It’s not new information at this juncture in time to point out that Donald Trump is not your standard issue Republican politician.
From a campaign (and arguably a life) riddled with controversy that has pretty much cast aside the classic conservative imagery of ‘family values’ to a political platform that eschews traditional – and politically dangerously archaic – Republican mainstays; Donald Trump has done things differently.
And honestly, whether it’s being the first President to breach the gap with a slowly thawing North Korea to an utterly booming economy despite the academically dreaded ‘trade wars’ he has engaged in garnering support of traditionally Democrat blue collar union workers, taken the path less traveled has worked out for Trump more than it hasn’t.
President Trump isn’t the most charming character at times but it’s undeniable he’s displayed a propensity to get things done as a member of a legislatively dysfunctional party in a dysfunctional political system. But while healthcare to date has ranked as one of his – and more so his Republican Congress’ – biggest setbacks in the wake of the dramatic downfall of a decidedly less than appealing AHCA; Trump genuinely may have just announced a ‘Yuge’ game changing proposal to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Yesterday, the Trump administration unveiled a new proposal to substantially reduce the price of certain costly drugs administered under Medicare, by linking what Medicare pays for these drugs to what other industrialized countries pay. It’s a stunning move that could entirely reshape the way the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries think about their business model.
The Trump proposal would address the problems in Medicare Part B in two principal ways. First, it would eliminate the 6 percent doctor commission for Medicare Part B drugs, and replace it with a fixed fee. In this way, doctors would be reimbursed the same amount for administering a costly drug or an inexpensive one: strongly incentivizing them to administer more affordable medicines with lower inventory costs.
Second, it would link Medicare Part B prices to an International Pricing Index based on sixteen other countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
It cannot be emphasized enough how absolutely earth shaking such a measure would be for the US. Skyrocketing healthcare expenses already threaten to run public entitlement programs into the ground, despite citizens having paid in the entire duration of their employment.
The program would be under the jurisdiction of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, an agency ironically created by his predecessor Barrack Obama as part of the oft maligned ACA. The pilot would cover half of the U.S. population, and the administration estimates that the plan could reduce Medicare Part B spending by $17 billion over the next five years.
Much more impactful however is the complete overhaul of US doctrine to *actually negotiate* drug pricing.
See, when it comes to drug prices in the US, we pay a disgustingly extortionate amount compared to other comparably developed countries; even Canada just next door. This is because US entitlement program – namely Medicaid and Medicare – cannot have any say in pricing whatsoever. In fact, in what can only be explained as the work of lobbyist cronies, the US public sector must adhere to a pricing system created *by the pharmaceutical corporations*.
Enter the Master of ‘The Deal’
I’m quite literally bursting with excitement at the potential outcomes for the future this policy, and more importantly doctrine, change could mean for our absolute wreck of a healthcare system. This is objectively brilliant policymaking.
I myself don’t – and haven’t – ranked amongst what one might coin ‘the pro Trump’ crowd; nor in fact the Republican party at large. But mark my words and make no mistake he’ll have my vote and unwavering support irrespective of how many ill-advised comments and tweets it entails.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) have already come out zealously against this in an effort to halt what could finally end their leeching off the American public.
This is it folks: Trump vs. ‘The Swamp’s’ most powerful entities. If you are a Trump supporter, or just desperately want a decent insurance policy for a fair price, you NEED to tell him this is the right thing; what real Americans have wanted for decades.
If the powers that be are unable to contain the power of sound policy combined with Trump’s natural enigmatic charisma we might truly be on the cusp of watching Donald J. Trump, Make America Great Again.