Making American Healthcare Great Again An American President working for US.
2017 Person of the Year - MAGA By Yisrael M Safeek, MD, MBA
USA December 16, 2017
The SafeCare magazine Person of the Year is an annual recognition provided by SafeCare magazine that recognizes and applauds the one individual who has contributed significantly toward improving the access, cost, and quality of healthcare across the globe. The designation is based upon the three goals set forth by SafeCare Magazine: 1. Commitment to improving access, cost, and quality of healthcare nationally/globally. 2. Tangible and quantifiable steps taken toward addressing the current challenges and future perspectives of access, cost, and quality of healthcare. 3. Leadership toward advancing access, cost, and quality of care within the healthcare system, the business sector, the general public, and governmental domains. We feel that the 2017 SafeCare Person of the Year not only embodied all these areas, but also surpassed them all in one year. We congratulate the 2017 SafeCare Person of the Year, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America. “The time has come to take action to improve access, increase choices, and lower costs for healthcare,” stated President Donald J. Trump. Since occupying the Oval Office, President Trump has become a Keeper of Promises as he fulfills several platform healthcare promises and more:
Took Executive Action by Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition
President Trump has authorized his cabinet to look into ways of giving Americans a truly competitive national marketplace and getting businesses to set up "tax-free health reimbursement arrangements" for workers. President Trump signed an Executive Order that would allow the sale of health insurance across state lines, expand insurance options, and end taxpayer subsidies (corporate welfare) to billion dollar insurance companies. The order aimed at expanding insurance options for Americans who buy their own coverage or receive it through working at a small company. The order directed the Secretary of Labor to consider expanding access to Associated Health Plans (AHPs), which could potentially allow American employers to form groups across state lines. Additionally, the order directed the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider expanding coverage through low cost short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI). One study found that on average, STLDI costs one-third of the price of the cheapest Obamacare plans. The plan will take the first steps to expand choices and alternatives to Obamacare plans and increase competition to bring down the costs for consumers. The new options would also broaden instructions for agencies to explore loosening regulations and lowering premiums. While nearly nine million consumers who receive tax credits under the Obama-era law are protected from higher premiums, about 6.7 million other middle income customers with individual coverage get no subsidies, and so the President’s order would help these Americans. Finally, the order directs the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider changes to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to allow employers to make better use of them for their employees. HRAs are employer-funded accounts that reimburse employees for healthcare expenses, including deductibles and copayments. Expanding HRAs could potentially act as another mechanism for affording American workers greater flexibility and control over how to finance their healthcare needs.
Rescinded Mandate Forcing Nuns to provide Birth Control
The Little Sisters of the Poor are an international congregation of Roman Catholic nuns founded in 1839. They care for the elderly poor and serve the most vulnerable in society until their dying breaths. The so-called birth-control mandate of Obamacare required employers like Little Sisters of the Poor to cover 20 varieties of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost. In addition to cost burden, the mandate placed an obstacle on the nuns’ religious exercise, even with an accommodation from the government. New rules from the Trump Department of Health and Human Services would let businesses or non-profit organizations lodge religious or moral objections to obtain an exemption from the Obamacare law’s mandate that most employers provide contraceptives coverage in health insurance with no co-payment.
Defined Life as Beginning at Conception as in the Hippocratic Oath
President Trump’s HHS adopted the wording of the Hippocratic Oath from the General Assembly of the World Medical Association, Geneva, Switzerland in September 1948. At the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession, each new physicians swears, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception, even under threat.” The new HHS strategic plan now sates, "HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception."
Fighting Back against the Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis
In March 2017, President Trump established the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, with the following stated mission: “to study the scope and effectiveness of the Federal response to drug addiction and the opioid crisis and to make recommendations to the President for improving that response.” By doing so, President Trump acknowledged the crisis as one of epic proportions, impacting nearly every community across all 50 states. He also signaled to the country that the force of the federal government should and will be mobilized to reverse the rising tide of overdose deaths. President Trump stated, “The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place. If they don’t start, they won't have a problem.” Among the 56 recommendations of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis:
Expand the nationwide prescription drug monitoring program to include a data-sharing hub with the Department of Justice
Increase block grant funding to states
Improve coordination between all federal programs and agencies that target the opioid crisis
Mandate that prescribers undergo approved and continuous training before they can be licensed to prescribe opioids
Provide more resources for opioid addiction treatment, overdose reversal and recovery
Assist more research and development into alternative pain management therapies and medications to replace opioids.
Launched the CDC Prescription Awareness Campaign
The Trump CDC has launched the Prescription Awareness Campaign, a multimedia awareness campaign featuring the real-life stories of people who have lost loved ones to prescription opioid overdose and people in recovery. Additionally, the CDC promptly awarded $28.6 million to help states fight opioid overdose epidemic as part of HHS’ five-point strategy to fight the opioid epidemic.
Streamlined VA Medical Records
President Trump announced a new program that allows veterans in the VA system to easily transfer their medical records for more efficient care. "The VA will announce and modernize its medical records to use the same system as the Department of Defense. No more complications. The records will now be able to follow the veteran when they leave service, meaning faster, better and far better quality care," the President said. The VA Secretary observed, “While we have established interoperability between VA and DOD for key aspects of the health record, seamless care is fundamentally constrained by ever-changing information sharing standards, separate chains of command, complex governance, separate implementation schedules that must be coordinated to accommodate those changes from separate program offices that have separate funding appropriations, and a host of related complexities requiring constant lifecycle maintenance.”
Signed Bill to Extend Veterans Choice Program
The Choice Card program allowed veterans facing lengthy wait times at Veterans Administration facilities or living more than 40 miles from the nearest VA to seek care in the private sector. President Trump stated, “So this is called the Choice Program Improvement Act. It speaks for itself. This bill will extend and improve the Veterans Choice Program so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice -- you got it? The doctor of their choice -- and you don't have to wait and travel long distances for VA care.”
Signed VA Accountability Act into law, Promises Better Care for Veterans
President Trump signed a law that makes it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire employees for wrongdoing and adds protections for whistleblowers in the VA. “What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved remained on the payrolls,” President Trump stated. “Our veterans have fulfilled their duty to this nation, and now we must fulfill our duty to them.”
Rolled out a new VA Connect App to conduct Telehealth Visits
The VA Connect app is designed to support extensive VA telehealth services so patients can conduct telehealth visits from their home computers and mobile devices. The VA Video Connect app is currently in use in 250 VA facilities, and is expected to complete its nationwide rollout by October. "We're expanding the ability of veterans to connect with their VA healthcare team from anywhere using mobile application on the veteran's own phone or the veteran's own computer," President Trump said. “This will significantly expand access to care for our veterans, especially for those who need help in the area of mental health, which is a bigger and bigger request -- and also in suicide prevention.”
Largest Healthcare Fraud takedown operation in US history
Federal authorities charged more than 400 people in what Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the largest health care fraud takedown operation in U.S. history. The attorney general said that suspects accounted for more than $1.3 billion in fraudulent transactions, and at least 120 suspects were involved in opioid-related crimes, making it also the largest-ever opioid-related fraud takedown. Investigators found opioid addicts "packed in standing room only waiting rooms" at doctors’ offices waiting for their prescription painkillers.
Trump Department of Justice Combat Opioid Epidemic, Fund Drug Courts
The Justice Department awarded nearly $59 Million to fight the opioid epidemic and fund Drug Courts. In an attempt to turn the tide in the worsening opioid crisis that has fueled record-setting overdose fatalities across the country, for the first time in 20 years, the Drug Enforcement Administration opened a new field office. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the DEA's 22nd field office would be located in Louisville, KY, part of a region plagued by the abuse of the prescription painkiller, heroin and the deadly synthetic drug fentanyl. The attorney general also announced that federal grants totaling $12 million will be directed to hard-hit areas –from New England to Appalachia – to combat illicit drugs, especially prescription opioids. In an attempt to keep the epidemic at the forefront, the White House is seeking an opioid czar for the Trump Administration.
Announced First Ever Indictments against Designated Chinese Manufacturers of Deadly Fentanyl and Other Opiate Substances
The Department of Justice’s Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit targeted individuals that contributed to the prescription opioid epidemic, and netted the largest-ever health care fraud takedown. The department secured the first-ever indictments against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers, and seized AlphaBay, the largest criminal marketplace on the Internet and a major source of fentanyl and heroin. Federal grand juries in the Southern District of Mississippi and the District of North Dakota returned indictments against two Chinese nationals and their North American based traffickers and distributors for separate conspiracies to distribute large quantities of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and other opiate substances in the United States.
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