Mar 10, 2020
Transcript: Donald Trump & Mike Pence Meet with Health Insurance Amid Coronavirus
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with health insurance CEO’s today to talk through issues caused by the coronavirus. Read the full transcript of their meeting right here.
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President Donald Trump: (00:01)
… In our country, probably the biggest companies in the world. I can’t imagine being much bigger, but these are the great health insurance companies and I think tremendous progress is being made. They’re willing to do things for the people and their customers and probably in a true sense beyond their customers that normally I don’t think they’d be doing. I want to thank them and they’ll ask Vice President Pence maybe to give us a little update to see where we are.
Vice President Mike Pence: (00:27)
Would be very happy to. Thank you, Mr. President. President Trump made it clear from the early days of the coronavirus in the United States that this would be a whole of government approach. We brought the full resources, the federal government to bear, but this president has also called together businesses and industries to make this a whole of America approach. Last week at this table, the president met with pharmaceutical leaders. We met with nursing home leaders, the leaders of commercial labs, airline industries. We’re bringing all of the businesses as a country to bear to protect the health of the American people. Today, Mr. President, you directed us to bring together insurance companies, health insurance companies that cover through private insurance and through their support of Medicare and Medicaid, almost 240 million Americans. I’m pleased to report as you requested, Mr. President, that all the insurance companies here, either today or before today, have agreed to waive all copays on Coronavirus testing and extend coverage for Coronavirus treatment in all of their benefit plans.
Vice President Mike Pence: (01:39)
At your direction, Medicare and Medicaid last week already made it clear to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries that Coronavirus testing and treatment would be covered. These private insurance carriers have extended that as well. They’ve also agreed to cover telemedicine so that anyone, particularly among the vulnerable senior population, would not feel it necessary to go to a hospital or go to their doctor. They’ll know the telemedicine is covered. These CEOs have also agreed to no surprise billing. We want people to get tested. Over a million tests are out and thanks to the diligent work of CDC and HHS. More than 4 million will go out this week. You’ve worked with commercial labs to expand testing and that’ll continue to increase by the day, but we want the American people to know that they are covered through private insurance. They are covered through Medicare, Medicaid and there’ll be no surprise billing. Finally, Mr. President, as you directed us yesterday, we produced helpful information for every American family, how they can keep their home, their school, their business, their establishment, safer from the spread of the Coronavirus.
Vice President Mike Pence: (02:54)
All of these major health insurance companies agreed to convey all this information starting today to all of their customers as well as to send the CDC’s guidance for seniors with underlying health conditions to give them specific recommendations. As you requested us, they’ve all agreed to work with us to communicate information directly to the American people because as you’ve said, Mr. President, while the risk to the average American of contracting the Coronavirus remains low, we want a full partnership with industry and give the American people all the information they need to avoid contracting or spreading the Coronavirus. Particularly, these companies are going to help us get information to seniors with underlying health conditions who really represent the most vulnerable population to serious outcomes. I know I speak on behalf of the president when I say how grateful we are for the collaborative spirit, the generosity and the partnership represented by the great companies at this table.
President Donald Trump: (03:59)
That’s true, very true. We are working very closely with the cruise line industry and very, very closely. They’re taking very strong steps in terms of people going on and going off, but they’re spending a lot of money and they are working very hard and we’re going to be helping that industry. Likewise, with the airline industry, they’re taking very, very strong steps for people coming into our country, even getting off the planes, so we are working very closely with them. We’re helping them. They’re two great industries and we’ll be helping them through this patch. So far, I think it’s been going very well. You know all about the big ship that came in yesterday and that’s going along incredibly well. Working with the state of California successfully, very successfully. We’re also with Canada and with UK, so the UK is taking their people, their citizens back and Canada is about 600 people.
President Donald Trump: (04:57)
They’re coming back and they’re being met and brought to planes and being brought up in a very, very dignified fashion back into Canada. We appreciate all the help we’ve had in that and that’s working out very well. With that, I might just ask a couple of folks if you’d like to make a statement on behalf of the industry perhaps. Would you like to make a statement on behalf of your industry?
Sure. I am Gayle [inaudible 00:05:25]. One of the things that I think is most important is from day one as an industry and as a company at Anthem, we have been very focused on ensuring access to care and that cost is not an issue for people to have the testing appropriately done. We’re pleased that we’re able to continue to expand this access and as the president said, I think it’s really important for all of our customers, our members and the American people to have this, so we are very supportive of the efforts underway.
President Donald Trump: (05:51)
Great job you’re doing. Thank you very much. Anybody else? Would anybody else like to make a statement? Even the ones over here, you’re going to turn your head. Look at those cameras.
Speaker 4: (05:59)
Sure, I’ll say on behalf of the industry, they represent the great companies around the table here, but then those that operate at a local level that we all have the same commitment to making sure that cost is not a barrier to people getting tested and treated. We want to make sure that we’re focused on prevention, testing and treatment, and getting that information out as quickly as we can to make sure people know how to limit the spread of the disease.
President Donald Trump: (06:23)
Very good. Thank you very much.
Speaker 5: (06:25)
Mr. President, on behalf of the 36 independent Blue Cross Blue Shield plans that insure one in three Americans, we’re pleased to make sure that people have access to the test, to the coverage that they need. I also want you to know that the commitments we’ve made also apply to the Federal Employees Program where we can share over 5 million.
President Donald Trump: (06:43)
That’s great. Thank you. Thank you all. Please.
Speaker 6: (06:45)
Maybe. I would just like to say as a large servicer of Medicare, that we are very oriented to the aging population and most importantly, how do we make it as easy as possible for them to receive their tests, then being able to do it in the home is a very important part of that. When we think about telemedicine and home, it reduces great barriers that allow them to have the testing.
President Donald Trump: (07:10)
A lot of people in there are taking advantage of that really strong advantage. Who else would you suggest?
Dave Whitman: (07:15)
President Donald Trump: (07:16)
Dave Whitman: (07:16)
Mr. President, thank you for having us first and foremost, I guess just to extend the conversation here, we’re working very hard to protect the health workforce, which we think is essential to ensure that Americans have access to the proper care, getting to health workforce back to work so it could be tested and back serving the patients is a high priority for us as an organization serving some around 18 million patients across America.
President Donald Trump: (07:45)
Right, thank you. Governor, [inaudible 00:07:48]. Nice to see you, by the way.
Mr. President, I just appreciate your leadership and vice president’s leadership to work with the governors to be able to make sure we’re keeping people healthy in our states. It’s been a fantastic cooperation at all levels of government and we really appreciate also all the cooperation of all of these executives around the table to make sure that the people in my state and all of the states across the country will be able to get the test and not worry about how to [inaudible 00:08:14].
President Donald Trump: (08:13)
Right. [inaudible 00:00:08:15]. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody.