Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday bluntly accused President Trump of lying after he asserted yet again — in the face of multiple actions to the contrary — that Republicans would protect people with preexisting health conditions while Democrats would not.
The rebuke from the top Democrat in the Senate came after the second tweet in a week from Trump with misleading information on an issue that Democrats see working to their advantage in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
“Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions, Democrats will not! Vote Republican,” Trump said in his tweet.
Schumer responded in a series of tweets, starting with: “Good morning, America. This is a lie.”
The sparring comes as Republicans seek to square their steadfast opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the landmark 2010 law pushed by then-President Barack Obama, with the popularity of some of its key provisions, including protections for preexisting conditions.
Trump has repeatedly promised to repeal the law, known as Obamacare, and bemoaned the failure of a Republican-led effort to do so last year. As recently as last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he wants to take another shot at repealing the health-care law.
The Trump administration has also joined a lawsuit against the law filed by 20 Republican attorneys general.
Meanwhile, under a Trump administration rule finalized in August, insurers are permitted to sell short-term health insurance plans that do not have to cover preexisting conditions and certain kinds of health care that the Affordable Care Act requires.
Senate Democrats fell one vote short in a bid this month to overturn the rule, deriding the less expensive policies as “junk” plans.
With polls showing that large majorities of Americans favor keeping protections for those with preexisting conditions intact, Republican candidates have increasingly sought to assure voters that they support those protections despite a years-long GOP effort to repeal the 2010 law, a partial 16-day government shutdown in 2013 to try to defund it and dozens of House votes to revamp or scrap the law.
“It is simply not true that Republicans will protect coverage for pre-existing conditions, Mr. President,” Schumer said in one of his half-dozen tweets on the issue Wednesday.
In a tweet last week, Trump wrote that “[a]ll Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they don’t, they will after I speak to them.”
“I am in total support,” he added. “Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!”
Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.