Trump's State of the Union address: 3 healthcare takeaways

Ayla Ellison (Twitter | Google+) - Print  | 

In his State of the Union address Feb. 5, President Donald Trump touched on several health policy issues and reiterated his desire to lower healthcare costs.

Three takeaways:

1. Price transparency. During the State of the Union address, President Trump said more transparency in the healthcare industry would increase competition and bring costs down. He called on hospitals, drug companies and insurers to "disclose real prices."

"I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients," he said. "We should also require drug companies, insurance companies and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs down."

2. Drug costs. President Trump said he wanted Congress to take action to lower drug costs.

"It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place," he said. "This is wrong, unfair, and together we will stop it. We will stop it fast."

President Trump didn't say how he wanted to achieve this goal, but his administration recently released a proposal to lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. Under the proposed rule, drug manufacturers would no longer be able to give rebates to pharmacy benefit managers, but they would be allowed to offer discounted prices directly to consumers.

3. Plan to curb HIV. During the State of the Union, President Trump pledged to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S.

"In recent years we have made remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Scientific breakthroughs have brought a once-distant dream within reach," he said. "My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years."

HHS Secretary Alex Azar provided more details on the plan, saying the goal is to reduce new infections by 75 percent over a five-year period and to "end the HIV epidemic in America" by 2030, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Azar said the funds requested by top health officials to achieve this goal will be in President Trump's budget next month, according to The Washington Post.

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