Mr. President, At Least Tell Us How You’re Going To Protect People With Pre-existing Conditions

Actually, in a recent Executive Order he kind of does, and it’s not good.

Eric J Scholl
6 min readOct 27, 2020


Trump’s long-awaited health plan doesn’t seem likely before Election Day, but we could at least expect some clarity on that one pledge, right?

This newsletter has existed just about as long as Trump’s Presidency, and the earliest reference we could find to Trump saying his health care plan is ready-to-go took us back to a Washington Post story about a phone call with the President on January 14, 2017. In which the President referred to “nearing completion of a plan”, to replace Obamacare, he said then. On January 15, 2017!

So when the President signs and then touts an Executive Order last month saying that people with pre-existing conditions will be protected, we don’t think it’s too much to expect an answer to the question: How?

Let’s look at the Executive Order itself. Signed by the President on September 24 of this year. Surely there’s something in there. Starts out saying he’s all about:

[B]ringing great healthcare to the American people and putting patients first.”

Which of course is just a bunch of words, because who wouldn’t want that?

After a few pages, it comes to pre-existing conditions, where the President pledges a:

[S}teadfast commitment to always protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions and ensuring they have access to the high-quality healthcare they deserve.”

That sounds nice too.

But then there’s a big red flag. The President’s Executive Order refers to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and argues that it already mandated coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, years before Obamacare. So Obamacare doesn’t really deserve any credit for that.

That law is more commonly known as HIPAA. And most people know it because of its protections of patient privacy. But it was also meant to protect workers who lose group health insurance because they lose their jobs. To that end, it mandates any insurance company that sells individual…



Eric J Scholl

Peabody award winning journalist. Streaming media pioneer. Played @ CBGB back in the day. Editor-In-Chief "The Chaos Report"