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    Republicans ignore healthcare during national convention

    The Republicans consider the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, one of the worst laws in American history, a disaster that is derailing the economy, eliminating jobs and making patients unhealthy.

    Yet during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, speaker after speaker took to the stage and said many words about many things, but barely a word about Obamacare or any other important healthcare issue facing physicians and patients today. Even the small handful of physicians who spoke—including Ben Carson, MD, a retired neurosurgeon and former presidential caandidate—have only mentioned healthcare in passing, if at all.

     

    Further reading: Obamacare receives a big, fat 'F' from physicians

     

    Republican physicians who spoke to Medical Economics in Cleveland expressed some frustration with the lack of discussion of an issue important to physicians and their patients. While they agree that the GOP must focus on important issues such as national security and immigration, healthcare needs to be in the spotlight as well.

    “We’ve stopped talking about the ACA, when in fact we should be talking a lot about it,” says Marci Zwelling-Aamot, MD, an internist who runs a concierge practice in Long Beach, California, who attended the RNC as a guest of Texas Rep. Pete Sessions. “It has interfered with business from the get-go. That hasn’t changed a wit. Businesses need to know that if we hire Mr. Trump [as president] to work with us that he will open up a market economy and patients will be able to afford healthcare again.”

    Some speakers have discussed healthcare briefly. For example, Donald Trump, Jr., speaking on Tuesday during the RNC said his father would be “a president who will repeal and replace Obamacare without leaving our most vulnerable citizens without healthcare and who will do it without destroying Medicare.”

    The official Republican platform does not ignore healthcare, but offers few concrete details about how it would work. The platform calls for repealing and replacing Obamacare, reforming Medicare by creating more choice through premium support, converting Medicaid into a block-grant program that gives states control, allowing purchase of insurance across state lines and increasing price transparency.

     

    Hot topic: I'm a Democrat physician and I'm voting for Trump

     

    Furthermore, Trump has focused on seven key points for reforming healthcare, most of them mirrored in the GOP platform.

    Other important issues to Republican physicians interviewed include reforming malpractice rules to eliminate defensive medicine, confronting the opioid epidemic, and creating a healthcare system that values the judgement of physicians instead of bureaucrats.

    Next: Hurdles to discussing healthcare

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