Here's why a Trump presidency is good for physicians and patients
Editor’s Note: which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Anish Koka, a cardiologist in private practice in Philadelphia. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of or UBM Medica.
Improbably, a real estate tycoon turned reality TV star with no political experience has been elected president by a fiercely divided nation.
More from Dr. Koka: I'm a Democrat physician and I'm voting for Trump
There are a number of questions about the plans of a Donald Trump administration with regards to healthcare, and patients and physicians are understandably fearful. Seismic shifts like this in the political landscape make it difficult to find certitude in predictions on healthcare policy, but there are a number of clues to suggest that the landscape of healthcare may be an improving one for patients and the physicians charged with taking care of them.
At the top of the agenda for both Trump and Congress is repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Clearly, this is much easier said than done. The healthcare reform law is a complex series of expansive regulations that touches payment reform, healthcare delivery and, oh, by the way, also covers 20 million Americans. The easiest to kill of the three would seem to be the Obamacare marketplace covering all those Americans that is propped up by federal subsidies that take the form of “cost sharing” payments to insurance companies. Eliminating funding for these subsidies would make insurers exit the Obamacare marketplace and make it nonviable.
Millions of patients currently with insurance would suddenly lose their health plans. No one wants this, and Trump and the Republican Party now face intense pressure to come up with a replacement. As a result, I find it very unlikely that physicians or patients will suddenly have to deal with a large number of patients without insurance. There are also encouraging signs that the replacement plans being discussed will more than likely include health savings accounts—a Trump/GOP favorite—that will be allowed to directly pay primary care physicians in a subscription model similar to direct primary care. This capitated model puts physicians, rather than insurance companies, in the driver’s seat and would be music to the ears of primary care physicians in desperate need of a lifeline.