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Trump to Issue Executive Order Allowing Prescription Drug Imports: Report

Yuval Rosenberg

President Trump will soon issue an executive order allowing the importation of some prescription drugs, The Washington Post reports, citing senior administration officials.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a plan this summer outlining a path toward allowing drugs to be imported from Canada or other countries.

Trump’s announcement, the Post’s Paige Winfield Cunningham writes, will be part of a broader presidential address outlining Trump’s vision for the U.S. health-care system and contrasting his plan with calls by some Democrats for a shift to Medicare for All.

More from Winfield Cunningham:

“The executive order may call upon federal agencies to find ways to strengthen the private plans offered through Medicare Advantage, a popular alternative to traditional Medicare that covers about one-third of seniors. One way could be to let Medicare Advantage plans offer a wider array of medical benefits.”

“The president will also call for opening the door to drug imports from other countries to bring down the price of medicines purchased by Americans — a proposal Democrats have typically supported and might find difficult to criticize.”

A piecemeal reform plan: While Trump may again call for full repeal of Obamacare — he has pledged to repeal the law if he is re-elected and Republicans retake full control of Congress — he likely won’t be unveiling a comprehensive replacement plan. Instead, White House officials tell the Post, Trump will emphasize plans he’s already announced. “This is a series of actions and proposals that, when pieced together, will be our plan for reforming health care,” one unnamed official told the Post. “If you guys think we’re going to drop a bill overnight, that would be the wrong impression.”

Why it matters: The Trump administration’s approach could heighten the chaos in the health-care system if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit strikes down the Affordable Care Act in an ongoing Republican-led lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law. The court is reportedly expected to rule next month, with an appeal to the Supreme Court likely to follow no matter how it rules.

For more on Trump’s health-care agenda, see this new piece from Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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