Health

Debate Watch: Trump vs. Clinton on Health

Where these candidates stand on some of the most critical issues facing our nation

In the decade before 1776, Americans became increasingly unhappy with the British government. Sensible, rational people thought only of ways to repair the relationship between King George and the American colonies. It was the irresponsible radicals who wanted to declare independence.

In much the same way, Hillary Clinton is the choice for Americans who want to repair the relationship between the American people and the American government.

Last year, Big Pharma gave more than $300,000 to Clinton’s campaign, and less than $2,000 to Trump.

Clinton’s political promises rely on tax increases and government entitlements. She plans to further increase regulation — against all evidence it harms the American people, its economy, and the environment.

Donald Trump is the candidate for those Americans who feel the relationship is irreparable. His platform focuses on tax decreases and deregulation to stimulate small-business development, the driver of our economy.

Related: Trump’s Health Care Policy Trumps Hillary’s

How the candidates differ on health care is a clear-cut example. Watch for differences on these three issues in particular: Obamacare, drug costs, and the Veterans Administration.

Obamacare
Democrats have traditionally focused on access to health care — but not cost or implementation. Following Bernie Sanders, Clinton now supports “Medicare for all,” but she doesn’t acknowledge the program is rapidly nearing insolvency. Why? Because Medicare taxes the working and premiums paid by retirees only cover 30 percent of its cost.

At least she acknowledges how she’ll pay for it — by raising taxes on the middle class.

The Affordable Care Act is failing, yet Clinton envisions Obamacare 2.0. On the other hand, Trump, like the businessman he is, acknowledges that while coverage is important, costs need to be lowered or the status quo is not tenable. Mandating insurance, restricting individual choice, expanding subsidies, and increasing government control hasn’t lowered health care costs or increased access to care. Premiums and deductibles are rising, insurers are pulling out of exchanges, and the vast majority of co-ops have failed. And, not surprisingly, healthy people have realized they are better off paying a small penalty than signing up for under-subsidized health care they will likely not use.

Related: 4 Signs Single-Payer Health Care is Coming

Trump, in his recent speech in Roanoke, Virginia, proposed allowing states to find individual solutions such as block grants and high-risk pools — successful solutions prior to the implementation of the ACA.

Prescription Drug Costs
Americans pay the highest prices for prescription medications of any developed country. On top of that, our representatives and pharma lobbyists have made it illegal to purchase drugs from abroad. Clinton’s insipid suggestion to allow Medicare to “negotiate” lower prices is laughable. Anyone living in the Washington Beltway knows no action or real negotiations will follow. Why?

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Last year, Big Pharma gave more than $300,000 to Clinton’s campaign and less than $2,000 to Trump — and that doesn’t include contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton has proposed a plan to “cut costs,” yet let the federal government fund research. It’s convoluted and makes little sense — even pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington don’t understand it.

Late last year, Trump suggested a policy once championed by Sen. Barack Obama in 2008: easing laws to allow for direct importation of medications so that Americans might benefit from the low prices consumers abroad pay, instead of being captive consumers. This could easily shave more than $100 billion from the $375 billion Americans spend yearly on prescription drugs.

VA Health Care
This single-payer system is failing. Clinton says criticisms of the VA are exaggerated, which is reminiscent of a police officer at a crime scene telling you to “move along, nothing to see here.”

[Clinton] wants to have government do everything without regard to cost. [Trump] wants to let people do it for themselves.

Trump has proposed that VA employees be held accountable for their malfeasance. He has also suggested patients be allowed to opt into the private system at the taxpayers expense when delays or gaps in care occur.

Imagine, a humane and practical solution.

Do we do more of what obviously isn’t working? Or do we try things that work outside of health care? Or that work in wholly private areas of health care — like dentistry? Look at the advances where most people are not really insured, but pay out-of-pocket. We are getting far better care, and better goods and services for less. This is in large part due to transparency in pricing, and having choices about how and where to spend our money.

Related: Your Health Care, Illegally Funded

Government-run or government-influenced medicine gives us higher costs, fewer choices, and more mistakes. Yes, Medicare is great, but only because we have written a blank check and handed it to our legislators. Only around 30 percent of the real costs are paid by the taxes coming in. The rest is borrowed from China and has to be paid by our kids.

Maybe we can afford that for the elderly, whom we made promises to long ago. But to put the whole country on the “tab” of the next generation will bankrupt us within weeks, as opposed to years.

One candidate wants to have government do everything for people without regard to cost. The other wants to let people do it for themselves. This really isn’t a hard decision.

Dr. Ramin Oskoui, a cardiologist in the Washington, D.C., area, is CEO of Foxhall Cardiology PC and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

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