On February 4, 2020, President Donald Trump delivered the 2020 State of the Union Address (SOTU) to a joint session of Congress.
A series of topics were presented including private healthcare, federal paid family leave and prescription drug cost reform. These items have already made significant impacts on the employee’ benefits industry and progression will continue.
Prescription Drug Cost Reform
Over the years, the Trump administration has focused on increasing healthcare transparency to grant patients more control over healthcare resources. In 2018, President Trump signed two bills into law that banned the “gag clauses” between insurers and pharmacies to ensure consumers would no longer overpay for their prescriptions.
In the SOTU, he announced that 2019 was the first year in 51 years that the cost of prescription drugs decreased. He also called upon Congress to produce bipartisan legislation that would “dramatically [lower] prescription drug prices.”
President Trump has made it a priority to deliver more health coverage options and lower healthcare costs to Americans by supporting employer-sponsored private healthcare. In 2019, the Trump administration passed legislation requiring enhanced transparency for the cost of care, which will go into effect in 2021. The President aims to increase transparency efforts to ultimately help families save “money for substantially better care.”
Similar to the 2019 SOTU, President Trump announced that the administration will “always protect patients with pre-existing conditions,” which has been a key concern over the past few years.
Federal Paid Family Leave
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a U.S. labor law that provides job-protected, unpaid leave for employees with qualified medical and family reasons.
In the SOTU, President Trump referenced and called upon Congress to pass the bipartisan Advancing Support for Working Families Act, a law that would provide new parents within the federal workplace paid family leave. As states propose and pass their own versions of this type of leave, President Trump stated that this law, if passed, would serve as a model for the rest of the country to extend paid leave to parents across the nation.
It’s important to remember that the State of the Union Address is just a speech. What actions will come out of it will remain to be seen. Stay tuned.
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