Update 11/11/16: Since this story went to press, President-elect Trump revealed in an exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal that he will consider keeping parts of Obamacare in place. Namely, Trump may preserve the law’s prohibition on insurance companies denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and the provision to allow parents to cover children until they’re 26. “I like those very much,” Trump told the WSJ. Trump’s admission marks a significant reversal from the Republican agenda and his campaign’s platform, which headlined his intention to quickly and completely repeal the law.
Original story begins below:
In the whirlwind few days since Donald Trump’s election, his healthcare plans have gone through some serious editing—with a very red pen.
Trump’s central agenda item to repeal Obamacare and replace it—something the Republican establishment has long and desperately wanted—still stands firm. But other items have conspicuously disappeared and been replaced by core Republican agenda items.
Gone from the seven-point list (PDF) Trump put forth during his election campaign is a plan to allow the import of prescription medications. Also gone is a plan to require price transparency in healthcare, something the vast majority of Americans would likely support. There’s also no further mention of reforming mental health programs in the country or making individuals’ healthcare premiums tax-deductible.
Instead, the new top issues on Trump’s healthcare plan seem to fit with Republicans’ pro-life stance: to “protect individual conscience in healthcare” and “protect innocent human life from conception to natural death.” The former would shield doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who refuse to perform or offer services that conflict with their religious or personal beliefs. Such policies are most often used in relation to reproductive issues, such as dispensing of contraception or performing abortions.
Also freshly on the agenda is a plan to “modernize” Medicare, something Republicans, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have long sought. Ryan’s past plan involved providing Medicare beneficiaries with a chunk of money to purchase private health insurance or a government-run program.
Trump’s new agenda also includes a plan to simplify the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for new drugs and devices with the idea of getting those innovative products to patients faster. This has also long been a top priority for Republicans; the GOP-led House passed such legislation last year. Negotiations in the Senate are ongoing as Democrats have pushed back, arguing that there’s a critical need for regulations to ensure product safety.
Trump’s edited agenda “is certainly moving in the direction of traditional Republican thinking,” Gail Wilensky, a health-policy expert, told The Washington Post.