President-elect Donald Trump’s healthcare plan is nearly complete, and he has promised that it will offer “insurance for everybody.”
Trump talked about his plans for a healthcare plan to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act (popularly known as ObamaCare) during a telephone interview with the Washington Post on January 14.
“It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet, but we’re going to be doing it soon,” Trump said during the interview with the Post. He said he is waiting for his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Representative Tom Price (R-Ga.), to be confirmed before unveiling the details of his plan.
The president-elect did not provide many specifics concerning his plan but he did say it will include “lower numbers, much lower deductibles.” One area where he hopes to cut costs for plan participants is the cost of prescription drugs by negotiating costs with pharmaceutical companies.
“They’re politically protected, but not anymore,” he said of the drug companies.
When the newspaper interviewer asked Trump how he would force drug manufacturers to comply with his administration’s efforts to lower prices, he said that part of his approach would be public pressure “just like on the airplane,” a reference to his tweets about Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet, which Trump had said was too expensive.
As the nation waits to learn more details of Trump’s plan, Republicans in Congress have already taken the first steps toward repealing ObamaCare. In the early morning hours of January 12, the Senate voted 51-48 to approve a budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 3) that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The resolution received the vote of every Republican in the Senate except for Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who explained why he voted against it:
As a physician, I cannot wait to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a health care system that relies on freedom to provide quality, comprehensive, and affordable care.
But putting nearly $10 trillion more in debt on the American people’s backs through a budget that never balances is not the way to get there. It is the exact opposite of the change Republicans promised, and I cannot support it, even as a placeholder.
Despite his vote against the budget resolution, Paul has been in contact with Trump and said that he and the president-elect are largely in agreement on how to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Paul received a phone call from Trump just five days before the Senate vote, on January 6, during which the president-elect said he was pleased with remarks Paul had made about the best approach to accomplish the objective of replacing ObamaCare with a better plan.
“He called after seeing an interview that I had done [talking about] that we should vote on ObamaCare replacement at the same time,” Paul said in an interview on January 9 quoted by Politico. “He said he was in complete agreement with that.”
Paul’s said of his conversation with Trump: “I’d hate to characterize [Trump’s] opinion on [repealing and replacing ObamaCare] other than he agreed with me that we should do it that at the same time,” Paul said. “There is momentum growing for it.”
On January 13, the House also passed S. Con. Res. 3 by a vote of 227-198. Townhall.com reported that nine House Republicans voted against the resolution because they were concerned by the lack of a replacement plan for ObamaCare and, once after such a plan is drafted, how the federal government will pay for it. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump have stated that repeal and replace plans will be introduced at the same time.
The Post reported that, during his interview, Trump said he is confident that his ObamaCare replacement plan will get enough votes to pass in both house of Congress.
The lone Republican who voted against the Senate budget resolution that included a provision to dismantle ObamaCare, Rand Paul, said during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union on January 15 that he has put together a replacement bill that will “give access to the most amount of people at the least amount of cost.”
Paul said that, under his plan, there will be no government mandate telling people they must have insurance or pay a penalty. “One of the key reforms that we will do is, we’re going to legalize the sale of inexpensive insurance. That means getting rid of the ObamaCare mandates on what you can buy.”
“We are going to help people save through health savings accounts, as well as a tax credit,” Paul elaborated on his plan. “And then one of the things that we need to talk more about — and this is the third part of the replacement bill — is, we’re going to allow individuals to come together in associations to buy insurance.”
CNS News reported that during his interview with CNN, Paul, who is an ophthalmologist, said he once employed four people at his office. “If one of my employees got cancer, it was devastating to the bottom line, not only to them, obviously, but to the bottom line of insurance.”
Paul continued: “But there’s no reason why someone with four employees shouldn’t be able to join with hundreds and hundreds of other businesses that are small to become a large entity to get leverage to bring your prices down, but also to get insurance that can’t cancel you and guarantees the issue of the insurance even if you get sick.”