President-elect Donald Trump briefly mentioned two Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that he would maintain…to some degree (Photo by Sarah Rice/Getty Images)
Today I watched CBS’s Leslie Stahl interview President-elect Donald Trump on the 60 Minutes YouTube Live Stream that had a viewer chat window on the side. While I tried to ignore everyone cursing at each other and sending racist epithets, sexist and sexual comments, and Swastikas to each other, here’s what Trump said on his healthcare plans:
That’s about it. He mentioned that definitely wants “to focus on healthcare” and when asked what he wants to do right away, he answered: “Well, I would say there was more than one thing, there were three things, it was healthcare, there was immigration and there was a major tax bill lowering taxes in this country. We’re going to substantially simplify and lower the taxes.”
Lesley Stahl interviewed President-elect Trump for 60 minutes. She did not wear this outfit during the interview.. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
My reaction? First of all, I am definitely in favor of better health care for less money. Worse health care for more money would stink. The specifics of what Trump plans to do? Unclear. Although during his campaign he had mentioned allowing the selling of insurance across state lines, making it easier for people to purchase medications from overseas sellers, and medical spending accounts, the general tone of the interview was that not everything that was said during the campaign would necessarily hold:
Secondly and thirdly, Trump did mention two Obamacare provisions that he plans on maintaining, at least in some form. Allowing children to be covered by their parents’ insurance plans (up to age 26) should be good news for younger Millennials. Therefore, if you get the stuffing beat out of you for looking different or having different beliefs, at least you have to worry less about paying medical bills…as long as your parents have insurance and you are young enough.
The other is Obamacare provision is making sure that people with pre-existing conditions are still covered. This should be one of the most important provisions for most people. Health insurance is not there so that it is cheaper for you to remove a wart or get an exam. Health insurance is for catastrophes, when you have major health problems that would wreck you financially. Just because you are healthy and have a job now, does not mean that the day won’t come when you are sick and cannot afford your health care. In fact, the day will come when you get very sick. That and taxes are unavoidable (well, for most people.) Therefore, no matter who you are, you should be interested in having insurance that covers those with pre-existing conditions…with premiums that affordable.
How exactly would it work under Trump? No one knows for sure…perhaps not even Trump. He will have a very steep learning curve about the intricacies of Obamacare and health insurance. Ultimately, any policy that can stimulate competition among insurance companies will probably be beneficial for the consumer. Competition leads to innovation, which leads to better products and offerings. More options for the consumers leads to lower prices. Why do you think there’s so much cheaper stuff on the Internet? Because there are lots of options. Just look at how the auto insurance industry has changed over the years. (Of course, auto insurance is not the same as health insurance, but the principle of competition still applies.)
The question then is how to stimulate and support entrepreneurship, new technology, and other innovation in the health insurance industry. When addressing the healthcare conundrum, maybe Trump should apply some of the principles in the book, Trump University Entrepreneurship 101.