President Trump Announces Expanded Health Coverage Through HRA’s…

Earlier today President Donald Trump delivered remarks on expanding health coverage options for employers and workers through health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).

Under the rule, employers will be able to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market. The rule will particularly benefit small businesses that face costs in offering a traditional group health plan and businesses that do not currently offer coverage.

[Transcript] THE PRESIDENT: (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. This is very nice. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Happy Birthday, Mr. President! (Applause.)


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Wow.

AUDIENCE: (Sings “Happy Birthday.”) (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Very nice. Wow. That’s — that is very, very nice.

Please. You must like what I’m about to say, I think. (Laughter.) And we all like what we’re about to say. We worked very hard on it.

And thank you all for joining us on this magnificent day in the Rose Garden. A special place. We’re here to announce the latest historic action that we’re taking to help millions of Americans receive high-quality and very affordable healthcare — something so important. And we’ve been working on it long and hard. A certain group, right on these first few rows, they’ve been working very long and very hard. And I want to thank you.

We’re delighted to be joined today by Vice President Mike Pence. Mike, thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you.

In addition, I want to express my gratitude to Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Steve, thank you very much. (Applause.)

Alex Acosta. Secretary. (Applause.) Thank you.

A man who has been working very hard for this day: Secretary Alex Azar. Thank you, Alex. (Applause.)

And also with us are Acting Administrator of the Small Business Administration Chris Pilkerton. And — where’s Chris? Chris? Good. Chris, hi. (Applause.) Congratulations, by the way. Congratulations. You liking it? I hope you’re liking it. Huh? I hear you are.

And Treasurer of the United States Jovita Carranza. Thank you, Jovita. (Applause.) Thank you very much.

And I want to extend a special welcome to the many small business owners who are here. We have a lot of them in the — in our midst. And thank you very much. This is a big advantage for you and something where you can take care a lot of — a lot of great people are going to be taken care of. So, thank you all for being here. Thank you very much.

Small business optimism is soaring in our very booming and big economy. And today, we give you even more reason for your confidence in the future.

Two years ago, in October of 2017, I signed an executive order to increase healthcare choice and competition all across our nation. Since that time, my administration has worked tirelessly to expand options and drive down the cost of healthcare for the American people.

We took swift action to open short-term health plans and association health plans to millions and millions of Americans. Many of these options are already reducing the cost of health insurance premiums by up to 60 percent and, really, more than that.

We also have launched a new initiative to bring down the price of prescription drugs. We are holding Big Pharma accountable. And, I must say, Big Pharma has also been working with us to try and get prices down. And if we had support with the Democrats, I must say, we could get it down even more.

We’ve reduced prices now by a — quite a bit. And this year is the first year, Alex Acosta — right? — in 54 years — 53 years that drugs prices have come down. And I want to congratulate you and all the people that have worked so hard with you. (Applause.) That’s really an incredible thing. First year.

And we could get them down a lot more if we had a little support in Congress. And I think we’ll get that support. I think that has to be — that has to be a joint. If that’s not going to be bilateral, we’re going to get that done, and I think we’re going to get it done quickly. We’re going to get a lot of support. I’ve spoken to Democrats, and they are in support of it. We have to see if we can actually get them to raise their hand. If they do that, we’re going to see some tremendous cuts in drug prices. So thank you very much, Alex.

We’ve asked Congress to support a new research initiative to find a breakthrough cure for childhood cancers. And we’ve begun a public health campaign to eradicate AIDS in America once and for all. And that’s really taking place like nobody would believe. We’re looking at a 10-year plan. And at the end of 10 years, we’re going to be in very good shape. Who would’ve thought that was possible even just a short time ago?

And we’re making dramatic strides in combatting the opioid epidemic. We have it down by a period of almost — a number of almost 17 percent this year. And when I heard it, I thought they made a mistake. I said, “You are not real. That’s not a real number.” And it is very much a real number.

So, Kellyanne and all of the people that have worked on that, that’s a tremendous achievement. And we’ve worked with the medical profession and with doctors and with everybody, and to think that it’s 17 percent in one year — that’s a tremendous achievement. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

And we’re now working with Congress to pass legislation that ends surprise medical billing. And we’re going to have another big announcement in two weeks, unrelated but something that’s going to have a profound effect on the things that we’re talking about and have been talking about over the last two and a half years. It’s going to be something really incredible. That’ll take place over the next two weeks. That’ll be a very big announcement. Nobody knows what it is. It’s going to be a big surprise, but it’s going to be a very pleasant one.

No American should be blindsided by bills for medical services they never agreed to in advance. We’re promoting price transparency to force competition and drive down cost. And that’s what’s happening, and that’s one of the reasons we’re getting the drug prices — stopping from those tremendous increases that have taken effect for so many years. For so many decades, they’ve been going only in one direction: up. And now we have them breaking even and going down.

We’re defending Medicare and Social Security for our great seniors. We’re eliminated — and we have eliminated Obamacare’s deeply unpopular individual mandate penalty. And you know how bad that was. (Applause.) Think of it: You paid a tremendous amount of money for the privilege of paying so that you don’t have to pay for bad insurance. Okay? How bad does that get? That’s got to be a first. Nobody has ever heard of that one. But we eliminated it. It’s gone. So you’re saving a lot of money, and it’s a terrific thing.

And we will always protect patients with preexisting conditions. Always. (Applause.) We’re always going to protect the patients. Preexisting conditions.

And today I’m pleased to announce another groundbreaking action. We are dramatically increasing the ability of Americans to access more affordable health insurance through options and through their employers. We’re doing so by expanding Health Reimbursement Arrangements, or HRAs, as they are commonly known. HRAs will allow American workers to shop for the plan that’s right for them and their family, and have their employer cover the cost. And it’s a reasonable cost, and people are going to be getting tremendous benefits.

This will be possible because HRAs will now receive the same tax treatment that other employer-provided health plans have always enjoyed. There was a lot of restrictions, and it was impossible until now. This is something that its time has come. It’s popular. It’s really, really been a success. And I think this is going to be — for many people, this will be the way of the future.

The previous administration imposed crushing fines and other penalties on HRAs to prevent employees from selecting the plan of their choice. It was impossible. With today’s action, we are eliminating all of those restrictions. And thanks to the changes we’re making, an estimated 11 million Americans will now choose their own plans with the help of the HRAs. This will increase the size — (applause) — thank you. This is a very big deal. This will increase the size of the individual market by at least 50 percent, improving choice, promoting competition, and lowering costs for the American people.

HRAs provide another important option to help even more employers offer great health insurance. And the benefits to the American workers will be incredible. They will be especially useful for small employers: An estimated 90 percent of the businesses that will take advantage of HRAs have fewer than 20 employees.

This announcement is a monumental victory for small businesses, for their workers, and previously uninsured Americans who will now have access to high-quality health plans of their choice.

With us today is one of our nation’s wonderful small business owners: [DEL: Tony :DEL] [Tom] Kunkel from Maryland. And I will say — Tom, you come up. Where is Tom? Are you up here someplace, Tom? I have not met Tom. Oh, you’re a handsome guy. Come on up here. (Laughter.) Tom Kunkel, would you say a few words and let them know what’s just happened to you?

Please. Thank you, Tom. (Applause.) Thank you.

MR. KUNKEL: First of all, I’d like to say “Happy Birthday” to the President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

MR. KUNKEL: Thank you. A lot of people from my office also wanted to say “Happy Birthday.”


MR. KUNKEL: Three years ago, I actually spoke to the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee about reinstating the Health Reimbursement Benefit Program that had existed previously. This was after the Obama administration had made it illegal for our business to help employees with their health insurance costs.

At the time, we had been helping our employees, some who had very serious medical conditions, including cancer. And after the Obama ruling we had to stop all reimbursements, and –which caused a great bit of hardship for our employees. And several of them I actually ended up losing because they had to leave us and go to other companies that offered a little better health benefits.

So I want to thank the President and the administration for supporting this new measure and all of his pro-small-business policies. We very much appreciate it in the small-business community.

So this new rule really allows small businesses to offer a benefit to our employees that will help our employees with healthcare costs, provide more and better options for them and also for employers.

So, again, thank you very much, Mr. President. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Also, we’re joined right now — Andrea Burns, a small business owner from Pennsylvania. Please come up. Andrea, please. (Applause.)

MS. BURNS: Hello.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. How are you doing? Nice to see you.

MS. BURNS: Happy birthday

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

MS. BURNS: Nice to see you.

THE PRESIDENT: Have a good time.

MS. BURNS: Hello, my name is Andrea Burns, and I’m a director at Richard S. Burns and Company, a family-owned and operated construction waste material recovery and processing facility in Philadelphia. We employ approximately 100 people.

And, right now, my brother and I — Allen — choose the healthcare plan for all of those employees. They don’t have the opportunity to choose the provider, the coverage, or the premium. This plan — HRAs — would allow us to give them the opportunity to choose the plan that’s best for them. Thank you. Thank you for making (inaudible).

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, darling. Use it well. Use it well, Andrea. That’s — you will. Thank you very much.

And it’s going to be a great — it’ll be a great difference. I’ve repeatedly called on Congress to work with us to bring down the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs. It’s all happening.

Instead, more than 120 Democrats in Congress have signed up for the Bernie Sanders massive government takeover of healthcare. That’s going to hurt a lot of people. It’s going to hurt our country. Socialist healthcare would crush American workers with higher taxes, long wait times, and far worse care. Their plan would eliminate Medicare as we know it and terminate the private health insurance of 180 million Americans and even more than that now.

On my watch, we will never let that happen. We will never be a socialist country. (Applause.)

We have to reject the socialist model that rations care, restricts access, slashes quality, and forces patients onto endless waitlists. Instead, we believe in freedom. We believe in choice. We believe in the highest standard of care in the world — anywhere in the world.

And we believe that American families must always have the right and the power to choose the very best treatments, plans, doctors for themselves and for their loved ones. They need that freedom. They have to have that freedom. And that’s exactly what today’s action is all about. We are putting the people back in charge with more choice, for better care, at a far lower cost.

And other people will not be paying for their healthcare. We won’t be raising taxes. We won’t be taxing you into oblivion. We won’t be raising the tax rates to 90 percent. I’ve heard 90 percent. The only problem with that one: It doesn’t even come close to taking care of the situation. So that means you have to go a lot higher than 90 percent. I don’t think that’s going to work too well in this country. We’ve lowered taxes. We want to keep them down. That’s very important. (Applause.)

And we will not rest until Americans have the healthcare system they need and deserve, a system that finally puts American patients first.

I want to thank everybody for being here. It’s a very important day, a very special day. God bless you, and God Bless America.

Thank you all very much. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.

Thank you everybody.

[Transcript Ends]

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36 Responses to President Trump Announces Expanded Health Coverage Through HRA’s…

  1. delighteddeplorable says:

    And just like that, POTUS puts sane healthcare front and center. A birthday gift from the honoree to the country. Marvelous!

    Liked by 17 people

  2. TFred says:

    What will the Trump-haters complain about with this?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thesavvyinvester says:

    I love this man. In another life when i was younger and handsomer ;-), i was on the periphery of insurance including health via an adjacent industry. This policy speak in the insurance arena rings true and I know of employees that lost there cafeteria plans under O-care which I would bet dollars to donuts were the previous version of these plans Our VSGPDJT alluded too. It was the entrepreneurial class that Obama targeted, amongst others, and that felt pure vindictive. Many endured, got politically active, sought alternatives such as the medishares. When Romney let us down, they endured for 4 more years. Now the field is level, they built that, and will hire more, and will continue to do so under the Blessing of this man & his team. What shame we have had such a dysfunctional congress, both sides. It is time to take the both & for Mitch to retire. Happy Birthday Mr President, & may God Bless you & your family!

    Liked by 25 people

  4. Bendix says:

    They need to do something about the outlawing of the hospitalization policies.
    That’s all many people want or need.

    This sounds something like what I heard Dr, Ben Carson suggesting once.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Skippy says:

      Most people much prefer home w a visiting nurse etc to being in the hospital. I spent 5 days in the hospital in 2016 to little avail short of the needed orthopedic surgery, and to leave in worse shape then when I arrived (anemic,not out of bed) and uneducated my medical problems. It was a fiasco x for the delayed surgery. I have since educated my spouse about the meaning of legal spokesperson power of attorney and need to show. Please educate yourself people: prepare for the unexpected in any hospital stay.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Bill Hollinger says:

      I think you are correct. The deductibles are so high people end up paying for most things anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Anyone sending money today to his website? I just sent!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. MVW says:

    It is an absurd circus, debating how to pay for drugs and protocols based on 20th century medical science mythology, which is based on the assumption that the body is sterile, that disease is either a single pathogen or the body jus magically malfunctioning, that human genetics is broken for some people. Treatment is symptom and marker management, not cure.

    Results? >60% of Americans are in treatment for one or more chronic disease, 12.5% have 5 or more chronic diseases, that as time goes on the stats get worse for the population and for individuals (disease for an individual worsens over time, and more diseases are added).

    So, the argument is how to lower or control costs for failed treatment pragma. Full on Hubris. Medical-Insurance-Pharma-FDA complex is not interested in cure, just funding, driving profits, and keeping the Medicine Man road show going. Tragic and busting America’s and Americans’ budgets.



    • rharkonen113 says:

      A few years ago, the AMA put out a report that 80% of medical costs were due to behavioral choices. Smoking, obesity, promiscuity.

      Interest in healthcare seems to be an intrinsically liberal desire to have a world where one doesn’t experience the consequences of bad decisions, or barring that, people other than yourself pay for them. Desires can be supreme, do whatever you want, with no bad feedback.

      Take your best shot at eating properly, exercising, and living a life with some sort effort at self control (though I suspect most people don’t even know what that really is).

      If that’s not good enough, get over yourself and recognize you live in reality where there are consequences working themselves out, even for things outside your control.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Peoria Jones says:

        Ever since the Baby Boomers started aging, there’s been this mindset that no one should ever have to die…of anything. It’s quite ridiculous, really. I suspect it has much to do with the deterioration of a religious faith.

        OTOH, there is terrible disparity in insurance coverage. It simply isn’t right that many hard-working folks can’t afford insurance, and go without necessary medical care – while others run to the doctor every time they sneeze.

        There must be a solution for those who fall between the cracks, through no fault of their own. These medical issues often compound themselves, and it can end up being a death sentence by virtue of having the wrong job.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. TreeClimber says:

    This gives me hope that my husband will soon be able to get health insurance, and I and the boys can get off of Medicaid. I try to use it as little as possible for myself but I can’t in good conscience deprive my children of whatever health insurance I can get for them…

    Liked by 8 people

    • Skippy says:

      TreeClimber, I will say extra prayers that you succeed.

      Liked by 7 people

    • wondering999 says:

      I didn’t have health insurance until we had children. Always figured that whatever bothered me would go away if I could just get enough sleep… but with children it’s different. Who knows what will come up?

      Many of the mothers I knew when the kids were small, had gone back to work not because they wanted to, but because they had to get access to health insurance for their families. Then their life became an exhausted grind of too many hours (part-time flexible is usually better for moms of young children), daycare expenses, and trying to manage time off for inevitable childhood illnesses and activities. Our Favorite Prez not only makes us laugh with his honest remarks to dishonest people…he’s also going to make life workable again… 🙂 Feeling joy

      Liked by 3 people

    • TrumpPatriot says:

      The natural state is health.

      I grew up in a time and age when there was no such thing as health insurance, and you visited the doctor on the rare occasions of injury or severe symptoms. No doctor ever treated my colds, sore throats, measles, mumps, chicken pox, or when I had scarlettina.

      We were treated at home with bed rest, juices and other fluids, quarantined from school.

      Fighting off these maladies builds strong immune systems which promote health through adulthood. Your body and natural immune system are not designed for the constant assault most provide with daily chemicals from one medicine or another that usually lead to a new problem.

      Liked by 2 people

      • wondering999 says:

        This is true but there are several things in the way.

        One is that parents who work full time 8-5, can’t stay home to watch sick children.

        Another is that schools are poorly ventilated and therefore tend to be a hotbed of illness. When I was a kid we had a bank of open windows which probably cost an arm and a leg in heating costs. School was out during the hottest months (when traditionally children were helping on farms anyway). Those windows were kept open much of the time so we had fresh air. I talked with a kindergarten teacher in NYC who kept her classroom windows open much of the time, making the room pretty cold, and she said it was because otherwise she and the kids would be sick all the time. Jimmy Carter advocated for long underwear and lower thermostats — this tends to produce revolt in a lot of conservatives, but there is logic behind it, even if you have grievances with Mr. Carter


      • TreeClimber says:

        Other than checkups, one instance when I used Medicaid for my son comes to mind: he was learning to walk, we’d just moved into the apartment and the (only) windowsill is less than a foot from the floor. He fell, hit his nose, in less than five seconds there was blood everywhere. I am aware head wounds bleed copiously, but as covered in blood as his face was, I wasn’t sure if he’d knocked out his just-grown-in teeth, broken his nose, bust his head open someplace else, hit his eye/s – and his father went straight into panic mode.

        I called 911 and we got an ambulance. We took him to the hospital and they glued his face back together (other than split skin, he was fine – but we didn’t know that, and it was more than “a bandaid” could handle.) Medicaid covered it, and it’s for instances like that that we have it. I’m no believer in rushing off to the doctor for every small thing – but at the time, that wasn’t a small thing.

        And yes, he’s still got a scar. May for a few years yet.


  8. This plan sounds like it is giving parity to employees of small companies.
    The Tax Reform Act of 1986 gave employers the ability to offer employees health benefits for which premiums could be deducted from their paychecks prior to taxation. This gave the employees a huge savings on those premiums for health, dental and disability insurances.
    However, if you worked for a small employer, not only were the premiums high if you could get insurance, but you got no break at all on the taxes, making it harder to survive as an entrepreneur, or a worker at a small company.
    It sounds to me that these HRAs will give the small guy a better chance at survival, since health insurance instantly becomes more affordable according to your tax bracket. Why did no politician think of this before? The situation has been unbearable for years and has been the cause of many people being uninsured.
    Used to be in this business and I’m very happy to see this policy be put in place.

    Liked by 5 people

    • jebg46 says:

      What’s amazing about President Trump’s policies is that they help so many citizens who fell through the cracks, not based on identity politics but on common sense, and benefits everybody, lifting all up. Truly remarkable.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. cliffaheadwolvesbehind says:

    He just doesn’t stop!
    For those of us who have been lucky enough to have found this site and grew in truth and awareness, who he is doing is simply amazing.
    I wish more people could be free to see and I dread the day he is no longer out there fighting.
    Thank you SD!
    Without yoy, I might not have understood.
    But I do!

    Liked by 5 people

  10. wondering999 says:

    I would like to give a shoutout to an excellent insurance agent here, who has helped our family many times in the past to find affordable insurance plans (we’ve had to switch a number of times). I can’t name her here but what a difference she has made. If families can choose their own insurance plans, good agents will be invaluable… I hope all Treepers will be as fortunate with their agent as we have been!

    During our last switch, she spent 50 minutes on the phone with me, going over that ultra boring book that explains what is covered and what is not. It’s hard to do on your own but bearable with a knowledgeable agent who points out what is and isn’t covered. She knows what to look for and what to point out. Love to good insurance agents!!

    Liked by 6 people

  11. LEET says:

    This is nice and all and a good step in trying to improve the sh*t show known as obamacare but if you REALLY want to bring healtg insurance costs down, STOP/END the obamacare mandates… what every single health care plan must cover by government MANDATE. It is ridiculous and is why I am currently paying $1,106 per month for an insurance plan that has a $6,600 deductible PER FAMILY MEMBER. If every health insurance plan is mandated in what it must cover there is ZERO competion. Obamacare stinks.


  12. pacnwbel says:

    I can’t help thinking about how much illegal aliens are taking from our system particularly in free health care, and bringing with them once eradicated contagious diseases. Obamacare was a dead loss, we knew it would be, competition will bring about more affordable plans covering what are people’s real needs, remember the Little Sisters who could not get an exemption for childbirth costs, please, no more mandates, ever. Cheers Mr. President, you are translating promises into deeds every day. If Congress would stop fighting him, what a truly great country this could be.


  13. mike diamond says:

    Happy BirthDay,President Trump! Thank you for all you do,you and your Family are a Blessing!


  14. mike diamond says:

    Thank you Sundance,for all you do,on this website!,you are a Blessing !


  15. Robert Smith says:

    Great and useful post!! Thank you so much for providing it..


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