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5 Key Healthcare Points From Trump's State of the Union

By Jack O'Brien  
   January 31, 2018

The president outlined healthcare accomplishments from his first year in office, addressing a closely watched issue for many Americans.

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, highlighting policy goals while welcoming a “new American moment.”

Over the course of 90 minutes, Trump discussed several healthcare-related legislative achievements, including adjustments to the Affordable Care Act as well as new care accountability measures for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Below are five key takeaways from the president’s speech to Congress:

1. ‘The individual mandate is now gone.’

Trump touted the repeal of the individual mandate penalty, calling the eliminated provision “an especially cruel tax.”

The measure, which required Americans without health insurance to pay a fine, was removed as part of the tax reform bill passed late last year.

The penalty is $695 or 2.5% of an individual’s income, whichever amount is greater, and remains in effect for 2018. The elimination will take place next year.

Though Trump did not call for a renewed effort to repeal the ACA in its entirety, he said the Republican-controlled Congress successfully repealed “the core of disastrous Obamacare.”

2. No mention of upcoming funding deadline or community health centers.

Trump did not acknowledge the recent six-year extension granted to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which was part of the continuing resolution that reopened the government last week after a three-day shutdown.

There was also no mention of the February 8 deadline to pass another continuing resolution or pass an omnibus budget package. Such action would likely have to address the fate of over 10,000 community health center (CHC) sites across the country. Federal funding for CHCs lapsed on October 1, so they have been funded by temporary spending packages since then.

Despite the next deadline coming in little more than a week, Trump did not speak on the issue last night.

3. Will call for unity result in bipartisan solutions?

The president’s speech centered on a call for unity among Americans and members of Congress alike. Such bipartisanship will be important in order to avoid a second government shutdown in as many months and to address lingering healthcare policy concerns.

There are two bills in the Senate with bipartisan cosponsors seeking to stabilize the federal insurance exchange markets: Alexander-Murray and Collins-Nelson. Trump’s call for bipartisanship in the final crafting and debate over these measures will play a role in determining their road to passage.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders. 

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