Jan 16, 2017 - Health

Between the lines: Trump's "insurance for everybody"

Evan Vucci / AP

Trump shook up the health care world Sunday when he told the Washington Post his Obamacare replacement plan will aim for "insurance for everybody."

But how seriously should we take that promise? Here's what to watch next:

  • Is he really aiming for high coverage numbers, since even Obamacare hasn't covered everybody? Or is he just saying he'll provide access for everybody? If it's just access, that's much more in line with Republican goals — though as he has proven with his attacks on the drug companies, he doesn't always walk the straight Republican line.
  • He says the health insurance will be in "much simplified form" and "much less expensive" — which likely means more flexibility for insurance companies to provide basic coverage, without all of the benefits they have to cover under Obamacare.
  • "Much less expensive" and "lower deductibles": That's a hard act to pull off in the same plan. His team may have found a solution, but there's usually a tradeoff between the monthly premiums you pay and the deductibles you pay out of pocket. If the premiums are lower, the deductibles are usually higher.
  • He says the plan is almost finished and he's going to announce it "soon" — but he also says he wants to wait until Tom Price is confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary, which isn't going to happen soon.

About those drug prices: Trump is making it clear he's serious about having Medicare negotiate drug prices — but he hasn't said how he'll get congressional Republicans on board, since most are opposed to the idea. That's something he'll have to do before drug companies should really get nervous.

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