By Annie Dieu-Le-Veut
The Republican front runner Donald Trump’s ideas about changing the American healthcare system are of great interest to us, even though The Holistic Works is primarily all about holistic health therapies.
This is because the present American health provisioning of Obamacare under the Orwellian titled Affordable Care Act is mandatory for all US citizens, whether they rely on holistic health treatments or not. If you live in the US, you still have to pay your healthcare premiums by law – otherwise, you’re heavily fined and if you don’t pay the fine, the money is just grabbed from your bank account.
British readers are also interested to know what’s going on with our cousins across the Atlantic because the running down of the National Health Service, and the moves to bring in charges to see one’s GP, are surely the thin end of the wedge and part of a gradual move to bring in something similar in the UK? Both systems will come under similar umbrella legislation if TPA (in America) and TTIP (in the EU) are passed, and so Brits could well end up with an equally restrictive and expensive Cameroncare or Corbyncare.
Not only that, but which ever side of the Atlantic you’re on, there’s often not an awful lot holistic care can do for say a broken leg in the first stages – you usually need to get to a hospital and have it X-rayed and then set in plaster. Likewise, with serious diseases such as cancer. Most holistic treatments are largely preventative; if you’re in the late stages of cancer, they can’t help much apart from palliative care.
So let’s take a look to see what Donald Trump is offering as an alternative to Obamacare – because unlike Mitt’s Romneycare in the last election, Trump does appear to be offering a much more affordable and better alternative. From his speeches, and also from his positions page, I’ve been able to make the following analysis.
Much needed reforms
His positions page begins:
“Since March of 2010, the American people have had to suffer under the incredible economic burden of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare. This legislation, passed by totally partisan votes in the House and Senate and signed into law by the most divisive and partisan President in American history, 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. As it appears Obamacare is certain to collapse of its own weight, 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.”
So what does Donald Trump plan to do with Obamacare? He promises , on day one of his presidency, to ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal – to junk it completely.
But what will he put in its place? He says that his first step will be to break the stranglehold of restrictive practices on the insurance companies and to open it up to the free market, which will naturally, with greater competition, bring down the price of healthcare premiums for all Americans.
To explain that further – currently, under Obamacare, you only get to choose an insurance provider in your own state. Under Trump’s proposed changes, consumers will be able to choose to pay their premiums to any health insurance provider in the country.
They will also be able to choose their own doctor or other medical provider – unlike under Obamacare in which Obama promised that Americans would be able to keep their own doctor, which turned out not to be true.
All of this opens up the competition, which usually brings down prices.
So that’s a very good first step — but what else does Trump promise?
Consumers will be able to:
- Fully deduct their health insurance premiums from their tax returns, just like businesses are currently allowed to do;
- Have easier access to the public health program, Medicaid;
- Pay in and benefit from Health Savings Accounts which would become part of an individual’s estate that they could pass on, on death, to their children;
- Gain access to cheaper pharmaceuticals once drug companies are stopped from bribing members of Congress for ‘special interests’.
There are also a few other reforms, not directly related to healthcare, which Trump is standing on and, if he gets to implement them, they should automatically reduce the price of health insurance premiums.
One is enforcing the existing laws on immigration and restricting the granting of visas. Currently, illegal immigrants are costing the American healthcare industry $11 billion a year.
He also promises to reform mental health programs and institutions.
But above all, and what is possibly his Trump card (sorry!), is Trump’s biggest platform of all, which is all about growing the economy and bringing capital and jobs back to America again. If he does become President, and his policies are implemented, the increased prosperity that will naturally flow from more people being in work will surely go a long way to relieve the pressure on public health programs like Medicaid and make more affordable premiums feel like much less of a burden.