Eight Ways Trump Can Make Health Care Great Again
Peter J. Pitts | 12/9/2016, 6 a.m.
BALTIMORE President-elect Donald Trump has promised to transform American healthcare. Here are eight policies he should consider that could make health care great again:
- Eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board— Created by the Affordable Care Act, this board was designed to bring Medicare costs down. But its powers are terrifying -- with hardly any accountability, IPAB can reduce access to treatments and drastically alter Medicare payments for hospitals, doctors and other providers.
- Redesign State Exchange Subsidies— Experts want the number of young adults in the exchanges to grow to 40 percent to stabilize costs. Trump could accomplish this goal by revamping state exchange subsidies in a way that provides younger adults with the incentives they need to sign up.
- Offer Insurance Policies Across State Lines— This action would inject more competition into the health insurance market, forcing insurers to cut costs and offer better care options.
- Expedite the Approval of New Drugs— Trump could accomplish this goal by implementing the FDA's Real World Evidence program within his first two years of office. The program uses real-world data as scientific evidence for regulatory decisions, which helps to speed up drug approvals.
- Create an "Innovation Czar."— A position in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this "czar" would ensure that federal health agencies develop new research models and public health initiatives. This official could also help ensure new and existing regulations foster— rather than impede— America's innovation ecosystem.
- Permit the Sharing of Off-Label Information— Currently, the Food and Drug Administration bars pharmaceutical companies from sharing information about how their drugs can be used to treat conditions for which they aren't explicitly approved. That ban needs to end. Doctors already prescribe drugs off-label all the time.
- Prevent Fraud and Abuse— Our healthcare system is characterized by inefficiencies, fraud, and abuse. Trump can identify available savings in the system— and make sure those savings are passed on to patients.
- Empower Americans to Get Healthy— Trump should initiate a creative campaign that inspires Americans to eat better and exercise more. Right now, more than two-thirds of adults are considered overweight or obese. Obesity-related diseases drain our nation of $190 billion every year. But by encouraging Americans to take responsibility for their health, Trump could help to decrease the rate of obesity and save our nation healthcare dollars.
Trump's first 100 days in office will set the tone for making America healthy again. By following these eight prescriptions, Trump can help make sure patients are front and center— and kick Uncle Sam out of the doctor's office.
Peter J. Pitts, a former FDA associate commissioner, is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.