Live

Watch CBSN Live

Trump announces expansion of health care coverage for small businesses

Trump on health care for small businesses

President Trump announced the expansion of health care coverage for America's small businesses and workers Friday, through health reimbursement arrangements, known as HRAs. 

"HRAs will now receive the same tax treatment that other employer-provided health plans have always enjoyed," Mr. Trump said at an event in the White House Rose Garden.

"This is something that its time has come," he added. "It's popular, it's really, really been a success, and I think this is going to be -- for many people, this will be the way of the future."

HRAs are employer-funded group health plans that reimburse employees tax-free for qualified medical expenses, up to a fixed-dollar amount per year. The unused amounts can be rolled over, and the employer funds and owns the account.

Mr. Trump also promised more action in two weeks, though he didn't say what it would be.

"We're going to have another big announcement in two weeks -- unrelated -- but something that's going to have a profound effect on the things that we're talking about and have been talking about over the last two and a half years," he said. "It's gonna be something really incredible." He said it was a "very big announcement" and a "big surprise... a very pleasant one."

He also slammed Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" proposal as "socialist health care" that "would crush American workers with higher taxes, long wait times, and far worse care." 

The president has repeatedly vowed that he would turn the Republican Party into the "party of great health care" through the White House's work in reducing red tape in health care coverage. 

The president has been adamant, however, about his efforts to eliminate the Obama-era Affordable Care Act (ACA), which he has described as  a "horrible, no good" plan. The ACA has been instrumental in providing coverage to millions of Americans, including offering protections for those with pre-existing conditions. 

More recently, Mr. Trump promised to "hold insurance companies and hospitals totally accountable" for the practice of surprise medical billing.  While light on details, the Trump administration says its plan will help to protect Americans from rising drug and health care costs. 

Sara Cook contributed to this report.