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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday released a plan to reform the U.S. health care system, titled "Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again."
Details of the proposal
According to The Hill, Trump's plan largely aligns with other Republican proposals for health care reform.
For example, Trump's plan would fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the law's individual mandate. However, the plan says it would ensure "no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance" by "review[ing] basic options for Medicaid and work[ing] with states."
The plan also would reduce barriers to selling insurance across state lines. Under the ACA, insurers can sell plans across state lines only if states have formed compacts allowing them to do so.
According to Trump's proposal, such a change would allow for "full competition" in the insurance market, which it says could drive down costs and increase consumer satisfaction. The proposal says that health plans sold across state lines would be required to comply with state requirements.
In addition, the plan would expand the ability of Americans to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to cover out-of-pocket health care costs. Under the plan, individuals' contributions to HSAs would be exempt from taxes and could be passed on to heirs without tax penalties.
Further, the plan would:
Allow U.S. residents to deduct health insurance premiums from their income taxes;
Overhaul U.S. mental health care programs;
Require all health care providers to post prices of medical procedures to allow consumers "to shop to find the best prices;" and
Turn Medicaid into a block grant program for states.
Trump's plan also would allow the United States to import prescription drugs from other countries as a way to increase competition and drive down costs, a proposal that has been touted by some Democrats.
In addition, Trump's plan calls for tougher enforcement of immigration laws to help keep down U.S. health care costs. The plan says that "providing health care to illegal immigrants costs [the United States] some $11 billion annually," adding, "If we were to simply enforce the current immigration laws and restrict the unbridled granting of visas to this country, we could relieve health care cost pressures on state and local governments."
Trump's plan does not mention allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, a policy he previously touted on the campaign trail (Sullivan, The Hill, 3/2; Walsh, Reuters, 3/3; Kliff, Vox, 3/2; National Conference of State Legislatures report, December 2015; Trump health care plan, March 2015).
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