President Donald Trump has a golden opportunity to introduce his own health care policy, now that both moderate and conservative Republicans have failed to push their own policies through, and Obamacare continues to collapse.
The “Trump Option” could be a system where the government covers basic health care for all — a yearly checkup, immunizations, emergencies, and minor medical expenses — and optional private insurance covers everything else.
That would be the inverse of the “catastrophic” plan described by Breitbart News earlier this year, under which the government would cover major, unforeseen medical expenses but leave basic health care to the private insurance market. Insurance companies would be more enthusiastic about participating in the “Trump Option,” because the real profits in health insurance are in covering bigger medical risks, not in covering everyday medical needs.
A version of the “Trump Option” already exists in the real world. In Australia, the government provides free care in public hospitals, and subsidizes a portion of private health care, with private insurance making up the difference.
Providing basic health care coverage for all would be simpler and less expensive than Obamacare, and would allow the free market to flourish, outside the ordinary expenditures that provide low margins for insurance companies anyway. It would also fulfill the promise that President-elect Trump made in January to replace Obamacare with “insurance for everybody.”
Trump has already been considering the Australian model. We know this because he referred to it in May, shortly after the House passed its version of the legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, in a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “You have better healthcare than we do,” Trump said.
Though the president has spoken in general terms about cooperating with Democrats, he would not need to bargain with them on the “Trump Option.” Enough of them would support that option to make negotiating a moot point. As President George W. Bush showed in passing Medicare Part D, it is possible to split the opposition with a plan that will demonstrably benefit their core voters.
With Congress exhausted — as predicted — now is an ideal time for Trump to act.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.