Des Moines, Iowa – On the campaign trail, former President Donald Trump is renewing his pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. However, this goal, which proved to be a major policy failure during his administration, continues to be a nebulous one. Despite his repeated promises, Trump never presented his own replacement plan for Obamacare. Nevertheless, at a recent campaign stop in Iowa, Trump declared, “We’re going to fight for much better health care than Obamacare. Obamacare is a catastrophe.”
As Trump seeks a potential second presidency, his unpredictability makes it challenging to discern his health care priorities. His lack of details and frequent changes in positions, coupled with a lack of response from his campaign when questioned, add to the difficulty of understanding his plans. However, an examination of his previous record on health care may offer some insights into what his priorities might be. Despite many of his administration’s health care accomplishments being reversed by the Biden administration, Trump secured certain significant policy changes that remain in place today.
Perhaps one of Trump’s most significant achievements, though seldom talked about during the current campaign, is his administration’s “Operation Warp Speed,” which managed to create, test, and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine in record time. Additionally, his administration signed a substantial COVID-19 relief bill and oversaw significant budget increases for the National Institutes of Health.
Trump’s stance on abortion policy has been complex and evolving, particularly since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. While he has criticized certain abortion-related decisions and vowed to broker a compromise with “both sides” on the issue, he has not provided specific details on his plans.
Furthermore, many of Trump’s health insurance actions from his administration are still in place today. These include bipartisan measures aimed at protecting patients from unexpected medical bills and regulations requiring hospitals to post prices and insurers to provide estimated costs for procedures. However, his administration did encourage states to impose certain requirements on Medicaid recipients, which was met with contention.
The Trump administration also sought to reduce the price of prescription drugs for consumers, signing measures allowing pharmacists to inform patients when the cash price of a drug is lower than the cost with insurance. Despite these efforts, many of Trump’s proposals were blocked by the courts.
In the realm of veterans’ health, Trump’s overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care has been credited by some advocates. He signed a major bill allowing veterans to obtain care outside VA facilities, with White House officials also attempting to scuttle the passage of the spending needed to fund the initiative.
Additionally, Trump signed into law the “Right to Try Act,” aimed at easing patients’ access to drugs or treatments not yet approved by the FDA. However, there is little evidence supporting his claim that the law had “saved thousands and thousands” of lives, and there are challenges in getting drug companies to release doses of medicines that are still being tested and may be in short supply.
Overall, as Trump continues his presidential aspirations, his stance on health care remains multifaceted, and his potential second term could see a variety of changes and initiatives in the health care landscape.