President-elect Donald Trump has an Obamacare replacement plan coming soon and it will provide “insurance for everybody,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post late Saturday. He also said he intended to negotiate drug prices with Medicaid and Medicare providers, putting him at odds with most Republicans on the issue.
It’s unclear how his plans for an Affordable Care Act alternative fit into the discussions currently underway among GOP lawmakers, who are rushing to repeal the law without a consensus replacement. Many Hill Republicans have been squeamish about saying whether their replacement would have similar or greater coverage levels as the Affordable Care Act.
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump told the Washington Post. “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.”
He added that under his plan, people “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said lawmakers planned to take a bottom-up approach to replacing Obamacare in piece-meal fashion through the committee process, but according to the Post, Trump said his plan was nearly ready and that he was confident it would pass Congress.
“I think we will get approval. I won’t tell you how, but we will get approval. You see what’s happened in the House in recent weeks,” Trump said, pointing to the kerfuffle when House leaders had to withdraw plans to gut Office of Congressional Ethics after Trump tweeted against the idea.
Even the few details Trump provided about his plan — “lower numbers, much lower deductibles,” according to the Post — cut against many of the GOP proposals that have been put forward over the years that have offered skimpier plans with higher out-of-pocket costs.
“It’s not going to be their plan,” Trump told the Post, referring to the people covered under the current law. “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.”
As for negotiating drug prices, he said of pharmaceutical companies, “They’re politically protected, but not anymore.”
Asked about Trump’s comments on the Today Show Monday morning, incoming White House communications director Sean Spicer denied that what Trump was promising amounted to an expansion of government’s role in health care, which Republicans generally oppose, while attempting to fit Trump’s remarks into typical GOP talking points.
“There’s a lot of ways that we can bring the cost and access to health care way down to ensure that people actually get additional plans to chose from, more doctors in the system and health care at a much cheaper option than it is currently,” Spicer said.