*President Obama said he and Donald Trump, the man who will replace him in the White House, had an “excellent conversation” Thursday as the intense rivals who largely defined the volatile 2016 election discussed the hand-off of the White House, reports USA Today.
The president said his “number one priority” over his last two months in office is to facilitate the transition to the Trump administration.
Trump noted that the Oval Office meeting was supposed to run for 15 minutes, but went closer to 90 minutes.
“As far as I was concerned, it could have gone on longer,” the president-elect said.
After searing rhetoric on the campaign trail — Obama called Trump dangerous, while Trump described the incumbent as perhaps the worst president ever — the two men struck conciliatory notes in the wake of Tuesday’s surprising election results.
“It’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” Trump said during his victory speech early Wednesday.
Meanwhile, USA Today is also reporting that more than 100,000 consumers signed up on Wednesday for Obamacare plans. That’s more than any day since open enrollment started November 1, the Obama administration said Thursday.
The new number represented the total number of people who submitted an application and chose a health plan Wednesday.
“Clearly, health insurance on the Marketplace is a product people want and need,” said HHS spokeswoman Juliet Johnson.
— Sylvia Burwell (@SecBurwell) November 10, 2016
We don’t know if it was discussed in the Oval Office meeting between Obama and Trump, but the president-elect has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and Republican members of Congress, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declared their intention to do so yesterday as well.
However, the article points out that total repeal of the ACA would be very difficult, as some provisions have strong support, the health care industry has implemented many of the law’s sweeping mandates and hospitals don’t want millions of uninsured patients again. Legislation and hospitals that passed both houses of Congress last year before it was vetoed by President Obama would have left more than 20 million people without insurance. It would have eliminated the subsidies to help them pay for it, the penalties if they don’t buy it and the taxes to cover the costs.
Health care economist John Goodman, who advises Republican members of Congress, says that’s something neither party is likely to vote for without the assurance of a presidential veto.
Health care experts assure that nothing has changed — yet. And all sides will push for a reasonable transition, if required.
“We also have a commitment to continuous coverage,” said Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade group representing insurers. “Consumers should be covered and patients should be protected — and sudden disruptions would jeopardize both.”