President Trump Leads a Listening Session with Health Insurance Company CEOs


The President: You
are the big ones. You are the biggest
of the big, right? (Laughter.) That’s very impressive. Thank you for being here. We just had a great
meeting with the governors on the horrible effects
that Obamacare is having. We’re going to change it
and straighten it out, and make — we have a plan
that’s going to be, I think, fantastic. It will be released
fairly soon. We’ll be talking about it
tomorrow night during the speech. But I think it’s going to
be something special, and we’ll talk it
about right here. I think we’ll get you on,
and I think you’re going to like what you hear. Again, thank you
for being here. I want to thank also
Secretary Tom Price who’s with us, and who’s doing a
phenomenal job on a very complex subject, the
subject of healthcare. He’s an advocate
for the patients. Tom is all about
the patients. That’s what he wants. He wants to have a great
healthcare system. Obamacare has been a
disaster, and it’s only getting worse. Last year alone, Obamacare
premiums increased by double digits. Since it has gone into
effect, premiums are up by almost 100 percent
in many areas. And I think that this year
it’s going to be really the year that I’ve always
predicted — ’17 is going to be a catastrophic
year for Obamacare, for payments. And you just take a look
at what’s happening in various states like
Arizona — I believe it was up 116 percent; it’s
going to be worse this year. Obamacare forced providers
to limit the plan options they offered to patients
and caused them to drive prices way up. Now, a third of United
States counties are down to one insurer, and the
insurers are fleeing. You people know that
better than anybody. Since Obamacare went into
effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped
and have stopped from participating in the
Obamacare exchanges. It has gotten so bad
that nearly 20 million Americans have chosen
to pay the penalty, or received an exemption
rather than buy insurance. That’s something that
nobody has ever heard of or thought could happen,
and they’re actually doing that rather than being
forced to buy insurance. We must work together
to save Americans from Obamacare — you people
know that, and everyone knows that at this
point — to create more competition and to
bring down the prices substantially. The chaos that Obamacare
has created, and for which congressional Democrats —
and you see that — are alone and responsible for
requires swift action. I actually told the
Republicans that if we did nothing, just do nothing
for a two-year period, let Obamacare totally implode
— which it’s doing right now anyway — that would
be, from a political standpoint, the best thing
we could do is to let it implode, and then people
will come begging — the Democrats will come
begging to do something to help them out of the jam. Once we start doing it,
we sort of inherit the problem, we take over the
problem, it becomes ours. But it’s the right thing
to do for the American people. I think allowing this to
go on — this disaster to go on — is a mistake. So I’m asking Secretary
Price to work with you to stabilize the insurance
markets and to ensure a smooth transition
to the new plan. And the new plan will
be a great plan for the patients, for the people,
and hopefully for the companies. It’s going to be a
very competitive plan. And costs will come down,
and I think the healthcare will go up very,
very substantially. I think people are
going to like it a lot. We’ve taken the best of
everything we can take. It’s our hope that
Democrats will stop the obstruction and
resistance. And that’s what they have
— in fact, they have a sign, “resist, resist.”
They want to resist everything, including
Cabinet members. I have many Cabinet
members that haven’t been approved yet, people that
are extraordinary — all of whom are going to be
approved, but they just take forever. It’s called
obstruct and resist. Hope I didn’t give them a
new phrase, because their real phrase is “resist.” I think I just gave
them another word. I shouldn’t
have done that. I’m good at branding. (Laughter.) You’re going to see them now come out, “obstruct and resist.” All right, well, at least
I can take credit for it. And they worked with
us, and we are going to hopefully work with
the Democrats, because ultimately we’re all
people that love this country and we want to do
the right thing, including reforms like expanded
healthcare savings accounts, state
flexibility, and the ability to purchase
across state lines. The state lines are so
important for competition. Everybody has wanted
to do it for years. What’s not to do? So that’s going to
be very important. I want to thank you
all for being here. I want to know and I want
you to know that it’s an honor to do
business with you. It’s a great honor to have
you in the White House. And we look forward to
providing healthcare that is that is extraordinary
— better than any other country anywhere
in the world. And we can do that. We have the talent, we
have the capacity, and we have the people. So we’ll work on
that together. And maybe before the press
leaves, you can just introduce yourself and
your company, and the public will get to see
what you’re about. And then if things aren’t
working out, I’m blaming you anyway. (Laughter.) So we’ll start with Brad. Brad Wilson: Thank you Mr. President. I appreciate the
opportunity to be here. I’m Brad Wilson, president
and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North
Carolina, and pleased to represent our 3.9 million
customers here today. The President:
That’s great, Brad. Great job. Mr. Bertolini: Mark
Bertolini, chairman and CEO of Aetna. The President:
Aetna — good one. Participant: And I also
represent America’s health insurance plans. We represent all health
insurance plans in Washington, D.C.,
including the plan to cover Medicaid
managed care. The President: Great. Mr. Broussard: Bruce
Broussard, CEO of Humana. Mr. Garrity: Pat Garrity,
I’m the CEO of Florida Blue, the Blue Cross Blue
Shield plan in the state of Florida. The President: Great. Mr. Hemsley: I’m Steve
Hemsley from UnitedHealth Group. We’re a diversified health
care company of about 230,000 employees. We serve about 120
million Americans. And we are contributing in
terms of the jobs we’ve — 35,000 in the last five
years and 10,000 in the coming year. We’re a mission-driven
enterprise, help people live healthier lives, and
make the system work for everyone. The President: Good,
thank you very much. Mr. Cordani: Mr.
President, David Cordani from Cigna
Corporation. We’re a global health
service company. Mr. Serota: Scott Serota,
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. We represent 108
million subscribers. The President: 108
million, that’s a pretty big deal, right? Mr. Serota: Yes, it is. The President: Pretty big. Mr. Swedish: Good
morning, Mr. President. I’m Joe Swedish
with Anthem. We’re in 14 states,
representing 40 percent of the American public. We have 40 million
members, and we’ve been involved in the individual
(inaudible) for probably seven decades, and deeply
embedded in the Affordable Care Act situation that
has evolved over the last three years. I don’t want to miss the
opportunity to thank you for the swift and decisive
action that occurred most recently regarding some
adjustments that have occurred in and around — The President: We had to step in. Mr. Swedish: Thank
you very much. The President: It was
going to be an implosion. We had to step in. Thank you for saying that. Mr. Swedish:
Thank you, sir. Thank you. Mr. Tyson: I’m Bernard
Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health
Plan, better known as Kaiser Permanente. We cover 11.7
million Americans. We also are an integrated
delivery system, so we both provide the
coverage and the care. We have Permanente medical
groups that contract exclusively with Kaiser
Foundation Health Plan. And we’re proud to care
for 11.7 million people. The President:
Thank you, Bernard. Mr. Hilferty: Mr.
President, I’m Dan Hilferty. I’m based in Philadelphia
with Independence Blue Cross, Independence
Health Group. We’re in 32 states and the
District of Columbia and a large Medicaid managed
care population. We’re the only player
on the exchange in the five-county
Philadelphia area. And again, I’d like
to echo Joe’s point. We were thrilled with the
initial steps to stabilize the market. We look forward to working
with you, Vice President Pence, Secretary Price in
making sure that we have a sustainable program
for years to come. So thank you. The President: Well,
thank you very much. And the market, as you
know, and we talk about stabilizing the market —
the market is disastrous. It’s going to
absolutely implode. That’s why we’re
meeting today. And I think we’re going
to come up with something where not only will the
market be great, but the people are going to
be taken care of. So we will work that out
I think quite easily, actually. Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody.

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