My gut feeling is that Donald Trump is getting nervous ahead of tonight’s debate. Last time, he was effectively stymied by an aggressive Ted Cruz, who brought an abrupt end to Trump’s onstage bluster by asking for policy specifics. This time, no one is going to put baby in a corner.
Behold: Donald Trump’s seven point plan for Making Healthcare Great Again. Or rather, Healthcare to Make American Great Again:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Some of these are, it pains me to say, legitimately good ideas. Price transparency could go a long way to reducing the cost of American healthcare, as could competition. Repealing Obamacare also relieves a huge burden on insurance providers and people who buy individual plans. It opens up HSAs and gives more home control over healthcare. But it’s also rife with buzzwords. And noticeably absent is Trump’s pet project: negotiating lower drug prices for Medicare users, which is a winner with old people, but not so much with people who participate in free markets.
At any rate, it’s not single-payer. I wonder what precipitated that change. Actually I don’t. I suppose if you can’t beat Donald Trump, at least you can force him to acknowledge you have superior ideas, even if he has superior communication.