Last night, President Trump, in a speech to Congress, discussed health care but offered no new insight into his Administration’s plans concerning the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and Medicare. A day after noting that “nobody knew health care could be so complicated”, the President stated "[t]onight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better health care."
The policy options he outlined, however, similar to proposals offered by Congressional leadership, would not achieve those goals. The Affordable Care Act would be replaced by reforms such as tax credits and the use of health savings accounts (HSAs), providing “access” to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, and further promotion of selling insurance across state lines. As we have highlighted elsewhere, such proposals would move the country’s health care backwards. While Medicare was not specifically addressed in his speech, the President did raise the need to address the high cost of prescription drugs – an endeavor we would support. Omitted, however, was the fact that Medicare and Medicaid would both be impacted by repeal of the Affordable Care Act.