United States President Donald Trump speaks during an event to commemorate the repatriation of the remains and artifacts of Native Americans from Finland in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on September 17, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump will sign a series of executive orders aimed at protecting people with pre-existing conditions and preventing surprise medical bills, senior administration officials said Thursday.
Trump is expected to discuss executive orders that are part of his America First health plan during his visit to Charlotte, North Carolina late Thursday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters on a conference call that one of the orders would make it a United States policy to "provide protection to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions are protected regardless of who whether the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and its protection for pre-existing conditions is invalid. "
"The president is also taking steps to protect billing from surprises, a source of financial uncertainty for all Americans who have insurance that has not been addressed in two years," he said.
He said the order would instruct HHS to work with Congress to pass legislation from Congress that would protect patients from surprise medical bills. If such a law is not passed by Jan. 1, Trump will instruct HHS to investigate the executive and regulatory measures Trump is taking to ensure patients are protected from surprise bills, Azar said.
The move comes as the Trump administration tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which contains a provision that prevents insurers from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. The Supreme Court will hear the latest constitutional challenge to Obamacare, the California v Texas case, following the November presidential election.
Trump previously insisted that he would protect pre-existing health conditions.
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