Experts red-card Trump’s likely health impact


A group of public health researchers have slammed Donald Trump’s likely impact on health in a scorecard published in The Lancet: a card that’s awash with red.

The scorecard groups Mr Trump’s likely impact on several areas of health as either red (high risk to health), amber (medium risk), or green (low risk).

None of the areas received a “green” rating, while seven of the remaining 11 were classified “red”.

The Lancet scorecard

“US Presidents make their mark on health, for better or worse,” write the authors, Professor Martin McKee from the Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Scott L Greer, from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; and Professor David Stucker, from the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

“Donald Trump campaigned on a populist platform to ‘make America great again’.

“While the actual policies his administration will pursue—and the priority he will place on each of them—remain in many ways uncertain, both his statements and his nominations for key government posts suggest that his presidency could have profound implications for health.

“His proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a ‘better reform’, his stance on reproductive rights, and his approaches to other areas, such as science policy and climate change, coupled with his stated intention to put ‘America first’ are creating anxiety and uncertainty about America’s domestic health policies and its global leadership role in areas such as security and development.”

The scorecard is based upon a selection of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals pertaining to health and includes criteria on which the authors say the global health community can judge the success or failure of the Trump presidency.

The authors admit that predicting the consequences of Mr Trump’s presidency is difficult due to “considerable uncertainty, and little sign of a coherent plan from Trump’s transition staff and appointees” as well as their concerns that effecting change requires skills and support that they say they are unsure the President possesses.

“At least so far, Trump’s policies and actions indicate a need for considerable concern,” the authors write.

They encourage public health professionals to monitor and hold leaders accountable for their actions.

They also draw a parallel between the events of the Great Depression and its contribution to the rise of fascism, and current political unrest in the US.

“The resonances are clear; the dangers are evident; and the role of public health is more important than ever.”

Read the full article in The Lancet here.

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