Trump's Common-Sense Steps to Improve Health Care

Trump's Common-Sense Steps to Improve Health Care
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Trump's Common-Sense Steps to Improve Health Care
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
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As most of the Democratic presidential contenders’ rally around “Medicare for All,” which would strip 180 million Americans of their private insurance, President Trump is working to improve health care for all Americans.

His health care moves get little mention in the press, but it’s actually happening through a flurry of executive orders and impactful rulings out of the Department of Health and Human Services. Although these actions aren’t as sexy as say, the Russia collusion hoax, they are much more impactful and meaningful to people’s lives.

More than two-thirds of Americans say that reducing health care costs should be a priority for the president and Congress this year, according to a Pew Research survey. It’s a kitchen-table issue the Democrats are campaigning on, while the president is taking action.

As Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took supporters across our northern border in July for a photo op demonstrating how Canada has lower drug prices, the Trump administration last week started allowing some drug imports from Canada.

The proposal has two pathways. The first would would allow pharmacists and wholesalers to submit proposals to HHS to import drugs approved by Canada’s drug authority and the FDA. The second would allow pharmaceutical companies to import drugs made for foreign markets into the U.S. to be sold at foreign prices.

Americans spend more on prescription drugs than every other country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and price spikes in insulin in recent years have left many families desperate for cheaper options. Eighty percent of Americans support importing drugs from Canada to help alleviate their financial burden, according to a KKF Health Tracking Poll.

HHS also approved a record number of low-cost generic drugs during the first year and a half of the president’s term, saving patients $26 billion in costs.

In addition, the president signed an executive order in June to help Americans easily determine the price of health services before they purchase them. This will allow families to shop around for the care they need and not be panicked by the sometimes “surprise” final price tag after the treatment has been completed.

The Trump administration also mandated that pharmaceutical companies include list prices of drugs in television ads in a bid to get them to lower prices. Although the action is being held up in courts, it’s a bold move  – something Democrats talk a lot about, but the president is acting on.

In the last round of Democratic debates, all of the health care discussion centered on Medicare for All. Even those advocating for a Medicare buy-in, such as Kamala Harris, admit it will eventually lead to Medicare for All by crowding out private insurance. Maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe its 10 years from now, but Democrats want to rip away Americans’ private insurance.

President Trump will not let that happen – he will not let Medicare be undermined for the 60 million seniors who depend on it. He will not let the private insurance many Americans enjoy through their employer or union – 180 million people – to be stripped away as an option.

The president believes in expanding choice, driving down costs, and protecting the individual market. His administration has created new insurance options for small employers, finalizing a rule in July for Americans to use tax-free contributions from their employer to purchase the insurance of their choosing.

The administration is also looking at ways to expand the use of health savings accounts and to allow small businesses and organizations to combine and negotiate affordable insurance plans across state lines. 

This week, the president will travel to Florida to discuss his plan to strengthen Medicare. According to the Wall Street Journal, he may call for bolstering Medicare Advantage plans, and  focus on solutions curbing waste, fraud and abuse within the system. He’s also expected to push for changes that could lower the price of patient visits to hospital outpatient clinics, the Journal reported.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has said the administration’s vision of health care is “personalized, affordable, patient-centric that puts you in control of your own health care, treats you like a human being, and not a number.”

That sure does sound a lot better than the uniform, impersonal, socialized system the Democrats are advocating for.

Kelly Sadler is the communications director at America First Policies. She was formerly a special assistant to the president in the Trump administration.

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