As the world adjusts to the idea of Donald Trump as President-elect of the United States, AJP examines his comments regarding healthcare and drugs
Trump has become more conservative as time has passed, reversing his pro-choice, pro-legalisation, universal healthcare stances from decades ago to the current policies he takes into his presidency.
1. On abortion: Trump describes himself as “pro-life” and states that abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy, with exceptions of rape, incest or life of the mother. This is a backflip from 1999 when he stated that he favoured abortion rights and said “it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors”.
While he currently admits that Planned Parenthood “does wonderful things” with women’s health, he says that because of their abortion services he would defund it. Trump adds that part of the reason he wants to reverse Obamacare is to close abortion-funding loopholes.
With the Obama administration in the White House for two more months it is bracing for Trump’s stance, proposing a new rule that would prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood or any other family planning provider for political reasons.
2. On illicit drugs: Trump supports the legalisation of medical marijuana. However, in general he is opposed to legalisation of illicit drugs. This is a different stance than in 1990 when he said drugs should be legalised because of the poor law enforcement and controls.
Altogether he believes in letting the states decide, but points to Colorado as an example of how legalisation could lead to issues. Trump said in 2015, “If [states] vote for it, they vote for it. But they’ve got a lot of problems going on right now, in Colorado. Some big problems. But I think medical marijuana, 100 percent … Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think [recreational marijuana] it’s bad. And I feel strongly about that.”
3. On vaccines: Trump is in favour of vaccines, but also says autism has become an “epidemic” and attributes this to the way vaccines are administered.
“I am totally in favour of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. You take this little baby, and you pump—I mean, it looks like it’s meant for a hose, not for a child. Just the other day, a 2-year-old child went to have the vaccine, and got a fever; now is autistic.
“I’m in favour of vaccines, do them over a longer period of time, same amount. And I think you’re going to see a big impact on autism.”
4. On medications: Following free market principles, Trump says he intends to “Remove barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that offer safe, reliable and cheaper products.
“Though the pharmaceutical industry is in the private sector, drug companies provide a public service. Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.”
5. On healthcare coverage: In 2000 Trump wrote that he was a liberal on healthcare and supported a universal healthcare system, where the government acts as an insurer.
However since then he has changed his attitude. During his campaign Trump has vowed to get rid of Obamacare – except pre-existing conditions. Critics are warning that with Obamacare repealed, insurance companies will have no incentive to insure people with pre-existing conditions, although Trump is adamant about keeping them covered.
“I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare. I want to keep pre-existing conditions,” he has said.
“Look, the insurance companies take care of the politicians [and vice versa]. The insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep pre-existing conditions, and that would be a great thing.”
Trump also says he will allow health insurance to be purchased across states to encourage competition and bring down prices.
6. On healthcare services: Trump wants to increase competition between healthcare providers. He says he intends to “require price transparency from all healthcare providers, especially doctors and healthcare organisations like clinics and hospitals. Individuals should be able to shop to find the best prices for procedures, exams or any other medical-related procedure.”
7. On immigration: Trump believes enforcing immigration laws will relieve economic pressures, including in the health sector.
“Providing healthcare to illegal immigrants costs us some $11 billion annually,” he claims on his website.
“If we were to simply enforce the current immigration laws and restrict the unbridled granting of visas to this country, we could relieve healthcare cost pressures on state and local governments.”
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Pat Eaton-Robb, Associated Press, 2 Dec 1999
2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN, 16 Sep 2015
The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, 2 Jul 2000, pp. 206-208, 218