your protections for pre-existing conditions."
Obviously, this is deeply bonkers. Biden helped pass the Affordable Care Act, which created the protections Trump and his party are desperate to eliminate.
What the Republican president argued, in effect, is that Americans should trust Trump more than Biden to protect Obamacare's core benefits -- which is both hilarious and the opposite of the truth.
It comes against a backdrop in which Trump didn't use the word "Obamacare" at any point during the Republican convention -- and neither did any GOP elected official during the entire four-day affair.
As for the substance of the incumbent president's health care vision, I'd love to be able to explore in more detail how, exactly, he intends to both protect those with pre-existing conditions and tear down the law that created those protections, but at this point, we're still waiting for the release of Trump's vaunted reform plan.
Circling back to our earlier coverage, it was on July 17 when Trump sat down with Fox News' Chris Wallace, and the host asked about the president's ongoing efforts to tear down the ACA. The president replied that he still intends to "replace" the landmark health care law.
The host reminded Trump, "But you've been in office three and a half years, you don't have a plan." It was at this point that the president responded with an unexpected vow: Trump said he'd "sign" a "full and complete" health care plan "within two weeks."
As we've discussed, two weeks went by, and the "full and complete" health care plan was nowhere to be found. On July 31, pressed for some kind of explanation, the president told reporters, "We're going to be doing a very inclusive health care plan. I'll be signing it sometime very soon. It might be Sunday [Aug. 2], but it's going to be very soon." (He added earlier in the day that the upcoming White House health care plan will be "very big.")
Two days later, the Republican went golfing. He did not unveil or sign a health care plan. On Aug. 3, Trump presented a new timeline: "I do want to say that we're going to be introducing a tremendous health care plan sometime prior -- hopefully, prior to the end of the month. It's just about completed now."
The "end of the month" was early last week. There's still no plan.
Trump has spent more than four years assuring Americans that he and his team, any day now, will unveil an amazing health care plan that will offer more coverage at a lower cost. It's a promise that always goes unmet.