CBS Evening News posted a tweet video Tuesday from an interview segment with Vice President Mike Pence, essentially amounting to stenography to promote a supposed upcoming executive order by President Donald Trump to protect people with preexisting conditions from losing insurance coverage — who are already covered by the law which Trump and the Republicans have been seeking for years to dismantle.
Preexisting conditions are already protected by the Affordable Care Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 — which the Trump administration has been attempting to get overturned with yet another challenge in the Supreme Court, and doing so in the middle of a pandemic that will leave many more people suffering with serious health issues for potentially years to come.
Furthermore, Trump has been promising such a new executive order since August — with a deadline that came and went with no action at all. And yet mainstream media outlets continue to cover these pronouncements about an upcoming order as if they are news.
Part of this interview was shown on Monday’s edition of the show, but not this particular statement about a purportedly upcoming executive order. That means CBS News already had plenty of time to review the tape and edit it into this format for a tweet, despite the Trump administration’s demonstrated lack of honesty or follow-through on this issue.
The video included in the tweet is 1 minute and 42 seconds long, and it is only at around the 0:45 mark — after Pence extolled Trump’s supposed dedication to protecting patients with preexisting conditions — when anchor Norah O’Donnell is shown challenging him: “With all due respect, Mr. Vice President, I know you keep saying that, but in promising a health care bill, but you haven't produced it yet. Why should Americans believe you and the president that you're going to protect people with preexisting conditions?”
Pence goes on to answer that “in the days ahead, I would anticipate that president will be taking some action under his executive branch authority to make it clear to every American that those that are facing preexisting conditions will be covered under insurance plans, they will not be denied coverage even while we continue to take our case across the country to the American people.”
But in fact, Republican proposals that declare they would prevent people from being denied insurance policies would not actually protect them from higher premiums or a loss of real coverage.
Republican incumbents have continued to mislead on their position over preexisting condition protections, including offering bills that claim to protect patients but actually have glaring loopholes that would result in patients being subject to higher premiums or a cap on annual or lifetime benefits. The Republican bill that nearly passed in 2017, which Pence referenced in his reply, would also have left consumers highly vulnerable to discriminatory premiums and benefits.