Last week during the Republican convention, as I watched in disbelief from my couch and worked on patient charts and phone calls, Trump and the GOP outlined their plans for “law and order,” getting tough on China, and starting an economic recovery.
Many, if not all, of Trump’s ill-advised plans concern me, but as a primary care physician, I am deeply concerned by their plans for healthcare and containment of the virus.
It seems Republicans don’t understand how hard it is for many Americans to get the coverage they need—another four years of Trump and GOP leaders would be a disaster for the health of Ohioans.
In his speech, Donald Trump said “We will always and very strongly protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and that is a pledge from the entire Republican Party.
But we don’t need a pledge. We already have a law that protects folks with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or any other preexisting condition: It’s called the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—and it’s the same law Trump is currently suing to repeal in court; a law that Republicans have tried to do away with over 70 times.
Trump also claimed “We will end surprise medical billing, require price transparency, and further reduce the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance premiums.” But he hasn’t put forth any policy that addresses these crucial issues for Ohioans.
Instead of empty promises, Joe Biden and the Democrats have plans to expand healthcare—like they did 10 years ago when they provided over 20 million Americans healthcare through the Affordable Care Act.
They’ll lower the Medicare age to 60 so hardworking Ohioans near the retirement age can get cheaper coverage. They’ll allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies on drug prices— actually lowering prescription costs. And they’ll create a Government Healthcare option because no Ohioan should be at the mercy of insurance companies when choosing coverage.
There’s also the crucial issue of opioids, which claims the lives of 5,000 Ohioans each year. Republicans boasted about their progress on addiction issues —s potlighting the story of addiction survivors and their children—but in reality Opioid deaths went up in 2019, as deadly Fentanyl overdoses ravaged our communities.
Right now, as Ohioans lose their homes, jobs, and purpose, we need bold government action to make sure more of our neighbors don’t succumb to the devastation of substance abuse.
The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion—which Joe Biden helped pass—helped reduce opioid deaths by 6 percent. As President, Biden will go further, investing 125 billion — 40 times more than Trump — on opioid treatment.
Lastly, Trump continued his month-long campaign to call COVID-19 the “China-Virus,” blaming foreign countries for our circumstances.
Yes, the Coronavirus came from China. And yes, at the outset, China did a poor job managing, containing, and sharing information about the virus. But China also enforced mask mandates, tested widely, and didn’t treat the virus like “hoax.” They now have about 1/40th the deaths we do—even though they are three times our size in population.
Let’s remember, Trump called this disease a “bad flu”; he said it would go away in April, and he told us to drink bleach. His inaction to take care of our communities and jobs is why we are at an economic and educational standstill—not because of China.
Let’s also remember that his inability to lead with a clear and compassionate voice has left, in the midst of the century’s greatest healthcare crisis, a country that feels rudderless and collectively anxious. As citizens, we must demand better. We can do better.
This fall, I’m proud to join a large group of nurses, doctors, and hospital custodians voting for Joe Biden and the Democrats. They understand the importance of Healthcare—in Ohio and across the country.
Editor’s note: Beth Weinstock MD, of Columbus, works for Equitas Health and has more than 25 years of primary care experience in Ohio.