WASHINGTON — A small group of hospital executives and physicians met with president-elect Donald Trump at his Florida estate Wednesday, where they discussed ways to improve health care for veterans, as well as the Affordable Care Act and related issues.
Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, said the main focus was how to reform the VA health care system and “provide better quality and timely care to veterans.” Also discussed, he said, was Obamacare, costs, access, and quality of care.
Dr. Paul Rothman, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, said he was thankful and encouraged by the meeting at Mar-a-Lago.
“I believe Mr. Trump’s interest reflects his recognition of the critical importance of health care and biomedical research to the country,” Rothman wrote in an email to STAT.
Rothman was joined by Dr. John Noseworthy, CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; Dr. David Torchiana, CEO of Partners HealthCare in Boston; Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, a West Palm Beach physician and a founder of the Biomedical Research and Education Foundation; and Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, who has been floated as a prospective Trump nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Others present included Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter, a longtime health care philanthropist; Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, and top Trump aide Stephen Bannon.
Trump and the Republican-led Congress plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, action most of the hospital industry opposes, fearing loss of revenue from insured patients.
Torchiana has been among those arguing that repeal of the law could disrupt millions of families who have relied upon it for insurance coverage.
“De-insuring 20 million people, many of whom were probably Trump voters, is a pretty difficult thing to do politically,” Torchiana said in November, according to the Boston Globe. “Figuring out what the pathway is to altering the ACA and doing so in a way that actually doesn’t increase the cost of health care is pretty difficult. There’s not a simple policy solution to it.”
Torchiana did not reveal what he said about the Affordable Care Act to Trump. Partners spokesman Rich Copp told STAT that Torchiana was invited by the president-elect. “They had a conversation that touched on a wide range of health care policy issues, including affordability, access, quality and biomedical research,” Copp said.
Moskowitz said that “the meeting was productive” but that he was “not at liberty” to say more.
Former Wisconsin Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson was also expected to meet with Trump Wednesday about the ACA.