Trump Firm on Competitive Bids for Medicare Drugs, New Health Plan

Trump repeats his pledges: new health plan, competitive bids on Medicare drugs.

President-Elect Donald Trump renewed his threat to make pharmaceutical companies compete when setting prices for Medicare and Medicaid drugs. In a phone interview with Washington Post reporters published January 15, Trump also said he has a specific plan for health coverage that would mean "insurance for everybody."

According to the newspaper's account, the plan involves "lower numbers, much lower deductibles" and that its specifics will soon be revealed

He added that people who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act would still be insured, but “It’ll be another plan. But they'll be beautifully covered. I don't want single-payer. What I want to do is to be able to take care of people,” he said in the interview. There were no further details.

The stage was set for a new plan with votes last week by both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate to no longer fund the Affordable Care Act.

As for the Trump pledge to enact competitive bidding for Medicare drugs, in the interview he said he was unconcerned that the bidding could reduce pharma profits by billions of dollars.

"I don't care. I want to do it right or not at all," he told the newspaper. He also said he wants pharma to do more drug production in US facilities.

Trump reiterated his plan to disclose the proposal once his choice to head Health and Human Services is confirmed. A confirmation hearing has not yet been scheduled. His nominee is Rep. Tom Price, MD, a Conservative Republican whose positions would reverse many trends. He opposes abortion rights, supports de-funding Planned Parenthood, would limit in-vitro fertilization and further restrict stem cell research--all positions that have alarmed many physicians.

The American Medical Association has endorsed the Price nomination but a physician protest group has denounced the AMA choice, saying the AMA does not speak for thousands of doctors who have joined their group, the Clinician Action Network.

Price had earlier endorsed a plan that would provide people with a subsidy and then let them buy coverage. The minimum amount Price proposed was $1,200 a year, which is less that the monthly cost of some family coverage plans sold on the private market, but there is no suggestion as yet that Trump favors such a proposal.

The Washington Post article is entitled ”Trump Vows 'Insurance for Everybody' in Obamacare Replacement Plan."

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