Washington, D.C. — President Donald Trump lied that he was “the person who saved Pre-Existing conditions in your Healthcare,” even as his administration continues to try to use the federal courts to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Center for American Progress Action Fund is releasing a new video in its social media campaign to educate the nation on what’s at stake for millions of Americans with preexisting conditions.
The campaign tells the stories of Americans such as Colleen Bowman of Waynesville, Ohio, whose daughter Ella was suddenly diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 7—one year after the ACA took effect. Ella underwent five surgeries to remove the cancer and then spent another five years undergoing CAT scans and ultrasounds to make sure she was cancer free. As Bowman says in the video, the Trump administration’s hostility toward the ACA and protections for people with preexisting conditions puts Ella at risk for the rest of her life.
“When you have a cancer diagnosis for your child, you’ll never ever look at life the same again,” Bowman says. “If the Affordable Care Act goes away, she’s in jeopardy for the rest of her life. That’s the bottom line.” Bowman continues to explain in the video that her daughter’s worries go well past her diagnosis. “She said to someone once that she doesn’t worry about a reoccurrence for her. She worries about a reoccurrence for our family, because she’s terrified if there’s not an ACA that it’ll bankrupt us.”
Last year, after dozens of failed attempts to repeal the law in Congress, the Trump administration backed a 20-state lawsuit seeking to overturn the entire ACA and protections for preexisting conditions in the courts. Bowman says that President Trump and congressional Republicans’ efforts show a total disregard for the real-life consequences for their constituents. If they successfully dismantle the ACA, 20 million Americans like Ella and more than 135 million people with preexisting conditions would lose the health care coverage on which they depend.
“I watched him [Trump] slap these congressmen on the back when they voted for something that would have stripped my children of protections—the callousness with which that was done and the joy with which he celebrated, it sticks with me every single day,” Bowman says. “Ella and I watched that together. That’s her president saying, ‘Congratulations, we’re taking your protections away.’”
According to the Washington Post, the administration has even stalled on plans to write an alternative to the ACA should it be successfully repealed or struck down, in stark contrast to President Trump’s claim that “Republicans only will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.”
“I don’t know how to wrap my brain around the disconnect to real people and to beg politicians to care about your child’s life—it’s a hard thing to have to do. So I wish that he or anyone else who takes those [ACA repeal] votes would look some of these kids in the face and tell them exactly why they did it,” she says.
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