President Trump Addresses Congress

Tuesday night, President Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress. During his speech, he called on Congress to make investments in infrastructure, increases to defense spending and to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) among other things.

In regards to the ACA, President Trump called on Congress to replace the ACA with reforms that “expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better Healthcare.” He outlined key principles that should be included in the replacement, however offered no detail regarding how to accomplish the following:

  • Ensuring Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage;
  • Ensuring a stable transition for those enrolled in exchanges;
  • Helping Americans purchase coverage with the use of tax credits and Health Savings Accounts;
  • Giving States flexibility with Medicaid;
  • Implement reforms to prevent costs that increase insurance premiums and bring down the cost of high-price drugs; and
  • Allow the purchase of insurance plans across state lines.

President Trump noted his intent to increase defense spending, but did not specify what the increase would be during his speech. Prior to the speech, White House officials noted the President’s intent to increase defense spending  by $54 billion on the cuts of other federal programs.  While details are limited, the Administration has signaled that the cuts would not impact Medicare, Social Security, veterans benefits, or law enforcement. Programs under the Centers for Disease Control would be at risk.