President Donald Trump said that the fight over health care is not finished because the overhaul needs to be done to ensure a "great tax reform" bill.
In an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo, Trump said that tax reform is going to happen "at some point very soon," but that Republicans need to first repeal and replace Obamacare in order to have the budgetary freedom to pass the tax plan they want.
Additionally, Trump said the death of the American Health Care Act — the House GOP bill to overhaul health care — was greatly exaggerated.
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"I think we're doing very well on health care," Trump said. "It's been very much misreported that we failed with health care. We haven't failed, we're negotiating and we continue to negotiate and we will save perhaps $900 billion."
Trump is referring to the Congressional Budget Office report on the AHCA. The CBO estimated that the bill could cut the federal outlays by $880 billion over the next 10 years, and the deficit could shrink by $337 billion. However, after the most recent additions to the AHCA, the CBO updated this to say the deficit could shrink by only $151 billion with outlays decreasing by $1.15 billion and revenue falling by $999 billion.
While the AHCA had some tax cuts directly baked in, the estimates suggest it would have only slightly lowered the federal budget deficit, largely through Medicaid reductions, potentially allowing for even more tax cuts.
You know if you look at the kind of numbers we're talking about that's all going back into the taxes and we have to do health care first to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform," said Trump. "So we're going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do health care first.
Trump did admit that the health care process is "very, very difficult" but since Obamacare is "failing" something must be done. While most health care policy experts argue that the Obamacare individual health insurance exchanges are not failing, they say the Trump administration could still undermine the marketplace.
Additionally, Trump would not commit to the deadline for tax reform laid out by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who said Trump will sign a tax reform bill by the congressional recess in August.
"I don't want to put deadlines," the president said. "Health care is going to happen at some point. Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough I'll start the taxes. But, the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if i can do health care first."
While there has been little clarity so far on tax reform, the other major part of Trump's economic agenda — a promised $1 trillion in infrastructure investment — remains murky as well. The president said that in order to get a second bill on health care passed, which would require 60 votes to avoid a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, he may include the infrastructure package.
"I see it, perhaps, as part of the health care plan," Trump said. "Because phase two of the health care plan in order to get the votes, I need 60% for that and if I put that in the Democrats are actually gong to love the infrastructure plan."