Editor's note: Our Splash Health, Wellness and Wearables event is coming up on March 23 in San Francisco. We'll have Mario Schlosser, Founder & CEO of Oscar Health, Brian Singerman (Partner, Founders Fund), Steve Jurvetson (Draper Fisher Jurvetson), J. Craig Venter (Human Longevity), Lynne Chou (Partner, Kleiner Perkins), Michael Dixon (Sequoia Capital), Patrick Chung (Xfund), Check out the full lineup and register for tickets before they jump! If you’re a healthcare startup and you’re interested in being part of our competition, learn more and register here.
Healthcare is a really complicated issue to tackle, as President Obama found out early on his term, and which Trump seemingly realized only recently. It's extremely multi-faceted, has a ton of moving parts, is a very large part of the economy and has a lot of parties who are making a lot of money, and who are not interested in seeing that distrupted.
From the patient's side, they also don't want to see their healthcare messed with. That's why so many people disliked the Affordable Care Act, and that's why, now that the Republican Party is in control and is looking to make good on their promise to repeal it, the legislation is seeing a surge in popularity. People do not want to see any disruption of the status quo when it comes to something so vital. Whatever the status quo is, that's what they seem to want.
Despite all of those issues, the President reiterated his commitment to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in a meeting with health insurers on Monday, the Washington Post reports.
"We must work together to save Americans from Obamacare," Trump said before meeting with representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Anthem, Kaiser Permanente and America's Health Insurance Plans, which is the healthcare industry's lobbying group.
Though the precise details of what Trump's replacement plan would entail were not discussed, he promised that it would increase competition, while also reducing costs.
"I'm asking Secretary Price to work with you to stabilize the insurance markets, and to ensure a smooth transition to the new plan," Trump said. "The new plan will be a great plan for the patients, for the people, and, hopefully, for the companies. It's going to be a very competitive plan and costs will come down and I think the healthcare will go up very, very substantially. I think people are going to like it a lot. We've taken the best of everything we can take."
Trump also said he hoped to be able to work with Democrats on ths issue, "because, ultimately, we're all people that love this country, and we want to do the right thing." That, he said, will include reforms, such as expanded healthcare savings accounts, and the ability to purchase insurance across statelines, which Trump said is very important in terms of increasing competition.
All of this, of course, will be easier said than done. It took the Democrats a long time, a lot of wrangling, and a lot of compromising, to get the Affordable Care Act passed back in 2010. This time Republicans will have to deal with potentially taking away insurance from tens of millions of people who now have it.
The Republican Party is already seeing the potential backlash to fully repealing it, especially without a full replacement plan in place. There have been numerous townhalls over the last few weeks, full of voters screaming at their legislators to leave their healthcare alone.
Here's a woman yelling at Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton over his desire to scrap the ACA:
The Afforable Care Act has not been without its problems, as well, with insurance premiums on plans sold through HealthCare.gov expected to rise by an average of 22 percent this year. In addition, many insurers, including Humana, Aetna and UnitedHealth have pulled out of its exchanges, citing the fact that they are losing money.
At the same time, there are aspects of the legislation that people like and want to keep, including getting rid of pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps, as well as the ability to keep children on parent's plans until they are 26 years old.
Whatever happens going forward, it's going to be contentious and fascinating to watch. The topic will no doubt be a big part of Vator's Splash Health, Wellness and Wearables event on March 23 in San Francisco. Register for tickets here!