US President Donald Trump met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turbull and praised the country’s universal healthcare system, just moments after a Republican health care bill was passed to repeal and replace Obamacare, the media reported.
“It’s going to be fantastic health care,” CNN quoted Trump as saying during a press conference with Turnbull on Thursday, referring to his new healthcare plan.
“I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia because you have better health care than we do.”
Australia has a universal healthcare system, known as Medicare, which gives citizens free access to doctors and public hospitals paid for by the government.
Australia’s healthcare system is mostly funded by the government while relying on private health insurance for some services.
Meanwhile, the new Republican bill which was passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday evening by a vote of 217-213 will significantly cut the amount of government support for Medicaid, which provides healthcare support to some US citizens.
Trump and Turnbull also downplayed a testy phone exchange that began their working relationship as they met face to face aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid in Manhattan, The New York Times reported.
“We get along great. We have a fantastic relationship, I love Australia, I always have,” Trump told reporters who witnessed a portion of the meeting between the two leaders in a room near the ship’s main dining area.
Their earlier encounter, the phone call in February, was spoiled by Trump’s hostile reaction to a deal with Australia that former President Barack Obama negotiated in the final weeks of his second term.
During the call, Trump told Turnbull that the agreement would hurt his new administration politically and the President also called the deal “dumb”.
However, during their meeting on Thursday, Turnbull said: “We can put the refugee deal behind you and move on”, reports The New York Times.
In response Trump said: “We had a great telephone call. You guys exaggerated that call. That was a big exaggeration. We’re not babies.”
Trump returned to New York on Thursday night for the first time since he took office on January 20.