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7 topics Trump should address in the State of the Union

February 03, 2019 - 00:00
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[Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal.]

PresidentDonaldTrump will finally deliver his State of the Union address this Tuesday. Americans can certainly expect Trump to advocate border security, including a wall or fence—and he’ll no doubt tout the terrific success of the economy during his tenure. But there’s also plenty more the president should address in his speech, including these 7 topics:


Health Care Solutions

In his State of the Union remarks, Trump should challenge Congress to work with his administration on lowering health care costs, improving choices, and protecting people with pre-existing conditions.  

Last year, the Trump administration acted to provide administrative relief and offer new flexibility to the states. States found that they could lower costs without new federal spending and also ensure those with pre-existing conditions could get access to care.  

These initial results are promising, but more needs to be done to get out from under many fundamentally flawed federal mandates and regulations.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution.

Original research by Heritage Foundation scholars shows that if states get even a little bit of freedom from federal mandates, they can bring costs down further while still protecting people with pre-existing conditions.   

To really turn things around, Trump should call on Congress to work with his administration to build on this success by providing states the statutory flexibility, resources, and incentives they need to lower costs and increase choices for all Americans.

The president’s 2018 budget outlined a plan to do just that and falls in line with a new proposal that has the support of nearly 100 state and national policy leaders.  

Under the Health Care Choices Proposal, everyone who gets a subsidy to buy health care would have the option to use it to get private coverage of their choice—even those on Medicaid.  

The proposal eliminates a perverse federal-subsidy structure in Obamacare that rewards insurance companies that raise premiums by giving them more federal money.  

Instead, the plan would convert this failed spending scheme into a grant to states to achieve the goal of expanding choices and lowering costs while guaranteeing that everyone with pre-existing conditions is protected.

An independent analysis of the plan by the Center for Health and Economy in research commissioned by The Heritage Foundation estimates that the proposal could lower premiums for individual coverage by up to 32 percent.

This plan is far better than what some on the left want to do.  A growing number of Democrats are rallying around proposals that outlaw private insurance and put everyone on a government-run plan.

Research by The Heritage Foundation shows these kinds of ideas will only make matters worse and result in reduced access to care, long waiting lists, and higher tax burdens for working Americans.

—Marie Fishpaw

Increased Border Security

Immigration is an emotionally and politically charged issue, but despite the emotion, good policy hasn’t changed.

The United States still needs better enforcement and border security.

The U.S. needs more and better border security, including a mix of barriers, technology, and agents, deployed where they are cost-effective and most needed.

Perhaps more importantly, however, the president should make the case for better enforcement. When someone overstays a visa, when they show up at a port of entry and claim asylum, when they are apprehended by Border Patrol agents, or when they sneak across the border, the U.S. needs to have strong enforcement to make sure illegal immigrants are caught and removed.

This means making the case for strong interior enforcement, improving Immigration and Customs Enforcement and our immigration courts, and closing loopholes that make it difficult to enforce the law.

Of course, the U.S. also needs to engage with countries south of the border to slow the flow of illegal immigration from Latin America.

Trump can, and should, make the case for these much-needed reforms in his State of the Union address.

—David Inserra

Cutting Spending

Sixty-eight thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child. That’s what the $22 trillion national debt amounts to. The debt is growing at a rapid pace with annual deficits projected to exceed $1 trillion for the foreseeable future.  Congress and the administration should seize the opportunity this year to pair any increase in the debt limit with significant fiscal restraints.

Trump should make it crystal clear that the administration will not support an increase in the debt limit without commensurate budget reforms that reduce and control spending.  

Trump should also set the stage for Budget Control Act negotiations this year by demanding that any increase in the spending caps for discretionary spending must be paid for with spending reductions to duplicative, wasteful, and inappropriate federal spending.

America cannot afford another deficit-busting budget deal.

—Romina Boccia

End the Trade War With China

Conservatives want to hear that the trade war with China is coming to an end.

Since July of last year, the White House has levied new taxes on Chinese imports into America. Beijing has reciprocated against U.S. exporters, leading to an escalation in trade tensions.

With no progress being made yet, U.S. businesses are concerned about the future of U.S. trade policy toward China, as U.S. exporters are losing their market share.

Trump should use the State of the Union address to commit to the principles of free trade and to enforcing the rule of law.

He also should affirm that the White House is close to making a trade deal with China that will remove the tariffs.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is leading the talks with Beijing to reach a trade deal before March 1. Concerns over Chinese practices regarding joint venture requirements, limits on American companies to set their own licensing agreements, the transfer of technology to China, and cyber intrusions have led to tariffs on more than $250 billion worth of annual imports from China.

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