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Trump speech offers dizzying preview of his health care campaign strategy

Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

President Donald Trump offered a preview of what his 2020 health agenda might look like in a speech Thursday -- blasting Democratic proposals for reform and saying he would tackle issues such as prescription drug prices and affordability.

He outlined the pillars of his health care vision, which included protecting vulnerable patients; delivering affordable care and prescription drugs; providing choices and control; and improving care for veterans.

In the speech, delivered in The Villages, Fla., before the president signed an executive order to expand Medicare Advantage, Trump also took aim at overhaul plans being advocated by his Democratic opponents, claiming their approach would "put everyone into a single socialist government-run program that would end private insurance."

He said he and Republicans are committed to protecting people who have preexisting conditions -- a claim that PolitiFact and Kaiser Health News previously rated False, because of his administration's policies.

And, in keeping with the Medicare Advantage theme, he spoke about a controversial move by the Obama administration to reduce future payments to that program by $800 billion. (This point, previously examined by PolitFact, was found to be Half True -- but Trump didn't note that the reductions didn't affect the program's beneficiaries, or that he has used a similar approach in projecting future Medicare spending reductions.)

He challenged Congress to approve legislation to curb surprise medical bills and lauded improvements in the veterans' health system.

 

But the speech included several other claims directed at Democrats and the currently buzzy proposal of "Medicare for All" that could easily have left some people befuddled. We broke down a few.

Trump told his audience that "Democrats are draining your health care to finance the open borders."

We asked the White House for the basis of this remark and never got a specific answer. But there are various issues to examine.

In August, the president argued that Democrats "support giving illegal immigrants free health care at our expense." But that isn't accurate. The statement, part of a Trump 2020 television advertisement, was rated Mostly False.

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