Monday, November 14, 2016

And So It Begins

Here we are less than a week from the election and we already have President-Elect Trump vacillating on some key issues on which he based his campaign. Some of the changes are for the better. For example, keeping some of the key provisions of the ACA such as coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and coverage of children under their parents' plan until age 26. In addition, it looks like that wall may not get built on 100% of the border (some of it may be just a fence or an "electronic" wall), and the level of proposed deportations probably won't happen. 

However, there are several campaign platform changes that are for the worse. These are items that made a Trump presidency somewhat interesting.

First, he is backing off on his pledge to go for congressional term limits. This would have been the most direct way to "drain the swamp" that is Washington DC and basically render the Citizens United ruling obsolete. Since Democrats love to rail against Citizens United, term limits may have held the potential for bipartisan reform. According to Trump and Republican leadership statements since the election, this issue seems dead.

Second, and most significantly, Trump's campaign platform:

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.
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.

These two platform proposals have now been removed. This is critical because these two items, more than any other proposals from either party, would have made a real impact on reducing medical costs in this country. 

If escalating medical costs are not addressed with real change, they will expand and destroy the federal budget (and the ability of the government to raise funds in the bond market) within the next five years and possibly before the next Presidential election cycle. This would have occurred regardless of who won the 2016 election.

If you dislike Trump and the Republicans, this is good news. It could be a Hoover-level destruction of the Republican brand. If you are a citizen of the United States, be very afraid. Especially if you receive any benefits whatsoever from the federal government, are receiving a pension, or pay income taxes. Prepare accordingly.

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