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White House downplays Trump's praise for Australian healthcare
17 May 2017, 01:15 | Katrina Lee
Trump praises Australia's universal health care after Obamacare repealMore
Mr Trump said he would "absolutely" visit Australia as President, with a possible window in November when a series of leadership summits are scheduled in the region, but no dates have been set.
The American Health Care Act, the GOP plan to repeal and replace the law known as Obamacare, scraps a large swath of government control from the healthcare system, essentially moving the U.S. further from an Australia-style universal healthcare.
Mr Trump, while sitting beside Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in NY before their bilateral meeting on Thursday, praised Australia's healthcare system.
Sen. Bernie Sanders quickly tweeted that Australia provides free or subsidized health care: "Thank you Mr. Trump for admitting that universal health care is the better way to go".
Regardless, if Trump is willing to express his support for Australia's system, Sanders and many progressive voices on health care will be only too pleased to use this in the future. "President Trump praised the Australian health care system. and the president is right", the video states.
Australia has a single-payer, Medicare-style health-care system and the House had just voted earlier in the day to move the USA system closer to a private market system.
Trump's new healthcare plan still has to pass the Senate, and Sanders pledged to quote the president's backing of the Australian system while debating the bill on the Senate floor.
Turnbull said that "we can put the refugee deal behind you and move on".
It comes as a recent Harvard Medical School study found almost 45,000 annual deaths in America are associated with a lack of health insurance. "Few peoples in the world share ties in history, affection and culture like the Americans and the Australians".
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That's why Stephanie March, the North America Correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was surprised by Trump's remark.
During the Republican campaign to replace Obamacare they railed against government-funded universal heath-care systems like Australia's.
"To Anthony Pratt who just pledged $2 billion, and that's peanuts for Anthony if you know Anthony", he said to laughs.
Australia's healthcare system is run by the federal government, which Sanders quickly pointed out.
In the USA, the new Republican bill will significantly cut the amount of government support for Medicaid, which provides health care support to some United States citizens.
Ahead of his meeting with Turnbull, Trump downplayed the contentious call he had with Turnbull in January, dismissing the reports of tension as "fake news".
By contrast, House Republicans'Obamacare repeal bill, whose passage Trump celebrated earlier Thursday at the White House, would cut back Medicaid funding in part by repealing a tax on wealthy Americans' investments.
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