President Trump unveiled his long-awaited historic “America First” health care plan Thursday, a series of executive orders aimed at providing Americans affordable, high-quality health care while banning surprise medical billing and affirming to protect those with preexisting conditions.
“Today, I will lay out my vision for a healthcare system that puts patients first, families first, and perhaps most importantly for all of us — America first,” Trump said in remarks before signing the Executive Order in Charlotte, North Carolina Thursday afternoon. “Under the America First Healthcare Plan, we will ensure the highest standard of care anywhere in the world, cutting-edge treatments, state-of-the-art medicine, groundbreaking cures, and true health security for you and your loved ones.”
“My plan expands affordable insurance options, reduces the cost of prescription drugs, will end surprise medical billing, increases fairness through price transparency, streamlines bureaucracy, accelerates innovation, strongly protects Medicare, and always protects patients with preexisting conditions,” Trump added.
The healthcare plan has three pillars of critical reforms — “more choice” for health care options, “lower costs for families and seniors,” and “better care for American patients.”
“The first pillar of my plan is more choice — more choice for the American patients,” Trump outlined. “Under our plan, you’ll have the freedom to shop for the option that is right for you and your family. These options include new, affordable choices that cost up to 60 percent less than Obamacare.”
The second pillar, Trump said will “lower costs for families and seniors” that will include vital “price transparency” reforms and creates “true competition in healthcare.”
“For years, patients have been shocked to receive unexpected bills for thousands of dollars in medical services they never agreed to,” Trump said. “The first America First Healthcare Plan bans this deeply unfair practice. We will end surprise medical billing. The days of ripping off American patients are over.”
He added, “For the first time ever, we will create true competition in healthcare. Both hospitals and insurance companies will be required to post all of their prices online. This transformative policy will allow you to see your exact out-of-pocket costs before you go for treatment, making it easy to shop for the best price.”
Trump said the final pillar entails “better care for American patients.”
“The historic action I’m taking today includes the first-ever executive order to affirm it is the official policy of the United States government to protect patients with preexisting conditions,” Trump said. “Any healthcare reform legislation that comes to my desk from Congress must protect the preexisting conditions or I won’t sign it. And I made that pledge and I made that pledge last week, but now I’m making it in writing.”
Trump also promised to send seniors $200 drug discount cards to “33 million Medicare beneficiaries” in the upcoming weeks to help cover the cost of prescription drug co-pays. The cards will be carried out through a Medicare program, a move that would bypass Congress.
During his remarks, Trump railed against his presidential rival Joe Biden’s health care plan that he said would “healthcare system, collapse our hospitals, and destroy Medicare.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters on a press call prior to Trump unveiling his healthcare vision the executive orders will “address two problems” — the “ability to secure insurance if they have preexisting conditions and their risk of receiving surprise bills from hospitals.”
In June, The Trump administration filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court that seeks to overturn the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. The court will hear arguments on the fate of the ACA a week before Election Day.
“We are joining in a lawsuit to end this ill-conceived plan. I’m in court to terminate this really, really terrible situation,” Trump stated. “If we win, we will have a better and less expensive plan that will always protect individuals with preexisting conditions.”
Azar confirmed to reporters if the Supreme Court “strikes out all or a large part” of the ACA, Trump’s executive order is “making a clear, defined statement of United States policy that people with preexisting conditions are protected,” while working with Congress to cement a new policy that makes sure those with preexisting conditions insurance coverage are also protected.
The Trump campaign in a statement blasted Biden proposed plan, saying it’s “proof that Obamacare was a colossal failure.”
“The fact that Joe Biden even has a healthcare proposal is proof that Obamacare was a colossal failure from the beginning. Premiums went through the roof, choices dwindled, and people suffered under the twin lies that they could keep their doctors and their existing healthcare plans,” Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “Biden’s new proposal would lead to a government takeover of the entire healthcare system and would end with the elimination of employer-provided health insurance for 180 million Americans.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) labeled Trump’s executive order, as a “bogus order” not even “worth the paper it’s signed on.”
“President Trump’s bogus executive order on pre-existing conditions isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It is an insult to every family with someone with a pre-existing condition that President Trump thinks he can get away with this farce while he races a justice onto the Supreme Court to strike down the lifesaving protections enshrined into law by the Affordable Care Act. If President Trump cared at all about people with pre-existing conditions, he would drop his lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic.”