On Sunday, thousands of people attended rallies across the United States protesting Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If they’d only held off by a few hours, they would have realized there’s no reason to fear that millions of people will lose their health coverage, as Donald Trump has almost completed his secret plan to provide “insurance for everybody.”
It’s been nearly seven years since Republicans came up with the phrase “repeal and replace,” and while Congress just began the repeal process, they’ve never coalesced around a replacement plan. Trump has said surprisingly little about how he wants to overhaul the law he frequently calls a “disaster.” Ahead of last week’s vote, Senator Bob Corker had to ask the president-elect to “consider tweeting it out very clearly” whether or not he’s in favor of repealing and replacing the law simultaneously.
Now Trump has revealed to the Washington Post that he not only has a plan, but it’s solved conundrums that have long vexed health-care experts. Trump said his health-care strategy offers “lower numbers, much lower deductibles.” And it will be affordable. “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,” he said.
But specifically, what will Trumpcare look like? It’s unclear, but those covered under the new law “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better,” Trump explained.
He cautioned, however, that even if you like your plan under the Affordable Care Act, you can’t keep it. “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,” he said.
As he mentioned in his press conference last week, Trump thinks lowering drug prices is key to reducing health-care costs nationwide. When asked to explain how he’d persuade drug companies to go along, he said it would be “just like on the airplane,” referring to factually incorrect tweets about canceling a nonexistent “order” for a new Air Force One jet.
Trump did not say how his plan differs from the proposal put forward by House Republicans last year, but he said he’d unveil his strategy alongside House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He’s just waiting for the confirmation of his Health and Human Services secretary (whose Senate hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet).
While some may be skeptical that Trump actually came up with a comprehensive plan to replace Obamacare, which took 15 months to implement, in a matter of weeks, he assured the Post that it’s “very much formulated down to the final strokes.”
And Republican lawmakers better be ready to get onboard. “I think we will get approval. I won’t tell you how, but we will get approval,” Trump declared. “You see what’s happened in the House in recent weeks,” he added, referring to the backlash against the GOP’s effort to gut the House ethics office earlier this month, which may have been influenced by a Trump tweet.
So to sum up, Trump’s Obamacare replacement is definitely not imaginary, it will allow every American to be “beautifully covered,” and presidential Twitter bullying will be key to its implementation. Trump must be confident that all of this will come to pass. If not, why tie himself to the arduous Obamacare reform effort with a memorable promise like “insurance for everybody”?