On July 21st, Donald Trump officially became the Republican nominee for President of the United States. An unconventional Republican, his positions on key policy issues are now largely representative of his party’s agenda, although little buy-in was sought or gained from his leadership.
The non-traditional nature of Trump’s campaign style has left little room for extensive coverage of any healthcare policy positions or comments. Mr. Trump’s vision for healthcare centers on “free market principals” that the campaign sees as foundational to true healthcare reform. Trump hopes, if elected, to work with Congress to overturn some existing healthcare laws and “restore faith in government and economic liberty to the people.”
As part of this approach, the Trump campaign is encouraging the House and Senate to work with him on the following:
- Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
- Eliminate the individual mandate. The campaign notes: “No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.”
- Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. The Trump campaign says, “By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.”
- Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system.
- Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The campaign says “contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate. These accounts would become part of the estate of the individual and could be passed on to heirs without fear of any death penalty.”
- Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals.
- Block-grant Medicaid to the states. His campaign notes: “Nearly every state already offers benefits beyond what is required in the current Medicaid structure. The state governments know their people best and can manage the administration of Medicaid far better without federal overhead. “
- Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products.
Mr. Trump believes that the above reforms will lower healthcare costs for all Americans and supports lowering healthcare costs by “enforcing immigration laws, eliminating fraud and waste and energizing our economy” to “relieve the economic pressures felt by every American.”
His campaign commented: “Providing healthcare to illegal immigrants costs us some $11 billion annually. If we were to simply enforce the current immigration laws and restrict the unbridled granting of visas to this country, we could relieve healthcare cost pressures on state and local governments. To reduce the number of individuals needing access to programs like Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program we will need to install programs that grow the economy and bring capital and jobs back to America. The best social program has always been a job – and taking care of our economy will go a long way towards reducing our dependence on public health programs.”
Mr. Trump supports reform of the nation’s mental health programs and institutions and points to “promising reforms being developed in Congress” with bi-partisan support.
A few weeks ago, we pledged to provide information on the healthcare policy positions of the two major candidates for the White House. On many issues, the candidates’ general platforms are in line with the political platform of their party; Clinton is pro-choice, Trump is pro-life; Clinton supports the DREAM Act and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, while Trump wants to deport all undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the Mexican border. These policy positions feed into the candidates’ positions on healthcare reform, and vice-versa.
The topic of healthcare will continue to be a touchstone for the two campaigns to communicate their vision for the country. While our nation’s healthcare dialogue continues to evolve, we recognize that further reform is imminent. The question becomes: what cooperative, bipartisan legislation can be cobbled together to move the needle forward on healthcare protections, and to what extent will The White House exert its authority in the Congress, post-election in November?
The coming months will provide more insight on this historic and unusual election.
Read our previous politics and healthcare blogs here to catch up:
To learn more about Donald Trump’s healthcare vision, visit his website: https://www.donaldjtrump.com.
Donald Trump image source: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/about/.
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