President Donald Trump voiced support for key Republican-backed policy elements such as tax credits, health savings accounts and selling insurance across state lines.
President Donald Trump gave Republican congressional leaders a rallying cry and even a roadmap as they try to push through a sweeping and divisive agenda on health care, taxes and more. In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Trump said largely what GOP leaders were hoping to hear Tuesday night, staying on-message and talking in optimistic tones, even weighing in at one point to settle a brewing dispute over how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
President Trump didn’t repeat his promise to deliver a “terrific” replacement for Obamacare within days Tuesday evening. But the president did outline a series of “principles” that he said Congress should follow as it repeals the Affordable Care Act and develops an alternative.
In his first address to a joint session of Congress — a high-wattage moment to articulate his central goals — President Trump defied expectations he had repeatedly set that he was about to unveil a concrete plan to abolish the Affordable Care Act and steer federal health policy onto a more conservative path. The five minutes Trump devoted to health care Tuesday night was largely a recitation of longtime Republican ideas that he has adopted, with an emphasis on removing the rules the Affordable Care Act placed on insurers to try to promote comprehensive health benefits.
Mr. Trump repeated his promise to overturn the 2010 health law, at a time when the party’s factions are threatening to withhold support for the effort if their demands aren’t met. He said a new health-care plan should ensure coverage for pre-existing conditions and minimize disruptions for people with coverage under Obamacare.
Trump backed the use of tax credits to help people purchase health insurance in a speech to Congress on Tuesday, the first time he signaled support for a key component of House Republican proposals to replace Obamacare. Republicans, who control the White House and Congress, are united in their opposition to former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 healthcare law, but have so far failed to agree on the details of how to replace it.
His vow to rewrite health policy epitomized the challenges ahead in turning rhetoric into reality. Trump promised to replace Obamacare “with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better healthcare.” The issue has vexed lawmakers from both parties who have struggled to provide both quality and access without driving up costs.
A claim by President Donald Trump from his speech to Congress and how it stacks up with the facts.
In what appeared to be a nod to governors who also met with the president this week, Trump called on Congress to give states resources and flexibility to tweak Medicaid as governors see fit. Finally, he returned to his campaign idea of allowing insurance be sold across state lines. “Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for America. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do,” he said.
Trump’s support for tax credits to help Americans buy health insurance takes aim at conservatives like Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker, R-N.C., and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who this week came out in opposition to a leaked draft plan that would provide tax credits to help Americans purchase coverage. The conservatives, who would rather rely on tax deductions, say the credits are akin to those in the health care law and amount to a “new health insurance entitlement.”
Trump embraced a key element of the emerging House GOP health plan, in comments that cheered Republican House leaders and could help bring conservatives back in line. … “We should help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts – but it must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by the government,” Trump said as he called on Republicans to make good on long-held promises to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law and replace it with something better.
Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) office seized on the comments. “In his address, President Trump embraced a health care replacement plan that, among other important reforms, includes a tax credit to help individuals buy a health plan that fits their needs,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong wrote in an email. “These comments demonstrate that the White House and Congress are coalescing around a particular approach that will help us keep our promise to the American people to repeal this broken law and replace it with a better system.”
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, has indicated a willingness to work with Republicans on Obamacare. He said he liked Trump’s tone, though he wished Trump had called to “repair” the law, as some more moderate Republicans have.
President Trump, as he has repeatedly in the past, said Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act is a disaster. “Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all Americans,” he said during his address to a joint session of Congress. This is a major exaggeration.
This year was definitely a rough year for Obamacare, with declining choice in plans and sharp price hikes seen around the country. But while the law may be on especially shaky ground in some places — the private markets in Tennessee and Oklahoma come to mind — that’s not the case everywhere. Other independent analysts have said there are signs that the health of the individual market is improving and the law is not in a so-called “death spiral.”
Addicts and mentally ill people who gained access to treatment programs for the first time as a result of the Obama-era health care law are worried about the consequences if it’s repealed as Trump calls for. Repeal could end coverage for 1.8 million people who have undergone addiction or mental health treatment, and cut $5.5 billion in spending on such services, according to estimates by economist Richard Frank, a former Obama administration official now at Harvard Medical School.