US President Donald Trump has backed a draft Republican proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare and has also said he is also working on a system to cut drug prices in the United States.
The new healthcare legislation would eliminate the requirement that most Americans obtain medical insurance and create a system of tax credits to coax people to purchase private insurance on the open market.
Democrats were quick to shoot it down with House leader Nancy Pelosi saying the Republican measure would take millions of people off health insurance rolls and benefit the wealthy.
In a series of Twitter posts, Trump called the Republican draft “our wonderful new Healthcare Bill” and said that it was “now out for review and negotiation.”
Trump, who has previously called for lower drug prices, added, “I am working on a new system where there will be competition in the Drug Industry. Pricing for the American people will come way down!”
He gave no details. His comment sent shares of drugmakers lower. Shares of Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co shed 1.1 per cent, and Amgen Inc dropped 1.4 per cent.
The president also said there would be additional action to allow people to buy health insurance across state lines “in phase 2 & 3 of healthcare rollout,” although it was not immediately clear when or how that addition would come.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act, Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, enabled about 20 million Americans who previously had no insurance to obtain medical coverage.
The Republican plan would do away with an expansion of the Medicaid government healthcare program for the poor that was instrumental in reducing the number of uninsured Americans.
It would also remove the penalty paid by Americans without medical insurance and roll back government subsidies that helped lower-income people purchase insurance through government-run exchanges.
Republicans control both Congress and the White House but the future remains uncertain for the plan. It must win approval in the House and the Senate, where it faces a higher bar for passage, before it could go to Trump for his signature.
Health insurers and hospitals have lobbied lawmakers and the Trump administration to try to mitigate the impact of rolling back Obamacare, aiming to prevent people who gained insurance through the law from losing it.