Skip to main content

Trump Victory Elicits Measured Response from Healthcare Leaders

News  |  By John Commins  
   November 11, 2016

For the most part, the nation's major healthcare payer and provider associations are serving up predictable good-faith pledges to the president-elect, who has promised to upend the healthcare landscape.

One of the most contentious and shocking presidential elections in U.S. history has been greeted with safely worded platitudes by the nation's major healthcare provider and payer associations.

Republican President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare and replace it with "something better," which could create chaos for the healthcare sector.

Trump, GOP In Congress Could Use "Must-Pass" Bills To Bring Health Changes

Nonetheless, it is hard to detect a sense of urgency or alarm based on the comments made so far by major players in the nearly $3 trillion healthcare sector, who greeted the new administration with business-as-usual bromides.

American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack issued a statement that could have been drafted before the votes were counted. He did not refer to Trump by name, but said the nearly 5,000 hospitals in his organization would continue to "work in a bipartisan manner advancing our agenda."

"We look forward to working with the new Administration and Congress on the nation's healthcare challenges and will continue to do everything we can to meet our commitment to the people and communities we serve," Pollack said in prepared remarks.

Bruce Siegel, MD, president and CEO of America's Essential Hospitals, congratulated Trump and urged him to make good on his "commitment to serve as a president for all Americans."

"By ensuring the best possible care for the least fortunate, our hospitals provide the best care to all people," Siegel said. "We must sustain federal support for this mission, reject policy changes that reduce spending at the expense of coverage and access, and continue progress toward transformative approaches to better quality and value."

America's Health Insurance Plans concedes that there "is still a lot to be learned about what policy changes will be proposed," but pledged to "work across the aisle - with every policymaker and the new administration - to find solutions that deliver affordable coverage and high-quality care for everyone."

Kristine Grow, AHIP's senior vice president for communications says the nation's commercial health plans maintain "a commitment to continuous coverage.

Consumers should be covered and patients should be protected – and sudden disruptions would jeopardize both. Consumers, patients, and plans should be given enough time, flexibility and support so that any changes ensure safe and stable coverage."

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association CEO Scott Serota said the "health insurers for one-in-three Americans look forward to working the new president and Congress.

"In particular, we are sharing ideas for improving the individual market, so that consumers have more choices, better prices and a robust private marketplace that is predictable and stable," Serota said.

BCBSA also posted a Tweet recommending that people who are feeling stressed "hug your pet." (#stressed, #stress )

AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD, said his organization "has a history of working in a bipartisan manner as we pursue policies," and that he looks "forward to working with President-elect Trump and a new Congress to improve the health of the nation."

"One of our long-standing policy objectives has been to reduce the number of Americans who lack health insurance coverage, because research demonstrates that those without insurance experience greater suffering and premature deaths," Gurman said.

"A key factor in our evaluation of future proposals is whether the result is more or fewer Americans with insurance and the extent of the coverage compared to existing policies."

American Academy of Family Physicians President John Meigs, MD, sent the president-elect a list of priorities for primary care that included: expanding access to care, ensuring delivery and payment reform, improving affordability, building the primary care workforce, and promoting wellness and prevention.

Even though Trump has supported the expansion of high-deductible health plans as an alternative to Obamacare, the American College of Emergency Physicians is urging him to close insurance coverage gaps that are leaving emergency patients with crippling debts.

"Many people don't realize how little insurance coverage they have until they need emergency care, and then they are shocked at how little their insurance companies pay," ACEP President Rebecca Parker, MD, said in prepared remarks.

"Health insurance companies mislead patients by selling so-called 'affordable' policies that cover very little, until large deductibles are met—and then blame medical providers for charges. State and federal policymakers need to ensure that health insurance plans provide adequate rosters of physicians, affordable deductibles and co-pays and fair payment for emergency services," Parker said.

American Nurses Association President Pamela F. Cipriano, RN, said her organization also looks forward to working with the new Administration that "has an opportunity to unite the country around a shared vision that puts protecting and promoting quality healthcare for all Americans above partisan politics."

Cipriano also noted that 83% of the 52 candidates endorsed by ANA's Political Action Committee won their election and will serve in the 115th Congress.

NNU Battles On
National Nurses United, which had fervently embraced the grassroots candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT), made it clear that it would not strike a conciliatory pose with President-elect Trump in a statement that read more like a political manifesto.

"The challenge to all of us now is to fight with every breath to expand, and coalesce that progressive, social change movement to resist the coming assault by the right, and reinvigorate our work for real change," NNU said.

"The agenda for real transformative change of our broken political and economic system is the only way to protect our nation and our planet."

IHI Acknowledges Angst
Institute for Healthcare Improvement CEO and President Derek Feeley was one of the few healthcare leaders to publicly acknowledge the angst that has fallen over large swaths of the population since Trump's victory.

"We share the sense of uncertainty and anxiety about the future that we are hearing from many of our friends and partners across the world," Feeley said. "At the same time, we are reminded that IHI's mission to improve health and healthcare worldwide can act as a beacon for us, and we trust for others, during unsettled times."

"Although health reform may now face some major challenges, IHI feels more determined than ever to work with partners, old and new, to demonstrate that change is necessary and that improvement is achievable."


John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.