(Bloomberg) — Despite a stalemate in Congress over a plan to change the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump says his efforts on health care are “doing very well” and that he still wants a bill passed before tackling tax reform.
Trump said in an interview aired Wednesday morning on Fox Business that a GOP health bill will get done, even after members of Congress left last week for recess with no clear compromise on the American Health Care Act bill in sight.
— (Related on ThinkAdvisor: State Regulators Meet as Individual Health Gasps for Life)
“We have to do health care first to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform. So we’re going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do health care first,” Trump said.
Trump wouldn’t put a deadline on when a health care bill would be passed, saying it would happen “at some point.” He added that if it didn’t happen “fast enough” he would eventually move on to tax reform.
Companies and investors have been eagerly awaiting an overhaul to the U.S. tax system that the administration has promised will lower corporate taxes and make it easier to bring money back from overseas. But with health reform standing in the way, analysts now think it won’t be until the end of the year, at the earliest, when a tax plan could take shape.
“Markets, that have been expecting tax reform movement and action earlier in the year, based in part on administration and congressional statements, may be disappointed on this news and react accordingly,” said Terry Haines, an analyst with Evercore ISI.
Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, reaffirmed in a CNBC interview on Wednesday that the White House would produce its own tax plan.
“You will have a White House-Donald Trump tax plan that we are going to take down to the Hill and try and sell,” he said. But the White House is still working on Trump’s “goals and principles” for an overhaul, he said.
During the Fox interview, Trump also raised the threat that the Affordable Care Act insurance programs will fail if the government doesn’t keep making some payments to insurers. He appeared to be referring to what are known as the ACA cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which help lower-income people afford out-of-pocket medical costs, though he didn’t mention them by name. House Republicans sued to block the payments in 2014, though the Obama administration, and now the Trump White House, have defended against the challenge as it goes through the courts.
“Even now as I came in here, payments have to be made that weren’t scheduled to be made on Obamacare,” Trump said. “If you don’t make them, it fails.”