Advisors to President Trump’s reelection campaign say he must do more to take the fight for healthcare reform from the Democrats, if he does not want them to run away with a win on this issue come November.
Seeing the Democrats outdoing him in the polls on healthcare issues, an angry President Trump, lashed out at Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar last week, for not doing enough to help him win over voters on healthcare. According to reports, Trump phoned Azar after being presented with polling that showed voters trust Democrats more than Republicans on healthcare and drug pricing.
Trump has made lowering prescription drug prices a top focus of his presidency, and has been searching for easy political wins, but has little to show for it. Key initiatives have been blocked by the courts, and others have been stalled amid opposition from fellow Republicans.
According to The Washington Post, Trump told Azar he was “not getting it done,” and needed to “hurry up” on lowering drug prices and more quickly allow for the importation of drugs from Canada. “Why aren’t we getting these drugs from Canada?,” Trump said to the HHS secretary.
In December, the administration issued a proposal that would lay the groundwork to allow states, pharmacies, wholesalers and manufacturers to import prescription drugs from Canada. Importing drugs from abroad is a departure from the traditional Republican approach, but Trump has long supported the idea, even as it faces significant headwinds. Critics and drug pricing experts believe it won’t be effective, and view it as political posturing.
According to Axios, Trump also pressed Azar about the administration’s new vaping policy, and expressed regret for getting “personally involved” in something that he should have left to the Food and Drug Administration to sort out.
Polls have also shown that the public trusts Democrats on healthcare issues, more than Republicans, especially after the GOP repeated efforts to repeal ObamaCare.
Trump wants to seize the healthcare mantle from Democrats by highlighting actions he says will lower costs, promote public health and challenge special interests.
“There’s no daylight between the White House and HHS as we work to implement the President’s policies and improve the American healthcare system for everyone, not just those in the individual market,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a recent statement to the press.
“While the radical left has sweeping proposals for a total government takeover of healthcare that will eliminate private insurance for 180 million Americans, the Trump Administration has achieved real solutions that are providing Americans with the options and control they want and the affordability they need,” he said.
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