Trump's Health Care Pitch To Focus On Lowering Costs

President Trump wants to seize the health care mantle from Democrats ahead of the 2020 election by highlighting actions he says will lower costs and challenge special interests.

Trump is touting a series of actions on drug pricing and other consumer-friendly issues, a move designed to position the president as a populist champion of transparency and reduced medical bills.

But the president faces an uphill battle, as Democrats won’t let voters forget his record on health care, including repeated efforts to repeal and undermine ObamaCare.

Earlier this week, he issued an executive order that would force hospitals, insurers and doctors to disclose their prices upfront.

The executive order seeks to bring more transparency to the health care system and could shine a light on opaque price negotiations. The administration argues that will drive down costs because it would empower patients to shop around for the best prices, though some critics argue it could have the opposite effect.

If patients know the costs of health care services up front, the White House argues, it could help prevent surprise medical bills, which are increasingly becoming a source of anxiety for Americans.

GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said Trump can argue that he alone is trying to lower health costs, because Democrats are preventing Congress from acting.

“His goal is very simple: Convince voters he wants to protect pre-existing condition protections, and drive down costs,” O’Connell said. “Trump knows he’s behind on the issue.”

O’Connell added that right now, it doesn’t even matter if the administration’s efforts succeed.

“He is building a narrative. It’s great if costs come down, but that’s not the focus,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Nathaniel Weixel and Jessie Hellman at The Hill

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