Reversing course: Donald Trump admits he will keep parts of Obamacare and plays down threat to ‘lock up’ Hillary Clinton
Ambivalent tone is a far cry from Trump’s sweeping rhetoric on the campaign trail, where he repeatedly vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare
President-elect Donald Trump reversed himself on completely eliminating the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health law, saying instead he would keep two popular features and pledged no gap in coverage as it’s replaced.
In an interview with Lesley Stahl to air on Sunday on 60 Minutes, Trump said he would like to keep the portions of the law requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions and children living at home under the age of 26, according to excerpts of the interview released by CBS News.
The ban on insurers denying coverage to individuals who are sick “happens to be one of the strongest assets,” of the Affordable Care Act, Trump said. He acknowledged that keeping the provision allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans for a period of time “adds cost, but it’s very much something we’re going to try and keep”.
The president-elect said he plans to repeal the law, commonly known as Obamacare, and replace it new regulations “simultaneously”.
“I know how to do this stuff,” he said. “We’re going to repeal it and replace it. And we’re not going to have, like, a two-day period and we’re not going to have a two-year period where there’s nothing. It will be repealed and replaced. I mean, you’ll know. And it’ll be great health care for much less money.”
In the same interview, Trump also avoided answering whether he would follow through on a campaign vow to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.
“It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve health care, jobs, border control, tax reform,” he said.
That ambivalent tone is a far cry from Trump’s sweeping rhetoric on the campaign trail, where he repeatedly vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare and led crowds in chants of “Lock her up!” in reference to Clinton.
With little clarity from Trump himself, some of his surrogates and advisers have given a mixed view of what Trump will hope to accomplish in his first 100 days in office, discounting some of his most well-known proposals.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump adviser, cast doubt this week on whether the new president would seek to have Mexico fund Trump’s proposed border wall – a pledge that inspired regular chants of “Build that wall!” during campaign rallies.
“He’ll spend a lot of time controlling the border. He may not spend very much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it, but it was a great campaign device,” Gingrich said on Thursday during a conference call sponsored by Dentons, a global law firm.
Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a close adviser to Trump, sounded certain that the wall would be built – but was far from clear about the timeline. He said during an interview on CNN Thursday that he believes Trump should prioritise tax reform in his first 100 days rather than issues like building the border wall.
“The wall is going to take a while,” Giuliani said. “Absolutely he’s going to build it; it’s a campaign promise. He’s not going to break a campaign promise.”
After exiting a meeting with Republican leaders on Thursday on Capitol Hill, Trump was asked by reporters to list his top three priorities after taking office. He mentioned securing the border, health-care reform and job creation.
“Will you ask Congress to ban all Muslims from entering the country?” a reporter asked. Trump appeared to hear the question before thanking everybody and walking away.
Additional reporting by The Washington Post