The mainstream media are reporting that President-elect Donald Trump is giving up on his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, because he said he would be willing to preserve coverage for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. “I like those very much,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in an interview, following his meeting Thursday with President Barack Obama.
He’s not alone: those are some of the only parts of the law that are popular, and many Republicans have long since promised to preserve coverage for those with pre-existing conditions even after Obamacare is repealed.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), for example, proposed a replacement for Obamacare in April that would cover people with pre-existing conditions by moving them into state high-risk pools.
In 2013, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) proposed to repeal and replace Obamacare, introducing the “Empowering Patients First Act,” which provided for those with pre-existing conditions. “[T]o make sure no one is priced out of the health insurance market because of a pre-existing illness or injury, the Empowering Patients First Act provides for the creation of robust pooling plans that would ensure that any one person’s health status does not increase his or her costs or the costs of others in the same pool,” he wrote at the time.
Coverage for pre-existing conditions, and coverage for young people, are relatively minor parts of the overall architecture of Obamacare. Conservatives have long been willing to accept such provisions as compromises, the better to shore up political support for dismantling the system as a whole.
Trump merely stated the obvious.