After railing against Obamacare as a “catastrophe” on the campaign trail, Donald Trump said that he is willing to keep parts of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law in place after conferring with him in the Oval Office.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal in a Friday interview that he wants to keep the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients pre-existing medical conditions, and allow children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they’re 26.
“I like those very much,” he said.
The President-elect had no such kind words about the Affordable Care Act as a candidate, insisting that a failure to “repeal and replace” the law “will destroy American health care forever.”
As TPM previously reported, Republicans will not be able to repeal the law full-stop despite their control of both branches of Congress because they lack the 60 votes to overcome a Senate filibuster. They will, however, be able to rely on the budget reconciliation process, which only requires 50 votes, to strip funding for the law’s Medicaid expansion program, insurance subsidies, and tax penalty mandate.
Both of the conditions that Trump wants to preserve, which are non-budgetary, would continue to stand. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) included both in his “Better Way” agenda.
This off-kilter system would strip away the incentives Obamacare put in place to push Americans to sign up for health insurance, and leave millions without coverage.
Still, Trump’s comments reflect a remarkable shift from his calls to repeal the law outright. He told the Wall Street Journal his conversation with the president prompted his softer stance.
“I told him I will look at his suggestions, and out of respect, I will do that,” he said. “Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced.”
In addition to moving “quickly” on Obamacare, Trump said other priorities include deregulating financial institutions, securing the border, and easing the tensions sparked by the bellicose campaign he waged through his plan to “bring in jobs.”
Asked if his rhetoric went too far during the election, the President-elect said, “No. I won.”