Just two days after both the House and Senate passed a budget resolution clearing the way to repeal and replace Obamacare, the President-elect has told the Washington Post that his replacement bill is nearly complete and envisions "insurance for everybody." Although no specific timeline was given for the announcement of legislation, the CR passed by Congress last week gives the various committees until January 27th to present a bill. Per Reuters:
"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 told the Post, adding he was waiting for his nominee for health and human services secretary, Tom Price, to be confirmed.
The plan, he said, would include "lower numbers, much lower deductibles," without elaborating.
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
“It’ll be another plan. But they’ll be beautifully covered. I don’t want single-payer. What I do want is to be able to take care of people,” he added.
Meanwhile, taking a similar approach to his efforts with Boeing and Lockheed Martin to lower costs, Trump vowed to bring down drug prices by forcing big Pharma companies to negotiate directly with the government for Medicare and Medicaid pricing.
Moving ahead, Trump said that lowering drug prices is central to reducing health-care costs nationally — and that he will make it a priority as he uses his bully pulpit to shape policy. When asked how exactly he would force drug manufacturers to comply, Trump said that part of his approach would be public pressure “just like on the airplane,” a nod to his tweets about Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet, which Trump said was too costly.
Trump waved away the suggestion that such activity could lead to market volatility on Wall Street. “Stock drops and America goes up,” he said. “I don’t care. I want to do it right or not at all.” He added that drug companies “should produce” more products in the United States.
The question of whether the government should start negotiating how much it pays drugmakers for older Americans on Medicare has long been a partisan dispute, ever since the 2003 law that created Medicare drug benefits prohibited such negotiations.
"They’re politically protected but not anymore,” he said.
Of course, as we mentioned last week, Kellyanne Conway hinted that the Pharma industry would be in the crosshairs of Trump's new healthcare law, telling Bloomberg that "to repeal and replace Obamacare without having a conversation about drug pricing seems like not a reasonable prospect."
Without giving a timeline, Trump said that he expects Republicans in Congress to work quickly to pass his new healthcare legislation and threatened that any splintering of the Republican party would be met with an aggressive appeal directly to the American people to put pressure on their Congressmen.
Trump said he expects Republicans in Congress to move quickly and in unison in the coming weeks on other priorities as well, including enacting sweeping tax cuts and beginning the building of a wall along the Mexican border.
Trump warned Republicans that if the party splinters or slows his agenda, he is ready to use the power of the presidency — and Twitter — to usher his legislation to passage.
“The Congress can’t get cold feet because the people will not let that happen,” Trump said during the interview with The Post.
Of course, as we've said before, while Democrats and some Republicans will certainly fight it, whatever bill is introduced by the Trump administration will almost certainly be better than the status quo.