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Trump vows ‘insurance for everybody,’ but doesn’t mention specifics

The president-elect says his plan will make health care in America 'much less expensive and much better.'


Andrew Couts


Published Jan 16, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 5:01 am CDT

President-elect Donald Trump has an ambitious plan to replace Obamacare with something far more expansive.

In an interview with the Washington Post over the weekend, Trump said his plan to replace Obama’s signature health care law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, will aim to provide “insurance for everybody” and that health care will be “much less expensive and much better.”

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “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.”

Trump did not lay out specifics of the plan, which he said is “very much formulated down to the final strokes,” but he indicated that part of it involves shaming pharmaceutical companies into offering drugs at lower costs under Medicare and Medicaid. To do this, he’ll blast them on his Twitter account, “just like on the airplane”—a reference to his tweets about Boeing’s development of a new Air Force One aircraft and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet program. In both instances, the companies said they would lower costs.

“They’re politically protected, but not anymore,” Trump said of the drug companies.

While Trump rejected the idea of a single-payer plan, he vowed that his plan would ensure Americans are “beautifully covered” under his legislation.

“It’s not going to be their plan,” Trump said of people covered under Obamacare. “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.”

Trump’s statements to the Post echo his September 2015 interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, in which he promised to “take care of everybody,” and that he’s “going to make a deal” with hospitals to have health care costs covered for those without insurance. “The government’s gonna pay for it,” Trump said.

Trump also warned Congress not to delay in rolling out his agenda, which also involves building a wall on the U.S.–Mexico border. “The Congress can’t get cold feet because the people will not let that happen,” Trump told the Post

The House and Senate, both controlled by Republicans, each passed budget resolutions last week that set in motion the repeal of Obamacare. (Not a single Democrat voted for either piece of legislation.) Republican leaders have promised to “repeal and replace” the health care law, but have so far failed to offer a replacement. An estimated 30 million Americans would lose their health insurance if Obamacare simply disappeared.

While Republicans have pushed a plan that provides “universal access” to health insurance—as opposed to “universal coverage”—it seems unlikely that conservative lawmakers would support a plan that, based on the scant facts provided by Trump so far, would greatly expand the U.S. government’s role in the health insurance industry and health care more broadly. But Trump is confident.

“I think we will get approval,” Trump told the Post. “I won’t tell you how, but we will get approval. You see what’s happened in the House in recent weeks.”

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*First Published: Jan 16, 2017, 3:29 am CST