The Newnan Times-Herald


Trump’s continuing failure on health care reform

  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Feb. 28, 2018 - 8:26 PM

Trump’s continuing failure on health care reform

The Newnan Times-Herald

“President Trump has started building a wall… a wall between Americans and their healthcare.” – “Saturday Night Live”

Yes, he did, but why? How did he get himself into this predicament? And, with the recent  appointment of Alex Azar – the former CEO of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical giant – as DHHS Secretary, has he learned anything?

I was a high level corporate executive for 22 years, working directly for corporate CEOs, presidents, COOs and EVPs. I understand how Trump thinks.

CEOs give a command and it is carried out. If it is not completed satisfactorily, heads roll – figuratively at least.

If this sounds like the feudal system, it comes very close. Trump believes himself to be our king, not our president.

He does not understand the role of Congress or the courts. These branches are not part of corporate America. In a corporation, there is the executive branch and a well-compensated board, very often handpicked by the CEO.

Trump approached health care from this background. During the campaign, he stated that he would cover all Americans while lowering costs. He said just “trust me.”

Trump knew nothing about health care and did not feel he should learn. As he said, who knew it was so complicated?

Who knew? Mr. President, most health professionals knew. Why didn’t you ask opinions from various sources instead of your golf course buddies?

My guess is that given Newt Gingrich’s ties to both Trump and Atlanta, he originally suggested Dr. Tom Price to advise the President on health care. Trump’s first big mistake was hiring Rep. Price, a right wing radical Tea Party member, as DHHS Secretary. And, then delegating health reform to him lock, stock and barrel.

Price came up with an extremist plan – the AHCA – to have millions of Americans lose insurance while the wealthy and corporations get a $600 million tax break. But, this was predictable.

The AHCA was just a rehashing of a bill Price had introduced as a congressman. Trump clearly did not have a clue as to his radical views. Since Price remained in the administration until his aircraft follies, he apparently still doesn’t.

Hearing Price on network news shows trying to purposefully mislead the public about the AHCA was absolutely hilarious. He said things like the AHCA ensured “access” for everyone. How ridiculous. With subsidies that were a small fraction of those under Obamacare, how were working people to afford these Trumpcare policies?

Frankly, Price did not care. He is an ideologue who blindly hates government involvement in health care insurance financing. If he had his way, he would do away with traditional Medicare and Medicaid entirely via block grants and vouchers.

In a strange twist of fate, John McCain… the man Trump said was not a hero because he was captured – and tortured – let the king know that the USA is not a banana republic and was the deciding vote on Trumpcare. McCain, the maverick, once again showed that he cared more about the nation than party politics.

So, thank goodness, Trumpcare was not enacted. Only a very small proportion of Americans supported it, and rightly so.

Like a bully, Trump continues to place blame on others. But, strangely, not on Price even after the private plane fiasco.

If you had done your homework to start with, Mr. President, you would have hired someone with less radical views to construct your reform plan. You had a chance to bring in Democrats and have a unity reform plan which would have rapidly been approved by Congress. You chose not to.

The real question is whether King Trump will learn from the defeat. So far, by appointing a guy coming from big pharma who agrees with many of Price's views, he has not.

Oddly, he has nominated Alex Azar, the former CEO of Lilly as Secretary of DHHS. Azar was at Lilly when they tripled the cost of insulin. He was also a lobbyist. Plus, he strongly criticized Obamacare without offering a better substitute.

Mr. President, it was not three GOP moderates or the Democrats who sank health care reform. It was you – and you are doing it again!

Jack Bernard of Fayette County, a retired corporate executive, was a two-term county commissioner and former county Republican Party chairman in Jasper County.