In his first address before a joint session of Congress, President Trump on Tuesday night called on lawmakers to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with reforms that provide Americans with expanded choice, increased access, lower costs as well as better healthcare.
“Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for our country,” Trump told members of the House and Senate. “The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the costs of health insurance—and that is what we are going to do.”
According to Trump, ACA premiums nationwide have increased by double and triple digits. In the case of Arizona, he said premiums last year in that state grew by 116 percent.
Trump contended that former President Obama’s signature legislation is “unsustainable and collapsing” because health insurers are exiting the individual insurance market, leaving Americans with no choices for coverage.
The President laid out the principles that “should guide Congress” as it works to repeal and replace the ACA:
- Ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage and that there is a stable transition for those currently enrolled in the healthcare exchanges.
- Tax credits and expanded health savings accounts should be made available to help Americans purchase their own health coverage, “the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our government.”
- State governors should be given the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to “make sure no one is left out.”
- Legal reforms should be implemented that protect both patients and physicians from “unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance” and “work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs.”
- Americans should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines to “create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care.”
“Obamacare is collapsing and we must act decisively to protect all Americans,” Trump said. “Action is not a choice; it is a necessity. So, I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding Obamacare disaster.”
In response to Trump’s address, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told CNN the “ACA is working” and should remain the law, although Congress should “maybe make some changes.” Schumer added that congressional Republicans and the White House “are in a total pickle—they can’t put a plan together” to repeal and replace Obamacare.
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