Trump releases healthcare plan

Trump releases healthcare plan
© Greg Nash

Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump pledges federal help after deadly southern storms Meetings crowd Trump's first Monday in office Clinton: Photos from women’s march ‘awe-inspiring’ MORE on Wednesday released some details about his healthcare plan, an area where he has been criticized by his rivals for failing to outline a vision. 

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Trump’s plan largely follows standard Republican ideas, except for the area of prescription drugs, where he has taken positions more common with Democrats. 

First, the plan emphasizes that ObamaCare will be fully repealed, including the mandate for everyone to have coverage, an issue that has sparked criticism against Trump. 

Trump’s main ideas for a replacement are to allow health insurance to be sold across state lines and permit people to make tax-free contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). HSAs are paired with a high deductible health insurance plan and are intended to make people more conscious of how they spend health dollars and reduce costs. 

Both are standard Republican healthcare ideas. Experts say that both ideas are more in the realm of dealing with healthcare costs and would not do much to expand coverage for the people who would be losing it with the repeal of ObamaCare. 

"These proposals, including repeal of the [Affordable Care Act], would lead to a significant increase in the number of people uninsured," Larry Levitt, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which does nonpartisan healthcare analysis, wrote in an email. "In that sense, this plan really isn’t a replacement for the ACA. But that makes sense, since the aims are very different — less spending, less regulation, and lower taxes."

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Tillerson met with top State official: report MORE (R-Fla.) has proposed a refundable tax credit to help people afford coverage that could help expand the number of insured, though there is disagreement as to how much. Trump’s plan does not include such a tax credit, though he does propose a tax deduction, which tends to provide more limited help by reducing the taxes people owe rather than allowing for the possibility of actually getting money back in a refund. 

Like many Republicans, including Rubio, Trump also proposes to turn the Medicaid program into block grants to the states. Democrats tend to argue such a system would end up limiting the funds and reducing benefits, though Trump’s plan does not detail how big the block grants would be. 

The area of prescription drugs is where Trump breaks from most Republicans. His plan calls for allowing drugs to be imported from overseas to increase competition and drive down prices, an idea strongly opposed by pharmaceutical companies and favored by Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton: Photos from women’s march ‘awe-inspiring’ Ex-Clinton aide: Spicer should have resigned rather than lie Zuckerberg moves spark 2020 speculation MORE. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainIs McCain confident in Trump? ‘I do not know’ Schumer, Cardin to introduce legislation on Russia sanctions Graham says he will vote for Tillerson MORE (R-Ariz.) is also a rare Republican who supports the idea. 

Trump has also previously called for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, another common Democratic idea opposed by the industry. 

Finally, Trump pointed to the need for mental health reform, without providing details.

“There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support,” his plan states. 

It is unclear what exactly he is referring to, though both the House and Senate are working on mental health reform bills. 

Trump has been criticized by his rivals for his past support of single-payer healthcare, which is strongly opposed by Republicans. His plan on Wednesday instead emphasizes "free market principles."  

Trump’s plan says his principles are to “broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.”