Trump backs GOP plan against Obamacare despite scepticism in Congress

Washington, March 8 (IANS) The Donald Trump administration on Tuesday backed the proposal Republican lawmakers presented to replace the healthcare reform law signed in 2010 by former President Barack Obama, despite the scepticism the plan has aroused among some lawmakers.

After Trump confirmed on Twitter that “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made an appearance before reporters at the White House to defend the efforts to repeal Obamacare, EFE news reported.

“Our goal is absolutely to make certain that individuals have the opportunity to select their physician,” emphasised Price.

“In terms of premiums, we believe strongly through this whole process and as it takes effect that we’ll see a decrease in not only the premiums that individuals will see, but a decrease in the cost of healthcare for folks,” Price said.

Upon being asked about the monicker “Trumpcare” being used to designate the Republican proposal presented on Monday and contained in two bills, Price said he preferred to call it “Patientcare”.

That proposal has been long awaited after the repeated promises by Republican lawmakers since 2010 to repeal and replace Obamacare, including its subsidies to help people acquire health insurance and to expand Medicaid.

The new plan ends the requirement that uninsured individuals obtain health insurance or face a fine.

The GOP plan, sponsored by Republican Congressmen Greg Walden and Kevin Brady, also intends to create a system of tax credits to provide incentives to people to buy health insurance, and it exempts companies from having to offer alternative coverage to their employees.

However, the proposal has already encountered detractors among Republican ranks. On the one hand, more moderate congressmen whose states benefited from Obamacare are coming out against the GOP plan and, on the other, the most conservative Republicans such as Senator Rand Paul, say they see it as “Obamacare Lite”.

“This is a work in progress,” EFE news quoted Price as saying regarding the government’s aim to work with the more sceptical lawmakers.

Price also said that the majority of citizens will see no “significant change” in their coverage and that the goal is for patients to have the option to select their own doctors, as well as to give more flexibility to states to manage their insurance markets.

Once again, on Twitter, Trump on Tuesday sought to minimise concerns about the new plan by saying that there will be further legislative action so that people can buy health insurance across state lines “in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout”.

“I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!” Trump added in another tweet, sending shares of pharmaceutical firms lower on Wall Street.

–IANS

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