Donald Trump on Health Care
2016 Republican nominee for President; 2000 Reform Primary Challenger for President
CLINTON: No, he clarified what he meant. If we were to start all over again, we might come up with a different system. But we have an employer-based system. So let's fix what's broken about it, but let's not throw it away.
TRUMP: First of all, everything's broken about it. Everything.
Q: You've said you want to end ObamaCare, but you've also said you want to make coverage accessible for people with pre-existing conditions. How?
TRUMP: We're going to be able to. You're going to have plans that are so good, because we're going to have so much competition in the insurance industry.
Q: Are you going to have a mandate?
TRUMP: ObamaCare, by the way, was a fraud. Jonathan Gruber, the architect of ObamaCare, said it was a great lie, it was a big lie. President Obama said you keep your doctor, you keep your plan. The whole thing was a fraud, and it doesn't work.
DONALD TRUMP: We should educate the public on the values of a comprehensive vaccination program. We have been successful with other public service programs and this seems to be of enough importance that we should put resources against this task.
JILL STEIN: Vaccines are a critical part of our public health system. We need universal health care as a right to ensure that everyone has access to critical vaccines. The best way to overcome resistance to vaccination is to acknowledge and address concerns and build trust with hesitant parents. We can do that by removing corporate influence from our regulatory agencies to eliminate apparent conflicts of interest.
TRUMP: This is one of the great unfolding tragedies in America today. States are reducing their commitments to mental health treatment and our jails are filled with those who need mental health care. Any mental health reforms must be included in our efforts to reform healthcare in general in the country. We must make the investment in treating our fellow citizens who suffer from severe mental illness. This includes making sure that we allow family members to be more involved in the total care of those who are severely mentally ill. We must ensure that the national government provides the support to state and local governments to bring mental health care to the people at the local level. This entire field of interest must be examined and a comprehensive solution set must be developed so that we can keep people safe and productive.
TRUMP: The implication of the question is that one must provide more resources to research and public health enterprises. In a time of limited resources, one must ensure that the nation is getting the greatest bang for the buck. We cannot simply throw money at these institutions and assume that the nation will be well served. What we ought to focus on applying resources to those areas where we need the most work. Our efforts to support research and public health initiatives will have to be balanced with other demands for scarce resources. My administration will work to establish national priorities and then we will work to make sure that adequate resources are assigned to achieve our goals.
TRUMP: I never said take the Veterans Administration private. I wouldn't do that. But I do believe, when you're waiting in line for six, seven days, you should never be in a position like that. You go out, you see the doctor, you get yourself taken care of. The V.A. is really almost a corrupt enterprise. So we are going to make it efficient and good. And if it's not good, you're going out to private hospitals, public hospitals, and doctors.
FACT-CHECK: Trump's campaign published a "Veterans Plan" last October. It doesn't call for the VA to be completely privatized, but allows veterans to get care at any non-VA medical center that accepts Medicare. Trump stuck to the idea when he released his "Ten Point Plan To Reform The VA" in July, giving "every veteran the choice to seek care at the VA or at a private service provider of their own choice."
A: It's almost impossible to conceive that this is happening in our country, 20 to 22 people a day are killing themselves. A lot of it is they're killing themselves over the fact that they're under tremendous pain and they can't see a doctor. We're going to speed up the process. We're going to create a great mental health division. I have a powerful plan that's on my website. One of the problems is the wait time. Vets are waiting six days, seven days, eight days. Under my plan, if they have that long wait, they walk outside, they go to the local doctor, they choose the doctor, they choose the hospital, whether it's public or private, they get themselves better. We will pay the bill.
RUBIO: The individual mandate. He said he likes the individual mandate portion of it; I don't believe that should remain there. We need to repeal ObamaCare completely and replace it with a system that puts Americans in charge of their health care money again.
TRUMP: I agree with that 100%, except pre-existing conditions, I would absolutely get rid of ObamaCare. I want to keep pre- existing conditions. It's a modern age, and I think we have to have it.
Q: The insurance companies say is that the only way that they can cover people with pre-existing conditions is to have a mandate requiring everybody purchase health insurance. Are they wrong?
TRUMP: I think they're wrong 100%. Look, the insurance companies take care of the politicians [and vice-versa]. The insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep preexisting conditions, and that would be a great thing.
RUBIO: Here's what you didn't hear in that answer. What is your plan? I understand the lines around the state, whatever that means. This is not a game where you draw maps. What is your plan, Mr. Trump?
TRUMP: You get rid of the lines, it brings in competition. So, instead of having one insurance company taking care of New York, or Texas, you'll have many. They'll compete, and it'll be a beautiful thing.
RUBIO: So, that's the only part of the plan? Just the lines?
TRUMP: Well, I like the mandate. I don't want people dying on the streets. The Republican people, they don't want people dying on the streets, but sometimes they'll say "Donald Trump wants single payer."
Q: Will people with pre-existing conditions be able to get insurance?
TRUMP: Yes. Now, the new plan is good. It's going to be inexpensive. It's going to be much better for the people at the bottom, people that don't have any money. We're going to take care of them through maybe concepts of Medicare. Now, some people would say, "that's not a very Republican thing to say." That's not single payer, by the way. That's called heart. We gotta take care of people that can't take care of themselves.
You know who loves a lack of competition? Those insurance companies, who are making a fortune because they control the politicians. They've paid for them with their contributions, and it's a good investment from their perspectives. For our country, not so much. They give money to almost all the politicians.
CARSON: There have been numerous studies, and they have not demonstrated that there is any correlation between vaccinations and autism.
Q [to Trump]: As president, you would be in charge of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, both of which say you are wrong.
TRUMP: Autism has become an epidemic. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. You take this little baby, and you pump--I mean, it looks like it's meant for a horse, not for a child. Just the other day, a 2-year-old child went to have the vaccine, and got a fever; now is autistic. I'm in favor of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount. And I think you're going to see a big impact on autism.
CARSON: We are probably giving way too many in too short a period of time.
TRUMP: A complete disaster, yes.
Q: Saying it needs to be repealed & replaced.
Q: Now, 15 years ago, you called yourself a liberal on health care. You were for a single-payer system, a Canadian-style system. Why were you for that then and why aren't you for it now?
TRUMP: As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It could have worked in a different age. What I'd like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands of employees. And if I'm negotiating in BY or NJ or CA, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid. You know why? Because the insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians. They're making a fortune. Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have yourself great plans. And then we have to take care of the people that can't take care of themselves. And I will do that through a different system.
The real estate tycoon told CPAC in 2013 that Republicans should not cut Social Security or Medicare because most Americans want to keep the benefits as they stand now. His solution is unclear, but he has indicated that general economic growth would play a role. Trump tweeted in May that he knows "where to get the money from" and "nobody else does."
There are other reforms that might be considered if they serve to lower costs, remove uncertainty & provide financial security for all Americans. And we must also take actions in other policy areas to lower healthcare costs and burdens. Enforcing immigration laws, eliminating fraud and waste and energizing our economy will relieve the economic pressures felt by every American.
Trump made no effort to woo mainstream GOP elected officials. He remarked, "I am a Republican, and I am disappointed with our Republican politicians because they let our president get away with absolute murder."
One way to infuse more competition into the market is to let citizens purchase health-care plans across state lines.
This could be easily accomplished if Congress got some guts and did the right thing. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress control over interstate commerce. But for whatever reason, the Congress has never exercised this power regarding health insurance. They need to.
I sent my jet out and brought the little boy and his parents to NYC with the hope that doctors here might find a cure for the severe breathing illness from which he was suffering. His cure was not to be, but his parents remained grateful to this day.
Our objective [should be] to make reforms for the moment and, longer term, to find an equivalent of the single-payer plan that is affordable, well-administered, and provides freedom of choice. Possible? The good news is, yes. There is already a system in place-the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program-that can act as a guide for all healthcare reform. It operates through a centralized agency that offers considerable range of choice. While this is a government program, it is also very much market-based. It allows 620 private insurance companies to compete for this market. Once a year participants can choose from plans which vary in benefits and costs.
We have to get rid of the lines around the state, artificial lines, where we stop insurance companies from coming in and competing, because that gives the insurance companies essentially monopolies. We want competition.
You will have the finest health care plan there is. She wants to go to a single-payer plan, which would be a disaster, somewhat similar to Canada. And if you haven't noticed the Canadians, when they need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States in many cases because their system is so slow. It's catastrophic in certain ways.
TRUMP: Well, I'm OK with the savings accounts. I think it's a good idea; it's a very down-the-middle idea. It works. It's something that's proven. The one thing we have to do is repeal and replace ObamaCare. It is a disaster. People's premiums are going up 35 percent, 45 percent, 55 percent. Their deductibles are so high nobody's ever going to get to use it. So ObamaCare is turning out to be a bigger disaster than anybody thought.
Q: So if you agree with these health savings accounts idea, do you also agree with Ben Carson when he says Medicare probably won't be necessary?
TRUMP: Well, it's possible. You're going to have to look at that, but I'll tell you what, the health savings accounts, I've been talking about it also. I think it's a very good idea.
A: You know, I looked at that. I looked at it very seriously. Some people don't agree with me on this: I want everyone to have coverage. I love the free market, but we never had a free market. Even before ObamaCare, it wasn't really free market. As an example, in New York, when I wanted to bid out my health insurance, we had boundaries. I could only go in New York. If I wanted to bid it out to a company from California or New Jersey, anywhere--you get no bids.
Q: But the single payer, you're not interested anymore?
A: No. No, these are different times. And over the years, you are going to change your attitudes. You're going to learn things and you're going to change. And I have evolved on that issue. I have evolved on numerous issues.
Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, Trump said ObamaCare is a catastrophe that must be repealed and replaced. In 2011, Trump suggested that the health insurance industry have more ability to cross state lines. In "The America We Deserve" Trump wrote that he supported universal healthcare and a system that would mirror Canada's government-run healthcare service.
And remember the $5 billion Web site? $5 billion we spent on a Web site, and to this day it doesn't work. I have so many Web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a Web site.
And it's going to get worse, because remember, ObamaCare really kicks in, in 2016. It is going to be amazingly destructive. Doctors are quitting. I have a friend who's a doctor, and he said to me, "Donald, I never saw anything like it. I have more accountants than I have nurses."
We have to repeal ObamaCare, and it can be replaced with something much better for everybody. Let it be for everybody. But much better and much less expensive for people and for the government. And we can do it.
Obamacare is a heat-seeking missile that will destroy jobs & small businesses; it will explode health-care costs; and it will lead to health care that is far less innovative than it is today. Every argument that you'd make against socialism you can make against socialized health care, and any candidate who isn't 100% committed to scrapping Obamacare is not someone America should elect president. Repealing Obamacare may be one of the most important and consequential actions our next president takes.
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