Trump won't leave patients with pre-existing conditions out in the cold, CMS chief says

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CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the Trump administration plans to protect health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions in the event a judge rules in favor of 20 states in a lawsuit against the ACA, according to a report on

Ms. Verma made the comments at a meeting of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative public policy think tank.

"We do have contingency plans. We want to make sure that people with pre-existing conditions have protections, and we want to make sure that people have access to affordable coverage," she said.

Ms. Verma said the plans "may or may not be needed," and she did not offer details.

The 20-state lawsuit  in Texas courts seeks to undo the ACA. The states argue the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional given the tax bill President Donald Trump signed in December that repealed the penalty associated with the mandate.

The lawsuit argues eliminating the penalty but not the mandate is unconstitutional, and that ACA provisions guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down because they are not severable from the mandate.

In June, the Justice Department said it would not defend major provisions of the ACA in the lawsuit.

"The best contingency plan for protecting American healthcare  — and especially for those with pre-existing conditions — is for the administration to withdraw its support for this disastrous lawsuit and instead defend the law of the land," Protect Our Care, a pro-ACA group, said in response to Ms. Verma's comments.

President Trump last month tweeted that "Republicans will totally protect people with pre-existing conditions."

According to the report, the president contends such protections can be added back later if a judge sides with states in the lawsuit.

Emily Rappleye contributed to this report.


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