President Trump Celebrates Premium Spikes and More Uninsured, Calls Out Prescription Drug Prices While Caving to PhRMA

Tonight, President Donald Trump's speech on the State of the Union misled on the state of health care, ignoring his role in trying to undermine our health system.
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For Immediate Release:  Tuesday, January 30, 2018

CONTACT: Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California

Awright@health-access.org, 916-870-4782 (cell)

IN SOTU, PRESIDENT TRUMP MISLED ON THE STATE OF HEALTH CARE;

TRUMP CELEBRATED PRICE HIKES AND MORE UNINSURED, NEGLECTED SABOTAGE AND CAVES TO PhRMA

CALIFORNIA HAS AND WILL CONTINUE TO LEAD IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION ON HEALTH CARE

  • President Trump Sought to Undermine Our Health System–And Partially Succeeded on ACA Repeal; Medi-Cal & Covered California Survives In Spite of Trump, As He Celebrates Policies Leading to Double-Digit Premium Hikes and More Uninsured.
  • Trump Rightly Identified Prescription Drug Prices as a Top Issue–But Already Folded When Meeting With PhRMA Executives Last Year, Instead Appointing an Eli Lilly CEO as HHS Secretary, Providing Corporate Giveaways, Including Tax Breaks, Reduced Safety Oversight, and Limits on Medicare’s Ability to Bargain

SACRAMENTO, CA – Tonight, President Donald Trump’s speech on the State of the Union misled on the state of health care, ignoring his role in trying to undermine our health system. Here is a comment by Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition:

ON HEALTH CARE: “In his State of the Union, President Trump and Congressional Republicans cyncially celebrated partial repeal of the ACA, ignoring that his actions will lead to double-digit premium increases and many more uninsured Americans as a result. Medi-Cal, Covered California, and our health system in general survived in spite of Trump’s administrative attacks–and in part due to California taking corrective action to hold our health system harmless. California should continue to shield consumers from the federal sabotage of our health system, and take proactive steps to improve access, quality, and equity in our health system that were non-existent in President Trump’s speech.”

ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: “President Trump was right to prioritize the high price of prescription drugs, but it rang hollow after just elevating a PhRMA CEO as HHS Secretary. On every policy option President Trump has to lower prescription drug prices, President Trump has already capitulated to PhRMA. President Trump, who campaigned on negotiating down prescription drug prices, only saw fit to offer corporate tax and regulatory giveaways to the PhRMA executives he met with last year. Thankfully, California led when the federal government lagged, passing legislation to prevent unexplained price hikes of prescription drugs to continue to harm our health system and our families’ finances. The California legislature should continue to confront prescription drug and other health care costs, and not wait for the President’s empty promises.”

Before taking office, President Trump had talked about negotiating prescription drug prices down during the campaign, and said in December that the drug companies were “getting away with murder… Our drug industry has been a disaster.  PhRMA has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly, and we’re going to start bidding, and we’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.” In the meeting with PhRMA executives last year, he backtracked, saying “I’ll oppose anything that makes it harder for smaller, younger companies to take the risk of bringing their product to a vibrantly competitive market. That included price-fixing by the biggest dog in the market, Medicare, which is what’s happening.” Instead, he promised the industry corporate giveaways, saying “but we can increase competition and bidding wars, big time. We are going to be lowering taxes, we’re going to be getting rid of regulations that are unnecessary.” In the past week, he swore in a new HHS Secretary, Alex Azar, who was previously a CEO of Eli Lilly.

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About Health Access California

Health Access California is the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, advocating for the goal of quality, affordable health care for all Californians. Health Access Foundation undertakes community organizing and education, applied research, and policy analysis, and advocates for reform to benefit health care consumers, both insured and uninsured. We represent consumers in the legislature, at administrative and regulatory agencies, in the media, and at public forums. For more information, please visit www.health-access.org.