Trump signals flexibility on Obamacare, citing oval office talk

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(Bloomberg) -- President-elect Donald Trump signaled he may take a more flexible view of what to do with the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health law that’s often called Obamacare.

“Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal.

Trump said Obama suggested areas of the health law to keep during his Thursday meeting with the President, according to the Journal. Shares of health-care companies appeared to have mixed reactions. HCA Holdings Inc., the largest U.S. hospital chain, pared losses to 3.4 percent, from as much as 5.6 percent. Centene Corp., which sells Medicaid and Obamacare plans, closed near its lows of the day, down 8.6 percent.

On the trail, Trump called for “repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare.” His initial health plan, published yesterday on his transition website, also called for scuttling the health law.

“A Trump Administration will work with Congress to repeal the ACA and replace it with a solution that includes Health Savings Accounts, and returns the historic role in regulating health insurance to the States,” according to the website.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he values two features of the ACA: a ban on insurers denying coverage to individuals who are sick, and a provision allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans for a period of time.

His transition website lays out an approach to the issue of coverage for individuals who are sick with so-called "pre-existing conditions" that’s different from the ACA. On the site, Trump says he’d use high-risk pools -- state insurance programs for individuals who are sick or otherwise unable to get coverage -- to cover those with large medical expenses who have “not maintained continuous coverage.”

Both of the features of the ACA that Trump said he favors are also included in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s health plan. Ryan’s plan is widely viewed as a roadmap to conservative ideas that could replace the Affordable Care Act.

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