(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump unveiled a health care plan that calls for allowing imports of low-cost prescription drugs from overseas and includes other elements that have been popular among conservatives for years.
The seven-point plan posted on the Republican presidential front-runner’s website Wednesday includes a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and six ideas for an Obamacare replacement:
Allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines.
Permitting tax deductions for individual health care plans.
Creating tax-free health savings accounts that can become part of an estate.
Increasing health care provider price transparency.
Replacing the current Medicaid funding system with Medicaid block grants for states.
Allowing the re-importation of reliable, cheaper prescription drugs from other countries.
Trump’s final idea marks a departure from Republican orthodoxy. Allowing the re-importation of prescription drugs from other countries is an idea that’s opposed by the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and has been blocked in Congress with bipartisan opposition. Drugmakers have argued that allowing re-importation could allow counterfeit and substandard treatments into the country.
Trump says the drug proposal shows he’s not beholden to special interests. “Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America,” the blueprint read.
The idea of permitting re-importation of prescription drugs is also supported by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
The first six ideas are loosely supported by Republicans in Congress, although the party has failed for six years to unify behind legislation to replace PPACA.
Repealing PPACA would increase the deficit by $137 billion over 10 years and raise the number of Americans without insurance by 24 million, according to a June 2015 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Trump’s proposal was released one day after the billionaire dominated the Super Tuesday Republican primaries, winning seven states and cementing his front-runner status. It came six days after a debate when rival Marco Rubio repeatedly pressed Trump for details of his health care plan.
Trump’s proposal is silent on the subject of preventing insurers from dropping coverage for those with preexisting conditions, a feature of PPACA that Trump has said he supports.
“Get rid of Obamacare, we’ll come up with new plans. But, we should keep pre-existing conditions,” Trump said last week.
“If somebody has no money and they’re lying in the middle of the street and they’re dying, I’m going to take care of that person,” he said last month on ABC.
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