The American Healthcare Act (AHCA) is dead for now. The legislative failure creates a unique opportunity for President Trump to direct a centrist coalition to deliver meaningful and successful healthcare reform. The article, Trumpian Healthcare Reform: A "Silver Linings" Legislative Playbook, digs into the negative impact that the AHCA would have had on all Americans, particularly Trump voters, and the timeliness of a moderate, pragmatic and populist approach that would improve healthcare access and quality while freeing enormous resources to stimulate economic growth. Author David W. Johnson, an expert in market-driven healthcare reform, builds his argument with timely data from Carrot Health, the big-data healthcare analytics firm.
Populist President Donald J. Trump championed a bill that the CBO estimated would cause 24 million Americans to lose their health insurance, including disproportionate numbers of his own ardent supporters. Despite their professed opposition to Obamacare, Trump supporters have a disproportionate need for healthcare services. 4sight Health and Carrot Health collaborated on a detailed health metrics analysis of Trump voters. Carrot compared Physical Inactivity scores to the percentage of Trump voters by county. ("Physical Inactivity" is a powerful predictor of chronic disease, premature mortality and health expenditure.) The results are staggering. The two charts look identical. The higher the level of Physical Inactivity, the higher the voting percentages for Trump. If healthcare insurance coverage declines in these pro-Trump counties, these negative behavioral, treatment and cost trends will amplify. President Trump owes his loyal supporters and all Americans better healthcare, not less healthcare.
Partisan healthcare reform programs, like the AHCA and the ACA, are always endangered species. It's time to try an honest bi-partisan approach. President Trump should create a bi-partisan task force to tackle healthcare reform. Find political heavyweights (e.g. Mitt Romney and Tom Daschle) to lead the effort, work with his administration and hammer out new legislation that could pass both houses of Congress with sizable majorities. Delivering better healthcare for less money would free enormous resources to invest in more productive industries, improve wages and stimulate economic growth.