5 Health-Related Takeaways From Trump's Press Conference

President-elect Donald J. Trump held a news conference in New York Wednesday on a wide range of topics, but a recurring theme was the future of healthcare. Here are 5 things we learned about Trump’s plans for healthcare at Wednesday’s conference.

President-elect Donald J. Trump held a news conference in New York on Wednesday. The remarks covered a wide range of topics, but a recurring theme was the future of healthcare after he takes office January 20, 2017. Here are 5 things we learned about Trump’s plans for healthcare at Wednesday’s conference.

1. Trump is unhappy about the amount of drugs made overseas

Early on in the press conference, Trump asserted that the US needs to get its drug industry back, as companies have been “leaving left and right” to manufacture overseas. A STAT news article suggested he could crack down on Asian factories by imposing new tariffs, but drugmakers would face far higher manufacturing costs in the US than in developing countries like India or China.

2. He plans to reform bidding procedures for drug prices

Trump then segued into denouncing current drug bidding practices. Better practices, he said, are blocked by pharmaceutical lobbyists as the drug industry is “getting away with murder.” New practices would save the country billions, he said. A logical first step would be to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which he had called for on the campaign trail.

3. David Shulkin will be appointed head of Veterans Affairs

A new appointment was announced at the press conference, as Trump told reporters that he would nominate David Shulkin to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he is currently the leader of the Veterans Health Administration. The choice was praised by bipartisan lawmakers including Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, who said in a statement that Shulkin has strived to “ensure that every veteran receives high-quality and timely care.”

4. Trump announced plans for collaboration between leading hospitals and VA system

Shulkin won’t face the daunting task of reforming veterans’ healthcare alone, Trump declared. He discussed a group of “top-of-the-line” hospitals, like the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, that would be formed to advise the VA during this process. He also named some physicians and business leaders who would function as partners in the VA’s transformation.

5. Trump wants repeal and replacement of Obamacare to occur simultaneously

Later on in the conference, a reporter asked Trump about the timeline of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After calling the law “a complete and total disaster,” Trump vowed to “essentially simultaneously” repeal and replace the ACA, resulting in “healthcare that is far less expensive and far better.” The timeline was later backed up by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, although no plans for replacement legislation have been announced.