Here's what Trump said about healthcare in the State of the Union

Emily Rappleye (Twitter) - Print  | 

President Donald Trump's 2020 State of the Union address focused heavily on healthcare.

Here are five key takeaways with context:

He celebrated some wins: President Trump named new initiatives and funding for kidney care and Alzheimer's, as well as wins related to the opioid crisis. "Drug overdose deaths declined for the first time in nearly 30 years," he said. The CDC recently reported a 4.1 percent drop in fatal drug overdoses from 2017-18. This was due to a drop in fatal overdoses related to heroin, natural and semisynthetic opioids, and methadone. Fatal overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl continue to rise.

He underscored some big goals: President Trump reiterated a commitment to eliminating HIV over the next decade and called for $50 million more in funding for neonatal research. "Our goal should be to ensure that every baby has the best chance to thrive and grow," he said.

He made some controversial claims: "I've also made an ironclad pledge to American families: We will always protect patients with preexisting conditions," President Trump said. This drew immediate backlash from Democrats, who pointed out the administration's support of a lawsuit that would dismantle the ACA and its associated protections for patients with preexisting conditions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., could be seen shaking her head from her seat behind the president. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called this statement "a flat-out lie" on Twitter.

President Trump also mentioned his efforts to increase price transparency by requiring hospitals to disclose negotiated rates with insurers: "Many experts believe that transparency, which will go into full effect at the beginning of next year, will be even bigger than healthcare reform." Four major hospital associations are currently suing HHS to block this rule.

He promised to approve legislation to lower drug prices: "Get a bill on my desk, and I will sign it into law without delay," he said, noting that he has been working with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on such legislation, a reference to a bill by Mr. Grassley and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Democrats in the audience chanted "H.R. 3" when President Trump made this promise, in reference to a more sweeping bill proposed by House Democrats, The Hill reports. H.R. 3 was passed by the House in December, but U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and President Trump have repeatedly said they would block it from becoming a law.

He took a swipe at "Medicare for All" and the Democratic presidential candidates: "To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American healthcare," he said, referring to single-payer plans proposed by Democrats. The plans would "subsidize free care for anyone in the world who unlawfully crosses our borders," he added. "These proposals would raid the Medicare benefits of our seniors and that our seniors depend on, while acting as a powerful lure for illegal immigration."

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has proposed a single-payer plan that promises to provide health insurance coverage regardless of immigration status. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has agreed on this promise, and former Vice President Joe Biden said he would allow immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to buy health insurance via a public option, NBC reported.      

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