Does the POTUS have to accept medical treatment?

If the President were to be diagnosed with cancer, say, would he have the option to refuse treatment, or would he have to resign in order to do so?


Is there any one or any group with the authority to give a specific order or action item to the POTUS? I know that he has some broadly defined Constitutional duties, but I was under the impression that he is allowed to figure out how to do them on his own as long has he does not commit an offense. For example, he’s responsible for defense, but nobody has the authority to force him to use a specific cover sheet for his TPS reports and whatnot. Is that right, or is there someone behind the scenes who can tell the POTUS to complete Form 55-Q by 11 AM and attend mandatory Iraq training at 3PM at the Pentagon?

No individual has to accept medical treatment but if the cabinet feels the President is no longer capable to do the job they can start 25th Amendment proceedings (

Not enough information. Does his cancer or treatment affect his ability to do his job?

Its ultimately irrelevant because if the President is unable to do his job, the 25th Amendment would kick in. Any human being can refuse medical treatment but choices have consequences and should that treatment incapacitate the President the Cabinet could remove him via the 25th Amendment to the Constitution

It would be interesting to know whether or not the POTUS is entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. My guess is that the 25th Amendment outranks the ADA, but doesn’t specifically say that the ADA is not also applicable to the extent that it doesn’t contradict the 25th.

I think unless you had an exceptionally hostile or uncooperative cabinet they would not move against a President capable enough of fighting a 25th Amendment procedure. Generally I think the 25th Amendment (not as a rule but as courtesy of office) would be implemented with consultation of the doctors and if possible the President himself.

Something interesting is that Dick Cheney was President of the United States for a matter of hours on 2 occasions when George W Bush invoked the 25th Amendment during colonoscopy procedures as a precaution.

Seeing as we have already had a disabled president who required some accommodations to his condition I’d say the precedent has been set already - no, you can’t remove the PotUS just for being disabled and yes, accommodations have to be made. I think you can argue for removal only if it is impossible to make sufficient accommodations for the PotUS to do the job.

Mind you, that precedent was set decades before the ADA.

Cheney became Acting President. The 25th amendment is very clear in the differences between the VP becoming President or Acting President.

Section 1 - death or resignation of the President - the VP becomes President.

Section 3 - President declares himself unfit, but has the ability to later declare himself fit again - VP becomes Acting President.

Section 4 - VP & Cabinet declare the President unfit, and either he doesn’t fight it (say because he’s in a coma), or he fights and loses (because he’s gone full-on bonkers), the VP becomes Acting President.

And given that all this is in the Constitution, which overrules all laws, I can’t see how the ADA would apply.

I don’t think that FDR is a good example, because very few people really knew about his condition.

The President is theoretically on-call without break or pause for as long as he’s in office. That’s considerably different from the average job, which makes a difference in terms of “reasonable accommodation.” And the voters would ultimately decide what is “reasonable”–again, a major difference, and also a political question.

Any issue like that regarding the President is inherently a political issue.

How would anyone (other than his physician) know he had cancer? Doesn’t HIPAA apply to the president?