U.S. President Donald Trump is to tell governors from throughout the country how he hopes to repeal and replace health care reforms that former President Barack Obama considered his signature legislative achievement.
Trump’s message to the governors Monday could begin to provide some clarity about his stance on how to revamp the seven-year-old Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
The law, long reviled by Republicans like Trump because of its mandate for all Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty if they did not, has given 20 million previously uninsured Americans healthcare insurance coverage. But the high cost of the policies has turned some against the measure and left millions of other people still without insurance to help pay their medical bills.
Trump has said he does not want anyone currently covered by the law to lose insurance, but has offered few clues about how he plans to carry out the changes. During his run for the presidency, Trump said he would overturn the law on the first day of his presidency, but now says the reforms might not take place until next year.
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Proposals offered by some conservative Republican lawmakers to change the law could sharply curb government health care spending, leaving millions of poorer Americans without insurance coverage. Trump’s new government health chief Tom Price and some Republicans in Congress want to guarantee Americans access to buy insurance, not necessarily make sure everyone actually has coverage.
In the first major social event of his presidency, Trump saluted 46 of the country’s 50 state governors and their spouses who are in Washington for an annual conference at a black tie ball Sunday nat the White House.
Trump drank a toast to those he calls the “great, great governors of the United States,” even if many of the Democratic governors disagree with some of his policies.
The president’s recent orders to get tougher on the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants include threats to cut off billions of dollars in federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Trump’s plans include deputizing local law enforcement officers to act as immigration agents.
In interviews with VOA, some of the governors said they want to see immigrants and refugees newly arrived in America succeed in making new lives for themselves. They also stressed that everyone should be treated with compassion and in a reasonable manner as laws are enforced.
The National Governors Association chairman, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has said he considers Trump’s new measures “immoral and illegal.”
Speaking to VOA’s Persian News Network, he said immigrants and refugees are “safe in Virginia … we want people to come, we want you to start a business and raise your family and have a great quality of life. In Virginia, we’re going to protect all the basic and fundamental civil liberties and civil rights.”
But at the dinner, McAuliffe led the governors in a toast to Trump, telling him, “We want to work with you to build” on their shared common goals of boosting employment, improving health care and education and fixing the country’s deteriorating infrastructure.