President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday, implementing what his administration has dubbed the “America First Healthcare Agenda”.
The plan drawn up by the administration aims to cut healthcare costs in the US by ‘cutting red tape’, encouraging the manufacture and sale of cheaper generic medication, investing in disease research, and permitting a wider-range of healthcare plans.
Thursday’s executive order also calls on Congress to ban the practice of “surprise billing”, warning that the president will use a follow-up executive order to ban it in January if Congress does not pass legislation barring the practice.
“Surprise billing”, which has been criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, refers to the practice by health insurers of billing patients for services or service providers which are not included in the insurance plan, even if the hospital visit itself is covered.
Trump announced the new plan during a speech in North Carolina, touting the plan as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare), parts of which have been repealed over the past three years.
The new plan will also provide 33 million seniors with prescription drug discount cards, and enables the import of prescription drugs from Canada.