Trump Signs Health Care Executive Order at North Carolina Campaign Stop

President Donald Trump holds up an executive order after delivering remarks on healthcare at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Thursday, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) — President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden held back-to-back campaign events in North Carolina, where the president signed an executive order he claimed would protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Vying to win over voters in the crucial swing state ahead of Nov. 3, Biden and Trump visited Charlotte on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, bringing vastly different appeals. 

“As long as I am president, no one will lay a hand on your Medicare,” Trump said on Thursday during his 14th official visit to the state.

While speaking to a crowd in the Duke Energy hangar near Charlotte’s international airport, the president vowed that his health care plan will protect patients with pre-existing conditions. 

The executive order states it’s government policy to protect such people, but fails to specify how it will do so. Under the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law a decade ago, insurers have already been required to give care to patients with pre-existing conditions.

Trump said his plan will give Americans “more choice” when it comes to picking providers, more pricing transparency from large pharmaceutical companies, lower drug prices, better care for seniors and families and “taking on the lobbyists.”  

“Today I’m laying out my vision for the future of American healthcare with the America First Healthcare Plan,” Trump said. “As we restore America to full strength, the first healthcare plan will be the core part of our national renewal.”

It’s unclear how his executive orders would have the force of law should the ACA be overturned by the Supreme Court, which is likely to pick up a conservative justice after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the executive order “bogus” on Thursday.

“If President Trump cared at all about people with pre-existing conditions, he would drop his lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic,” she said in a statement.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a North Carolina native, attended the event on Thursday.

Trump told the crowd that Meadows is currently negotiating with “big pharma” to “make a deal.” 

Not long into his talk, Trump bashed the ACA, naming the individual mandate as the “worst part” of it.

“Obamacare is no longer Obamacare,” he said, claiming that his administration’s “good management” has reduced prescription drug and insurance costs.

Trump also spent time touting his administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and thanking those who have been involved in treatment and vaccine development.

Overall, Europe has seen a greater coronavirus-related fatality rate than all of the U.S., Trump said without mentioning that dozens of countries comprise Europe. 

Biden, during his Tarheel State talk a day earlier, expressed a different appeal to voters more than a month ahead of the election. 

During his first in-person stop to the key battleground state since before the primaries, Biden visited Charlotte to host a Black Economic Summit and lay out the steps he plans to take in order to help Americans who have been systematically marginalized. 

On a stage at the city’s Camp North End, Biden announced a plan to form the Small Business and Entrepreneurs Advisory Council and detailed his plan to bolster Black Americans.

The former vice president said his initiatives include investing more than $70 billion over the course of 10 years in historically Black colleges and universities and in other programs that benefit minority populations.  

In addition, Biden aims to leverage $150 billion in new capital and opportunities for Black-owned small businesses and other small businesses. 

Both Biden and the incumbent this week told North Carolinians that they are looking out for underserved communities. 

“No one in America should be working a 40-hour a week job and be living in poverty,” Biden said during his talk, noting his plan to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour. He also mentioned his goal to make college free for students whose family makes less than $125,000 per year. 

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and NBA star Chris Paul spoke before Biden on Wednesday.

“Despite repeatedly promising to release a health care proposal, President Trump has never offered a plan of his own,” Biden said in a statement. “As President, I will bring people together to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act, lower health care costs for working families and seniors, and ensure that all Americans have access to the quality, affordable coverage they deserve.”

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