Wednesday, January 31, 2018

President Outlines Health Care 2018 Priorities

Drew Thies

President Trump gave his first State of the Union Tuesday night, setting the stage for the primary health care issues the administration wants to address this year. Key priorities included the opioid crisis and rising drug prices, while no reference was made to further changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Trump highlighted the health care component of the tax bill, the repeal of the individual mandate, passed in late 2017, saying, “we repealed the core of disastrous ObamaCare.” 

The president, however, stopped short of asking for further rollback of the signature health care law. In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Trump called for a full “repeal and replace” of the ACA. While the fee for not purchasing health insurance is repealed, other major components of the law remain intact, including the Medicaid expansion, insurance exchanges and consumer protections.

Trump also stated, “one of [his] greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs.” He said his administration will be dedicated to “fixing the injustice of high drug prices” but offered little more in terms of what kinds of policy the administration will enact.

The president renewed his focus on the opioid crisis, and said he’s “committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need.” In August, Trump called the opioid epidemic a national emergency, a declaration which freed up $57,000 from the U.S.’s Public Health Emergency Fund.

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