Trump says his team will put forward ObamaCare plan
President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday that his administration will put forward a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare “essentially simultaneously.”
“We’re going to be submitting, as soon as our secretary is approved, almost simultaneously, shortly thereafter, a plan,” Trump said, referring to his pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.). “It will be repeal and replace.
“It will be essentially simultaneously,” Trump said of the repeal plan. “It will be various segments, you understand, but it will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably the same day, it could be the same hour.”
Trump’s announcement that his administration will put forward its own plan could provide some more guidance to the process. Congressional Republicans have so far been trying to come together on a replacement plan.
Calling for an almost simultaneous replacement plan is a faster timetable than congressional leaders have put forward. Top Republicans in Congress are pushing forward with repeal of the law before having a replacement ready.
“I believe that President-elect Trump’s timeline is a tighter timeline than our leadership was speaking about a month ago,” Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), an early Trump backer, said after the comments Wednesday.
Congressional leaders have pointed to a step-by-step replacement process that would include some regulatory actions by the Trump administration.
However, if Trump follows through with putting forward a full replacement plan, it could jump-start the effort in Congress.
“If he’s able to actually present a comprehensive plan that he says, ‘I would sign this into law,’ that would shorten the cycle a lot because we have six or eight plans,” Collins said.
Trump did not give any details of what his replacement plan will look like.
Democrats are pointing to the 20 million people who have gained coverage under ObamaCare. Republican leaders have not said if their plan will cover at least as many people.
Waiting for Price to be confirmed could delay the process somewhat, though Trump still appears to be pushing for a quick repeal of ObamaCare.
Price’s first confirmation hearing is scheduled for next week.
Trump added that he thought about doing nothing on ObamaCare, predicting that it would collapse on its own and Democrats would then “come begging to us” to fix it.
“It was a thought from a political standpoint but it wouldn’t be fair to the people, we could sit back and wait and watch and criticize,” Trump said.
“We don’t want to own it politically,” he added. “They own it right now.”
Democrats point to ObamaCare sign-up numbers that are holding steady for next year and even slightly higher than last year to counter the idea that the law is collapsing.
Some idea of what the Trump administration’s replacement plan could look like could come from the plan that Price already put forward as a congressman last year.
That proposal echoed many Republican plans in calling for tax credits to help people afford coverage. However, the tax credits would be based on a person’s age, not their income, meaning low-income people would not get a boost in their assistance, in contrast to what they receive under ObamaCare.
Republicans envision more limited financial assistance allowing people to buy cheaper, narrower coverage that covers fewer things.
Price’s plan would also protect people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage if they are switching from one plan to another. People who are uninsured and signing up for the first time could be denied coverage for 18 months or charged 50 percent higher premiums.
Republicans say this system is an incentive for people to get and keep coverage without using a mandate to have insurance.
ObamaCare defenders saw an upside in Trump’s plan to put forward a simultaneous replacement of his own, hoping it would be the end of Republican congressional leaders’ plan to repeal the law before putting forward a replacement.
“This presumably ends the Republican congressional leadership’s irresponsible attempt to repeal the ACA without any guidance about what would replace it,” Ron Pollack, executive director of liberal advocacy group Families USA, said in a statement after Trump’s comments.
This story was updated at 2:23 p.m.
More Healthcare News
Equilibrium & Sustainability
See all Hill.TV See all Video