President Donald Trump is keeping his promise to improve the American healthcare system, ensuring the best possible outcomes for doctors, patients, and taxpayers alike.
February is Heart Health Month, which is a pretty big deal to me as a cardiologist. It should also be a big deal to the roughly 150 million Americans with risk factors for heart disease.
“More than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States,” the president noted during his 2018 Heart Health Month proclamation.
“Every year, millions of Americans suffer from the healthcare costs, physical disabilities, and premature death caused by cardiovascular diseases and conditions,” he added in this year’s proclamation.
Those are important points, and they warrant further emphasis. In addition to the 640,000 Americans that it kills every year, cardiovascular disease imposes hundreds of billions of dollars in costs, in the form of both treatment and lost productivity. It’s not just fatalities that we have to worry about, either. Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer non-fatal heart attacks each year, a significant portion of which are so-called “silent” heart attacks that go unnoticed by the victim.
Fortunately, medical science keeps getting better and better at treating heart disease and its underlying causes, allowing cardiologists like me to help our high-risk patients manage their conditions more effectively, and to treat patients who suffer heart attacks and strokes with less-invasive procedures that come with fewer risks.
Of course, innovation is a product of the free market, not big government. While preserving the healthcare benefits that millions of Americans rely on, the Trump administration has worked to eliminate regulatory obstacles and streamline the federal bureaucracy in order to minimize the time it takes for new medical devices, drugs, and healthcare technologies to become available to patients. Those efforts are already bearing fruits, reducing healthcare costs while expanding access to medical care for the most vulnerable patients.
Prescription drug prices, for instance, have been steadily falling, largely due to the president’s emphasis on expediting approval of new generic drugs, which introduce price-lowering competition into the marketplace. Drug prices rose faster than inflation throughout President Obama’s tenure, but started dropping soon after Trump took office. In fact, last June marked the largest single-year decline since 1967.
Despite these encouraging results, the Democrats want to take the exact opposite approach to healthcare policy. Their “Medicare for All” plan — which would really be more like “Medicare for None” — would bankrupt taxpayers, reduce the quality of care available to all patients, and eliminate the competition that drives prices down and fosters technological advances.
The most immediate impact of “Medicare for All” would be that roughly 180 million Americans would suddenly lose their existing health coverage, because all private health insurance plans would be illegal under the Democrats’ government-run system. Even the 24 million seniors who currently rely on Medicare Advantage would have the rug pulled out from under them, since they would be forced to endure the same bare-bones healthcare as everyone else.
Democrats seem to think that the federal government can simply mandate that doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies provide more services for less money, but that’s not how anything in this world works. Basic economics teaches that inflating demand while artificially limiting prices only serves to reduce supply. In the world of healthcare, that translates to longer lines for lower-quality service.
President Trump knows that the American people deserve better than inferior medical care at exorbitant prices, and he knows what it takes to deliver the outcomes we expect at prices we can afford. By getting federal bureaucrats out of the way, he’s allowing medical professionals like me to do what we do best: provide our patients with the care and support they need to live long, healthy lives.
Dr. Shyla Valentine has over 27 years of medical experience and is currently a cardiologist. She serves as a Board Member for Women for Trump.