(CNN) – On the campaign trail, Donald Trump’s plan to replace Obamacare was for many months a study in generalities: it would be cheaper, it would be better…”It’ll be a beautiful thing to see.” However, now more details are emerging, and it looks very much like a work in progress.
Some cornerstone ideas have been around a while such as his call to “modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines.” Trump said, “So instead of having one insurance company taking care of New York or Texas you’ll have many. They’ll compete and it will be a beautiful thing.”
Skeptics’ fear that could lead to regulatory gaps which might once again leave folks with chronic illnesses uninsured, a claim Trump dismisses; “Obama lied…Remember this.”
(Anderson Cooper: “Will people with pre-existing conditions be able to get insurance?”) Trump replied, “Yes.” Still, his online plan for healthcare reform makes no mention of those people.
Another evolving detail, CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash said, “The insurance companies say the only way they can cover people with pre-existing conditions is to have a mandate requiring everybody to purchase health insurance. Are they wrong?” Trump replied, “I think they’re wrong 100 percent.”
However, it’s not clear yet how his plan would answer such industry concerns, nor how he would address the cost of trashing Obamacare, which a new bipartisan analysis puts at $350-billion over 10 years.
His team said maybe it won’t all have to go. Trump Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway said, “He is committed to retaining those pieces that his advisors will say are working…”
Under the Trump proposal, insurance premiums would be tax deductible, and those who use health care spending accounts would get tax breaks too, plus the right to carry over unused balances year to year. Trump said, “It works. It’s something that’s proven.”
What about the poor? He’s suggested time and again he remains committed to the idea of universal health care, everyone being covered; “We’re going to take care of them through maybe concepts of Medicare.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the GOP for pressing forward with the repeal without a viable replacement plan. Borrowing Trump’s campaign slogan, Schumer said that would “make America sick again.”
In a series of tweets Thursday, Trump called the New York Senator the party’s “head clown,” and said the Affordable Care Act was “a lie from the beginning.” He called on republicans and democrats to work on a new healthcare plan together.