Trump’s 7-point Healthcare Plan, Part 1
[Editor’s Note: This blog was originally contributed by ADVANCE staffer Valerie Neff Newitt.]
GOP frontrunner Donald Trump wants to dump Obamacare on day one of his intended presidential administration. It is one strategy, he says, to “make America great again.” On March 2, Trump released his 7-point plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” and redesign American healthcare should he succeed in his bid for the White House.
The plan, not surprisingly called “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again,” is available in its entirety on Trump’s campaign website.1 In it, he rails against the ACA, stating, in excerpt, “This legislation… has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices. Obamacare has raised the economic uncertainty of every single person residing in this country. …The damage done by the Democrats and President Obama, and abetted by the Supreme Court, will be difficult to repair unless the next president and a Republican Congress lead the effort to bring much-needed free market reforms to the healthcare industry. But none of these positive reforms can be accomplished without Obamacare repeal. On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.”
Trump’s position is one based on free market principles which, when implemented “with sound public policy,” will “broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans,” according to the Republican presidential hopeful.
The 7-Point Plan
Trump puts responsibility squarely on the shoulders of Congress to repeal the ACA, and to consider and enact healthcare reform based on his following published policy points. (The italicized opinions within these points are Trump’s alone and do not reflect any approval or disapproval from ADVANCE):
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”