President Trump delivered his long-awaited speech on health care yesterday in Charlotte, NC, outlining both his administration’s accomplishments—an impressive list—and his plans for future actions.
His America First Health Plan is organized around the theme of “Empowering Americans to choose what coverage works best for them and their families, not what bureaucrats force them into.”
Many of the accomplishments he described were developed under the guidance of Galen Senior Fellow Brian Blase when he served as one of the president’s top health policy advisers in the White House—especially rules around price transparency, association health plans, short-term policies, and potentially-transformative Health Reimbursement Arrangements.
HRAs create a next-generation option for employer health benefits, making them more like 401Ks for health benefits and are “projected by the Department of the Treasury to reach 800,000 businesses and over 11 million employees and to expand coverage to more than 800,000 individuals who would otherwise be uninsured,” the Executive Order says.
Other accomplishments that get little coverage: Expanding health savings accounts. Improving the accessibility and availability of telehealth services. Improving the physical and communications healthcare infrastructure available to rural Americans. And more.
There is a big difference between the approach the president is taking that that of the left, explaining some of the criticism of his plan.
Trump’s agenda is mostly organized around identifying problems and targeting solutions—focusing on opioid abuse, making insulin more affordable for diabetics, and keeping premiums for Medicare plans and Part D drug coverage low.
The administration’s actions also have led to a decrease in benchmark premiums for individual insurance in the ACA exchanges in 2019 after they more than doubled under the Obama administration.
All of this favors choice, competition, consumer empowerment, and innovation.
Perhaps the campaign can quicken around the contrast between the visions of the candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s reform plan would lead to massive changes in the individual health insurance market, making it difficult or impossible for private plans to compete against his proposed government-run and taxpayer-funded health plan, the “public option.”
The president also focused on prescription drug prices, signaling it continues to be a top concern of voters as they head to the polls.