Trump expands private-sector Medicare in new executive order

President Trump unveiled a new executive order on Thursday to expand private-sector Medicare, while attacking some of the sweeping plans introduced by his 2020 Democratic rivals to eliminate private health insurance.

"Medicare is under threat like never before," Trump said during a speech in Florida before the Villages, a massive retirement community.

The executive order, titled "Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation's Seniors," will bolster Medicare Advantage, a popular alternative to Medicare that's offered by private insurers. It covers about 22 million Americans.

It also will provide a wider range of health insurance plans, increase the use of telehealth services and improve access through network adequacy.

The executive order was the latest in a broader plan by Trump to revamp health care in the U.S. At the end of July, the Trump administration proposed a new rule requiring hospitals to publicly disclose the discounted prices they offer to insurance companies, a change intended to increase price transparency for patients shopping for care. Earlier in the year, Trump tried to force drug companies to disclose prices in their television ads if the cost is higher than $35 per monthly prescription, though a judge blocked the rule in July.

And moving forward, Trump said a priority for his administration is reducing drug prices.

Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, most voters agree that health care is the most important issue.

Trump used the executive order to draw a sharp contrast between his plan and the proposals introduced by Democratic presidential hopefuls, including calls from both Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to totally eliminate private insurance, including Medicare Advantage.

"All of the Democratic plans would devastate our health care system," Trump said.

Cynthia Fisher, the founder of Patient Rights Advocate, worked with the Trump administration in crafting an earlier executive order on price transparency, which aimed to reduce costs by requiring hospitals to show prices to patients and applauded the latest effort to make health care more accessible.

"These measures are exciting," Fisher told FOX Business. "I think they're steps, and I think the administration has made big moves. They can go further and more boldly," she added.