Debate Tantalized Voters on Healthcare Questions


This election will be decisive for the direction of American medicine, states the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). The second Presidential debate, despite distractions related to comments made by Donald Trump 11 years ago, hinted at important questions and showed distinct differences between the candidates, states AAPS executive director Jane Orient, M.D. She made the following observations:

Trump dropped two important names: Bill Clinton, who said ObamaCare is “crazy,” and MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, a major architect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), who admitted it was based on misrepresentations. Hillary Clinton did not respond but promises to “strengthen” ACA.

Clinton basically admitted to having a “public position” and a “private position” on issues, as Wikileaks revealed in speeches made to important donors, but defended it by comparing it with Abraham Lincoln’s using different sets of arguments for the Thirteenth Amendment.

Trump cited the enormous increases in premiums and deductibles under ACA, with still worse expected in 2017, after the election. Clinton noted that more Americans were enrolled in insurance than ever before. She did not allude to the cost control mechanism that she favors according to Wikileaks documents: making people wait in line for care.

Trump advocated more competition, as by cross-state insurance, and block-granting Medicaid. [The latter would permit innovation by states and end states’ gaming the system to bring in more federal dollars.] Clinton did not comment.

Trump emphasized the $19 trillion federal debt and the urgent need for economic growth, spurred by reducing taxation and regulation. Clinton advocated heavier taxes on the “rich,” such as those earning more than $5 million per year, without calculating either the amount of revenue that could be raised or the implications for growth.

“There is a clear difference between candidates on the stability of the current system and the role of government in medicine,” Orient concluded. “The debate format did not permit follow-up to clarify key questions, such as whether private medicine and voluntary private financing mechanisms will be allowed to exist.”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in virtually all specialties and every state. Founded in 1943, AAPS has the motto “omnia pro aegroto,” which means “all for the patient.”

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