President Donald Trump had some surprising praise for Australia's universal health care system on the same day that he celebrated the passage of the American Health Care Act, the GOP bill to replace Obamacare.
"It's a very good bill right now," he told the media while sitting next to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
"The premiums are going to gonna come down very substantially, the deductibles are going to come down," he said. "It's going to be fantastic health care. Right now Obamacare is failing. We have a failing health care.
"I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and our friend from Australia, because you have better healthcare than we do," he said.
Detractors of the president noted that Australia's health care system was a "single payer" system, something that Democrats have advocated for the United States for decades, but has been rejected by conservatives.
The AHCA passed earlier Thursday in a narrow vote through the House of Representatives and now awaits consideration and approval by the Senate. Trump took a victory lap in a speech at the White House Rose Garden in front of fellow Republicans who happily praised their efforts in passing the replacement bill for Obamacare after failing twice in the last few weeks.
Democrats were critical of the bill, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) who gave an impassioned speech decrying the pain and death that he says the plan would cause American families.
Trump just now to Australia's PM: "You have better health care than we do."
FYI: Australia has universal health care. pic.twitter.com/CuqrPHyFWn
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 5, 2017
As a candidate, Trump had advocated for a single payer health care system, most notably during the first debate of the Republican primary. As late as January he seemed to still hold some affinity for the policy, saying, "We are going to have insurance for everybody. I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not."