Trump Accused by People With Pre-Existing Conditions of Lying About Protecting Them During State of the Union Address

President Donald Trump has been accused of telling the "biggest lie" to the American people during his State of the Union address after claiming he will "always protect" those with pre-existing conditions.

The president was criticized by lawmakers and those with such conditions for making the claim, despite his administration currently being involved in a lawsuit that could kill off the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Trump has been determined to remove so-called "Obamacare" since he entered the White House. The landmark bill, seen as one of the key pieces of legislation brought in during Barack Obama's time as president, barred insurers from denying coverage, or charging more, to those with a pre-existing condition.

Trump has promised to introduce new proposals to protect those with pre-existing conditions if the ACA bill is scrapped, but so far none of his administration's alternatives have done so.

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"I've also made an ironclad pledge to American families: We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions," Trump said during his address.

"And we will always protect your Medicare and we will always protect your Social Security."

CNN and The New York Times were among several news organizations to have ruled this statement as false in fact-checking articles.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ripped up Trump's speech after he finished his address, was one of those who accused Trump of being deceitful with his remarks.

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"President Trump's address tonight gave no comfort to the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions or the families struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need," Pelosi said. "Once again, President Trump was not truthful about his actions in court to destroy pre-existing condition protections."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also said Trump's claim about pre-existing conditions was his "biggest lie" of the night.

"His admin is in court trying to take those protections away," Schumer tweeted. "The only way he can truly protect people with pre-existing conditions is to drop the lawsuit now."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will be hoping to put forward his "Medicare for All" plan against Trump in the 2020 presidential election, added: "Trump said, 'We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.'

"Really? This is the same president who came one vote away from throwing 32 million Americans off the health care they have and ending the Affordable Care Act's protection for pre-existing conditions."

Tiffany Stepien, whose 10-year-old daughter Sophia was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer when she was 4, told Newsweek she "struggled" to watch Trump's address when he talked about pre-existing conditions knowing she could face drastically increased medical costs for her daughter.

Stepien said that while Sophia is now cancer free following treatment, which included the removal of one of her kidneys, her condition requires lifelong monitoring.

"I felt frustrated and angry with the fact that Trump lied about protecting pre-existing conditions while he has staff actively fighting to dismantle the ACA in court," Stepien said.

"Unfortunately, Trump neither understands how this impacts families nor cares. Trump cares not for a living, breathing child. He disrespects families with his lies and tweets.

"His state of the union is a lie. I hope that parents and families facing life-threatening illnesses are smart and advocate for the ACA through Congress and the 2020 election," Stepien said.

The president was criticized on social media by those who could be affected if Trump succeeds in fully dismantling Obamacare.

"From his executive actions, his consistent and aggressive pursuit of repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and his efforts to undermine coverage for the lowest income population through new restrictions on Medicaid eligibility, it is absolutely clear that the president is misleading the public by saying 'We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions,'" Linda Blumberg, economist and Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute think tank, told Newsweek.

"His actions and advocacy provide extensive evidence that he is comfortable, and, in fact, aggressively pursuing eliminating the protections that have been put in place before he entered office."

Last month, Trump bizarrely claimed that he was the one who had "saved" the policy banning insurance companies from refusing clients because of pre-existing conditions, despite attempting to repeal ACA.

"Mini Mike Bloomberg is spending a lot of money on False Advertising," Trump tweeted on January 13 while attacking the 2020 democratic presidential candidate hopeful.

"I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare, you have it now, while at the same time winning the fight to rid you of the expensive, unfair and very unpopular Individual Mandate," he added.

"And, if Republicans win in court and take back the House of Represenatives, your healthcare, that I have now brought to the best place in many years, will become the best ever, by far. I will always protect your Pre-Existing Conditions, the Dems will not!"

In a statement to Newsweek, White House spokesman Judd Deere said: "President Trump has repeatedly stated his commitment to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions and his track record shows that he has consistently done what is necessary to improve care for the vulnerable by opening affordable options for those who were priced out of the market by Obamacare.

"While the media refuses to cover the ineffective provisions of Obamacare that have made health care too expensive for too many, the radical left is doing Americans with pre-existing conditions a disservice by making them a political pawn in their agenda to expand the scope of government."

This article has been updated with additional quotes from the White House, Blumberg and Stepien.

Correction 2/10/20, 04:00 a.m. ET: This article was updated to correct the title of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

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President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address flanked by US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (R) at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2020. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty
Trump Accused by People With Pre-Existing Conditions of Lying About Protecting Them During State of the Union Address | U.S.