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Trump: Pre-existing conditions will be covered in new health plan

President Donald Trump speaks to CBS News'

President Donald Trump speaks to CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and host of "Face the Nation," John Dickerson, on April 29, 2017. Credit: CBS News / Face the Nation

President Donald Trump guaranteed Sunday that pre-existing conditions will be covered in the new health care plan Republicans are finalizing.

As Trump crossed the 100-day threshold with some promises fulfilled but few far-reaching missions accomplished, he and administration leaders looked Sunday to health care, his tax plan and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

On Sunday TV talk shows, they began delving into the details of how a new health care plan would help the most vulnerable and what it would cost.

“Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, ‘Has to be,’ the president told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“We actually have a clause that guarantees,” he added.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Vice President Mike Pence explained: “You take people that have pre-existing and costly conditions and put them into a high-risk pool. And you subsidize that so that it is affordable to those individuals.”

Trump also said he wouldn’t change the “concept” of Medicare but may amend it to combat abuses that he did not define.

“Waste, fraud and abuse, I’m going to touch. If there’s something in Medicare that’s been abused, I will touch that,” he said.

He promised lower premiums and deductibles, saying anything is an improvement over the Affordable Care Act.

“You can’t compare anything to Obamacare because Obamacare is dead,” Trump tweeted.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) renewed his offer for Democrats to work with Trump to improve Obamacare — if the GOP abandons efforts to uproot it. “The country doesn’t work my way or the highway,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”

Tax code

Trump and Pence acknowledged separately Sunday that their plan for overhauling the tax code is likely to increase the deficit. They said it would be paid for through an improved economic climate.

“Not only growth. It’s going to be made up by better trade deals,” Trump said.

NBC host Chuck Todd told Pence that estimates of Trump’s tax-reform outline showed it could add between $3 trillion and $7 trillion to the debt.

“Maybe in the short term,” Pence said of adding to the deficit.

The broad strokes of Trump’s tax plan — an opening bid in talks with Congress — offer cuts all around. Analysts have said the breaks are geared toward the wealthy, including eliminating the alternative minimum tax on higher incomes.

Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) has denounced another aspect of the blueprint that would eliminate deductions for state and local taxes, which would impact those in high-tax states like New York.

Trump administration officials have touted that a related proposal to double the standardized tax deduction would more than offset the loss of the state/local deduction, ending the need for many taxpayers to itemize their returns.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on ABC’s “This Week” called the proposal a “wishlist for billionaires.”

North Korea

The president also again said that amid North Korea’s ballistic missile testing, it isn’t wise to pressure China on unfair economic practices — as he vowed to do as a candidate.

“Frankly, North Korea is maybe more important than trade,” he said. “Trade is very important, but massive warfare with millions, potentially millions of people being killed? That — as we would say — trumps trade.”

Trump said of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un: “If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy.”

Asked about a U.S. military action, Trump said, “We’ll see.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), on CNN’s “State of the Union,” called a pre-emptive strike the “very last option.”

He added: “One of the reasons is because there’s artillery on the [demilitarized zone]that can strike Seoul, a city of 26 million people, and the carnage would be horrendous.”

Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday that the United States still planned to pay for a missile defense system being installed in South Korea. Trump suggested in an interview with Reuters Thursday he wanted South Korea to pay for the system.

“What I told our South Korean counterpart is until any renegotiation, that the deal is in place,” McMaster said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But what the president has asked us to do is to look across all of our alliances and to have appropriate burden-sharing, responsibility-sharing. ”

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