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Trump vows to create health benefit the ACA already provides

For reasons that don't make sense, Trump intends to "pursue a major executive order" to create a benefit that "Obamacare" already provides.
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In one of his recent Fox News interviews, Donald Trump vowed to "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, is very unlikely to happen.

So what should Americans expect on this front? Probably nothing, though Trump bragged on Friday night -- at a golf club he owns and profits from -- about his intended next step.

"Over the next two weeks, I'll be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions for all customers. That's a big thing. I've always been very strongly in favor -- we have to cover pre-existing conditions. So we will be pursuing a major executive order, requiring health insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions for all of its customers. This has never been done before...."

It's entirely possible that Trump, who rarely understands policy work going on around him, simply made all of this up on the spot. He does, after all, have a habit of just blurting out ideas without any meaningful planning or forethought.

But just in case the president was serious, let's unpack some of what made these comments interesting.

First, the idea that Trump has "always been very strongly in favor" of protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions is wrong to a cruel extent. Not only did he endorse GOP legislation in 2017 that would've stripped these protections away, the Republican is also currently urging the Supreme Court to eliminate these benefits in their entirety.

Second, the idea that guaranteeing protections for those with pre-existing conditions "has never been done before" is hilarious, even for Trump: these protections already exist. They are, after all, a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act, which the president claims to hate for reasons he's struggled to explain.

Or put another way, Trump intends to "pursue a major executive order" to create a benefit that "Obamacare" already provides.

And third, if the president means he'll sign an executive order to make these provisions insurers must provide in the event the Supreme Court rules his way, someone probably ought to explain to Trump that this probably won't work.

The ACA was structured a certain way for a reason: if the government requires private insurers not to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, but the rest of the system disappears, the result would almost certainly be vastly more expensive coverage for everyone.

I don't seriously expect the president to understand any of this, but the details should come into focus "over the next two weeks."