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President Trump's impact on healthcare
If you’re concerned or confused about what President Trump’s impact on healthcare will be, you’re not alone. When he was campaigning, healthcare was one of the biggest issues President Trump talked about. He vowed to repeal Obamacare and “broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans”. As a result, one of his first actions after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order directing the incoming head of Human and Health Services to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay,” the implementation or enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. What exactly does the executive order mean?

Quite honestly, the executive order issued by President Trump is vague, and as a result, probably won’t immediately impact how the Affordable Care Act is regulated. It does, however, signify his intent to keep his campaign promise, and change how Americans obtain health insurance coverage. On Trump’s website, he mentions 7 items that will fix health insurance in America. For your convenience, I have listed those 7 items below and will discuss whether or not President Trump’s impact on health care will actually make health insurance more accessible and affordable.

President Trump’s Health Care Reform Checklist

1

Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.

Our Take:

The “individual mandate” requires everyone to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. By removing the madnate, President Trump will not force anyone to purchase health insurance that doesn’t want it.

2

Modify existing law that inhibits the sale of health insurance across state lines. As long as the plan purchased complies with state requirements, any vendor ought to be able to offer insurance in any state. By allowing full competition in this market, insurance costs will go down and consumer satisfaction will go up.

Our Take:

Remember the breakup of the Bell telephone company during the 1980’s due to anti-trust laws? At that time, everyone was concerned about the cost of phone service sky-rocketing if Bell relinquished all local service to other vendors. However, what it did was add competition. As a result, innovations in technology were made, the number of service providers to choose from grew and consequently, prices dropped, not rose. The same scenario potentially applies to the health insurance industry. Why shouldn’t someone be able to purchase health insurance from a carrier outside their respective state? It will increase competition and lower premiums.

3

Allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system. Businesses are allowed to take these deductions so why wouldn’t Congress allow individuals the same exemptions? As we allow the free market to provide insurance coverage opportunities to companies and individuals, we must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance. We must review basic options for Medicaid and work with states to ensure that those who want healthcare coverage can have it.

Our Take:

On paper, this sounds great. It is an effective incentive for people to sign up for health insurance. However, that’s all it is, an incentive. It is not going to lower premiums.

4

Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). 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. These plans should be particularly attractive to young people who are healthy and can afford high-deductible insurance plans. These funds can be used by any member of a family without penalty. The flexibility and security provided by HSAs will be of great benefit to all who participate.

Our Take:

Hypothetically, enhancing the advantages of HSA’s may entice people to take more responsibility and save for health insurance related expenses.

5

Require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organizations like clinics and hospitals. Individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.

Our Take:

Transparency is good. However, I’m just unsure how this will be done to where it actually benefits the consumer.

6

Block-grant Medicaid to the states. 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. States will have the incentives to seek out and eliminate fraud, waste and abuse to preserve our precious resources.

Our Take:

Shifting the responsibility of regulating Medicaid to the states could be a cost-effective administrative solution. However, it would take years for the states to iron out all the kinks and hire the right personnel.

7

Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products. Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America. Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.

Our Take:

Theoretically, this also sounds great. However, getting a politician to ignore special interests and the pharmaceutical industry to give good will discounts, doesn’t seem likely.

What Will Trump’s Impact On Healthcare Be?

All of Trump’s ideas have potential. However, a number of questions remain. How will these ideas will get implemented? Furthermore, how much will all of this cost, and how long will it take? Obamacare is in its fourth year and is still, operationally, stumbling. Point being, no real plan has been set forth by the Trump administration. Therefore, all anyone can really do is speculate. With that being said, President Trump’s impact on healthcare and what he might do can be broken down into three options:

  • Do nothing. Probably the least likely to occur. Yet, President Trump could choose to leave the Affordable Care Act as is.
  • Repeal and not replace. Also highly unlikely. President Trump has stated he wants new plan implemented. Not to mention, doing this would devastate insurance carriers.
  • Repeal and replace parts of the ACA. Probably the most likely option. However, this is also the option which leaves the most questions.

Ultimately, with the first 2 options highly unlikely to occur, the third option also has many obstacles in its way. For example, if new legislation is introduced to replace parts of Obamacare, Congress will have to vote on it.

Source:
Bankrate, What does President Trump mean for health care?

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