US President-elect Donald Trump is ready to repeal and replace his predecessor’s signature healthcare reform law, better known as Obamacare, with a plan that will ensure every American was insured, addressing the chief concern of critics.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post, he also said work was nearly complete on his plan to cut taxes all around, with corporate tax down as close as possible to 15%, a move Indian companies with US operations will be keenly watching.
President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act, has been in the crosshairs of Republicans mostly on ideological grounds and Trump, who takes charge on Friday, had promised to make its repeal among his first tasks in office.
At Obama’s request, Trump had agreed to take another look at the law for elements he might want to retain. But it’s not clear if he did, as he gave no details of his plan to the Post. He did promise though that everyone will be covered.
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said in the interview, recorded on Saturday. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
Obama’s driving motivation behind the health care overhaul was to extend coverage to include all Americans. And 20 million of those previously uncovered were brought under the umbrella through a carrot-and-stick approach.
Supporters of the Act, which was signed into law in 2010 and rolled out over 2013 and 2014, worried that its repeal and replacement will leave those Americans, mostly those who can’t afford it, without coverage once again.
Trump promised insurance for all, but without details. Grounds for the law’s repeal has already been prepared with both chambers of US congress, which are in the control of Republicans, voting it down in recent days.
And the president-elect has been cheering them on from the sidelines. “The ‘Unaffordable’ Care Act will soon be history!” he wrote in a Twitter post last Friday, after the House of Representatives voted to start dismantling the law.
In the Post interview, Trump spoke also about forcing pharmaceutical companies to cut prices as part of making health affordable, a move that could test the powerful drugs lobby that has been attacking India over IPR issues for years.
About his tax plan, Trump said in the interview, “It’ll probably be 15 to 20% for corporations. For individuals, probably lower. Great middle-class tax cuts.” He added the corporation tax could be “as close to 15% as we can”.
To American companies still planning to sell US products manufactured abroad, Trump reiterated his threat to impose a forbidding 35% duty, which has already made some companies such as Carrier and Ford drop their plans.