In an interview with the Washington Post published on Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump promised health insurance “for everybody.”
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump told the Post. “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.”
The comments came just days after Congress voted to begin repealing key aspects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 51-48 to approve the measures to repeal on Thursday, and the Republican-controlled House voted 227-198 to do the same on Friday, Reuters reports.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 11, 2017
So far, the move to do away with the Affordable Care Act is focused on “budget reconciliation,” which will allow the Republicans to act without the risk of a filibuster by side-stepping the standard processes for passing a piece of legislation, Forbes explains.
As Republicans voted to gut the ACA, they also shot down several amendments introduced by Democrats that would have kept some basic safeguards in place to protect those who would be left most vulnerable by repealing portions of the ACA.
Some of the safeguards proposed aimed to protect access to mental health care, avoid cuts to Medicare that could increase out-of-pocket expenses for senior citizens, prevent insurance companies from discriminating against women and continue to prohibit providers from discriminating against individuals based on pre-existing health conditions.
Forbes noted that repealing the ACA now without establishing an alternative in its place would result in 22-30 million Americans becoming uninsured.
“Show us the beef, show us the alternative,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said after the Congressional vote, according to Politico.
While Republicans have led the drive to repeal the ACA, there is still some trepidation about the move among GOP lawmakers.
“I don’t think you want to be a Republican and go home and say I voted against the first step in repealing Obamacare, because I wasn’t sure what the last step would be,” Rep. Tom Cole, a senior Republican from Oklahoma, said according to Politico. “I think that’s a pretty weak position, and I think most of our members know that.”
Indeed, the move could cause some tension between Republicans in Congress and their rank-and-file supporters. Millions of rural families in traditionally Republican states and districts are on the Affordable Care Rosters. Stripping them of their coverage could cause dissent in a foundational demographic of the Republican Party that they will need come election time in 2020.
Trump’s interview with WaPo seems to have betrayed this anxiety, with his insistence that there will be a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act and his promise that all Americans will have health insurance.
Trump did not offer many specifics about what the new plan might look like, except by way of explaining what it would not be.
“It’s not going to be their plan,” Trump told the Washington Post, referring to people covered under the current law.
“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.”
— Jorge Santiago, Jr. (@JSantiagoHTX) January 4, 2017
One idea hinted at by Trump involves making pharmaceutical companies negotiate directly with Medicaid and Medicare in order to cut costs. In the past he has also mentioned eliminating barriers to interstate trade in health insurance, the argument being that if insurance companies could bypass individual state laws, it would make the market more favorable to consumers by increasing competition among insurance companies.
The details of the ideas for replacing the Affordable Care Act, or Trump’s health insurance policy as a whole, have not been released yet.
[Featured image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]