Trump: Health care replacement could take until 2018

By Eric Bradner

CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump says the roll out of his “wonderful” health care policy proposal could take until next year, but Americans can expect tax cuts in 2017.

In an interview with Fox News conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly asked: “Can Americans in 2017 expect a new health care plan rolled out by the Trump administration this year?”

“Yes, in the process and maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year but we’re certainly going to be in the process,” Trump said.

“(It’s) very complicated — Obamacare is a disaster. You have to remember, Obamacare doesn’t work so we are putting in a wonderful plan,” he said. “It statutorily takes a while to get. We’re going to be putting it in fairly soon, I think that — yes, I would like to say by the end of the year at least the rudiments but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

It’s unclear what Trump meant when he said it will take until sometime next year. He had promised to unveil a plan once his Health Secretary nominee, Tom Price, is confirmed. That’s expected to happen later this month.

Trump, however, appears to be acknowledging what Republicans in Congress are also discovering — that it’s not so simple to dismantle the sweeping health reform law. Lawmakers are also slowing the time line to repeal and replace major sections of the law. Some are even talking about repairing it first.

Even after Congress passes a replacement plan and Trump signs it, Obamacare will likely still remain in effect for a year or two. It will take time for insurers and agencies to shift to the new Republican plan.

Trump also answered affirmatively when asked if taxes will be slashed this year.

“I think so, yes,” Trump said. “And I think that before the end of the year I would like to say yes.”

CNN’s Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

This story has been updated.

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