At a rally in Rochester, Minnesota on Thursday, Donald Trump stated

Republicans want to protect Medicare for our great seniors who have earned it and they have paid for it. And we will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, we are going to take care of them. Some of the Democrats have been talking about ending pre-existing conditions... and some people have. You know what I say? We get a little more money from China. It’ll be just fine. We’ll be just fine.

Clearly the general thrust of positions taken by politicians from the major U.S. parties is quite the opposite; Democrats consistently talk about the need to protect such conditions, while Republicans are known for seeking policies that would end such protections. (such as reported, for some examples, here, here, and here).

Is there any truth to the above quote? That is, even though Democrats are typically the ones trying to ensure pre-existing conditions remain covered, are there some Democrats (specifically Democrat politicians in or seeking national or statewide office) that are on the record wanting to end protection for pre-existing conditions?

  • 4
    Saying Democrats are "talking about ending pre-existing conditions", depending on the context and intent that could be used to mean "democrats are claiming that we will end pre-existing conditions". I can't claim special insight into Trump's intent (and even making the phrase "end pre-existing conditions" make sense requires some assumptions), but a little more context could be helpful. Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 13:55
  • 2
    From what I've read from doing initial research, it's entirely possible that Trump is confusing a legitimate issue where Dems are (potentially falsely) accusing Reps of trying to repeal protections for pre-existing conditions in political ads. It wouldn't be the first time he's confused issues like this. Has anyone watched Fox News lately or checked their website to see if they've said anything about this?
    – DenisS
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 14:50
  • What Kamil and Denise say is a legitimate interpretation of what Trump says (and who the heck knows what he actually means), and It's also well known to be true. Given that there is no notable claim. Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


Politifact rated the statement "PANTS ON FIRE" on October 5th, 2018.

Prior to the Politifact article, it was hard to believe that the statement could be true, as many websites are reporting the exact opposite.

Politico, The New York Times, and many others are reporting on the ads that Democratic House and Senate candidates are running in their districts.


Democratic candidates are getting very personal on the campaign trail as they push to preserve Obamacare, frankly sharing tales of their own health struggles.

In a House district in Illinois, registered nurse Lauren Underwood talks about a heart condition that would put her at risk for losing her health coverage if Congress or federal courts strike down the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In California’s Central Valley, T.J. Cox tells voters that before Obamacare, his insurance refused to cover his wife’s C-section because it considered her pregnancy a pre-existing condition. And in suburban Detroit, Elissa Slotkin’s brutal television ads includes footage of her mother as a dying cancer patient who for years had been denied insurance.

The New York Times

This cycle, even Democrats running in red states are unapologetically putting health care at the center of their campaign messages. There’s a reason: Republican efforts to overhaul the health care system last year were deeply unpopular.

A lawsuit brought by several states imperils the health law’s protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, the law’s most popular provision. Recent polls show growing numbers of Americans rank health care as a top issue, and coverage for pre-existing conditions as an important policy.

Regardless of source, Democrats are campaigning on Republicans threatening to remove pre-existing condition protection, which is deeply unpopular in the country.

Politifact finally covered the statement in an 5 October 2018 piece entitled Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim about Democrats, pre-existing conditions. Some of the relevant portions are copy-pasted below.

"We will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions," Trump said around the 34:00 mark. "We’re going to take care of them. Some of the Democrats have been talking about ending pre-existing conditions. And some people have -- you know what I say? We'll get a little more money from China. It'll be just fine. It'll be just fine. We'll be just fine."

This seems to match OP's transcription in the question.

Politifact gets into the meat of the article.

Is he right that "some of the Democrats have been talking about ending pre-existing conditions"?

We found zero evidence of this.

For starters, Trump’s assertion is illogical given the Democrats’ role in passing the law and Democratic efforts to hammer Republican candidates over pre-existing condition protections on the campaign trail.

Politifact provides the following campaign ads of Democratic candidates to back this up, showing attempts by Democratic senators to protect pre-existing conditions.

Politifact also talked to the spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and received a response saying that nothing similar to what President Trump claimed has been talked about by Democrats.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said there is no such chatter among Democratic officeholders or candidates.

The article concludes with this line.

The White House did not reply to an inquiry seeking examples. Neither did the office of the Senate majority leader or the House speaker.

  • 1
    It should probably be noted that the RealClearPolitics article is written by an economic advisor to the Trump campaign, and that the author is an opponent of healthcare reform who said that Obamacare contained "euthanasia for the elderly" (as well as other lies about it); this doesn't seem like a credible source.
    – tim
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 6:09
  • In the article itself, she claims that the Republican ACA repeal would protect people with pre-existing conditions, which isn't exactly true either. She then goes into a proposal that sounds reasonable (the state will pay), but afaik isn't - and would never - be backed by Republicans. "Do Republicans want to remove protections for pre-existing conditions?" might make for a good separate question, because I don't think that the McCaughey article does it justice.
    – tim
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 6:10
  • 1
    @tim I've decided to remove the RCP article because I didn't realize who the writer was. I included it because the writer was saying that Dems are running on the pre-existing condition platform. I didn't realize that the writer had a history of distorting facts.
    – DenisS
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 14:25
  • 1
    The four Democratic senators referenced in this answer are all from Republican-leaning states, so if any Democrat were to adopt a Republican position on health care, they would be the most likely. (Senator Jon Tester of Montana should probably be on the list, and he, too, is running on maintaining coverage of pre-existing conditions.) Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 23:24

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