Dive Brief:

  • President Donald Trump outlined five principles he wants to see enacted for healthcare reform during a speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening.
  • Trump called on all Democrats and Republicans to work together over healthcare going forward.
  • “Action is not a choice but a necessity,” Trump said. “Why not join forces and get the job done.”

Dive Insight:

Trump put in a tall order to Congress for healthcare reform.

The president outlined five principles to Congress for moving forward on healthcare:

  1. Ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage, and that we have a stable transition for Americans currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.
  2. Help Americans purchase their own coverage, through the use of tax credits and expanded health savings accounts.
  3. Give state governors resources and flexibility with Medicaid.
  4. Implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs.
  5. Give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines.

“Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed,” Trump stated.

There’s a lot to unpack there but let’s start with what Trump stated earlier this week: Healthcare is complicated.

It could be interpreted as a plea or a mandate but the call for Democrats and Republicans to work together sends a strong indicator that Trump knows ACA repeal-and-replace is on shaky ground. For one, the ACA’s┬ápopularity has risen in the polls since Trump took office and GOP members have a lack of consensus what to actually replace the ACA with.

Still, Trump’s principles give insight on what he is looking for: Giving healthcare access to Americans while holding to the deeply-held Republican ideas of beefing up health savings accounts, selling insurance across state lines and tinkering with Medicaid.

In Trump’s fourth principle, he flirts with the idea of medical tort reform (the idea care givers are too cautious of care because they are afraid of being sued for malpractice) but sent a clear signal to the pharmaceutical industry that he wants to see change because drug prices are too high.

Many lobbying groups and power influencers have varying interests in each of those principles. Now it’s Congress’ turn to get it done. It remains to be seen how long it will take Congress to deliver on Trump’s marching orders if it is able to do so.

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