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Donald Trump Releases Details Of Health Care Plan


Last night, Donald Trump released details of his health plan. No surprise - he wants to repeal Obamacare. NPR's Alison Kodjak reports that the other proposals on Trump's website include many Republican favorites and some that both liberals and conservatives find troubling.

ALISON KODJAK, BYLINE: When Trump was asked about his health care proposal in the debate last week broadcast on CNN, this is mostly what he talked about.


DONALD TRUMP: We have to get rid of the lines around the states so that there's serious, serious competition.


KODJAK: What he meant was that he wants to allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. It's a popular idea among Republicans, but beyond that, Trump was criticized because he had little more to offer. Now that's changed. The Trump campaign has posted a seven-point health plan on his website. It includes getting rid of those lines around the states, and it adds a handful of other provisions that are mainstays in conservative health care circles. Joe Antos is a scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

JOE ANTOS: He mentions things that, depending on how you interpret them, could really fit well within traditional Republican views.

KODJAK: Among those items, Trump calls for people to deduct their health insurance premiums from their taxes and use tax-free health savings accounts to pay for out-of-pocket costs. He proposes changes to Medicaid, the government health insurance for the poor and disabled. He'd give a fixed amount of money to each state rather than using today's cost-sharing formulas. Trump's plan leaves a lot up to interpretation. Antos likes the tax provision because he's assuming Trump would ensure they be structured to benefit low-income people, but other conservatives see it differently. Jeffrey Anderson is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. He looks at the proposals for deducting premiums and health savings accounts and sees a huge giveaway.

JEFFREY ANDERSON: It creates a new tax loophole by providing an open-ended tax break on the individual side.

KODJAK: Anderson agrees with Trump's goal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but her worries about Medicaid. Trump's plan says, quote, "we must review basic options for Medicaid and work with the states to ensure that those who want health care coverage can have it." Anderson says that sounds to him like a huge Medicaid expansion. That's the conservative discussion. Liberals are interpreting Trump in yet another way. Igor Volsky is deputy director of the American Progress Action Fund. He says Trump wants to simply ditch Obamacare.

IGOR VOLSKY: It gets rid of Obamacare but doesn't talk about coverage expansion, doesn't talk about cost controls. And so we're left in the world where a lot of people are losing the coverage they currently have under Obamacare and they don't actually get anything in return.

KODJAK: We asked the Trump campaign to clarify some of these provisions. A spokeswoman said via email, quote, "the plan speaks for itself." Alison Kodjak, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Alison Fitzgerald Kodjak is a health policy correspondent on NPR's Science Desk.