How the Republicans want to fix your healthcare- a review of the party platform of 2016

The Republican National Committee chose to defer writing a platform for 2020. Instead they issued a RESOLUTION REGARDING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM . It concludes with the following resolutions: That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;


If you consider health care an important issue for the upcoming presidential election this year, you are in good company. In a Gallup poll December 2019, 81% of those surveyed considered it very or extremely important. Following closely in importance were terrorism/national security , gun policy, and education.

What do the political parties say about healthcare?

My intent is to present a non-partisan review since this blog does not endorse any party or candidate. If my reviews seem biased toward any specific viewpoint, that is unintentional.

I’ll summarize what I consider the highlights but encourage you to read the entire documents. I’ll include points that express the party’s positions as well as its proposals.The photos are for illustration only and are not associated with the platform or the party.

The Republican Platform on health

The Republican National Committee chose to defer writing a platform for 2020. Instead they issued a RESOLUTION REGARDING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM . It concludes with the following resolutions:

RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;

RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention calls on the media to engage in accurate and unbiased reporting, especially as it relates to the strong support of the RNC for President Trump and his Administration; and

RESOLVED, That any motion to amend the 2016 Platform or to adopt a new platform, including any motion to suspend the procedures that will allow doing so, will be ruled out of order.

the introduction to the 2016 platform on health.

Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice

“We are the party of independent individuals and the institutions they create together — families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods — to advance their ideals and make real their dreams. Those institutions, standing between the citizen and the power of government, are the pillars of a free society. They create spaces where the power of government should not intrude. They allow Americans to work together to solve most of the problems facing their communities.

Our society is at a crossroads. The question is whether we are going to reinvigorate the private-sector institutions under citizen control or allow their continued erosion by the forces of centralized social planning. In that divide, the Republican Party stands with the people.”

Family of 4 sitting at a dining table.

Marriage, Family, and Society

“Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. That is why Republicans formulate public policy, from taxation to education, from healthcare to welfare, with attention to the needs and strengths of the family.”

Republicans

oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation

do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states

Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation. Private entities which facilitate adoptions enrich our communities

Republicans

support measures such as the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family

urge marriage penalties to be removed from the tax code and public assistance programs 

a little girl with a big backpack standing next to a yellow school bus

Choice in Education 

“We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.”

Republicans

propose that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them

renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior

oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs

support the original, authentic meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It affirmed that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Republicans

commend the good-faith efforts by law enforcement, educational institutions, and their partners to address (sexual assault) responsibly, and further propose

Whenever reported, it must be promptly investigated by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge

Questions of guilt or innocence must be decided by a judge and jury, with guilt determined beyond a reasonable doubt

Those convicted of sexual assault should be punished to the full extent of the law 

taking blood pressure

Restoring Patient Control and Preserving Quality in Healthcare

“Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It must be removed and replaced with an approach based on genuine competition, patient choice, excellent care, wellness, and timely access to treatment. “

Republicans propose

The President, on the first day in office, will use legitimate waiver authority under the law to halt its advance and then, with the unanimous support of Congressional Republicans, will sign its repeal.

reduce mandates and enable insurers and providers of care to increase healthcare options and contain costs. Our goal is to ensure that all Americans have improved access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, including those struggling with mental illness

return to the states their historic role of regulating local insurance markets, limit federal requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid, and call on state officials to reconsider the costly medical mandates, imposed under their own laws, that price millions of low-income families out of the insurance market. 

block grant Medicaid and other payments and to assist all patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, to obtain coverage in a robust consumer market

affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life… abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

To ensure vigorous competition in healthcare, and because cost-awareness is the best guard against over-utilization,

Republicans will

promote price transparency so consumers can know the cost of treatments before they agree to them

empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools in order to expand coverage to the uninsured

We believe that individuals with preexisting conditions who maintain continuous coverage should be protected from discrimination. We applaud the advance of technology in electronic medical records while affirming patient privacy and ownership of personal health information.

Today’s highly mobile workforce needs portability of insurance coverage that can go with them from job to job.

Republicans  

propose to end tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance and allow consumers to buy insurance across state lines

propose repealing the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act which protects insurance companies from anti-trust litigation

look to the growth of Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts that empower patients and advance choice in healthcare

make homecare (for senior adults)  a priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against elder abuse

a large, ornate, brick church

Protecting Individual Conscience in Healthcare

“We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. ” 

Republicans

support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty.  

support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children

support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their minor children and urge enactment of legislation that would require parental consent for their daughter to be transported across state lines for abortion

Providers should not be permitted to unilaterally withhold services because a patient’s life is deemed not worth living. American taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion.

Republicans

call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage

an ornate courthouse

Better Care and Lower Costs: Tort Reform

“Medical malpractice lawsuits have ballooned the cost of healthcare for everyone by forcing physicians to practice defensive medicine through tests and treatments which otherwise might be optional. “

Republicans

support state and federal legislation to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, thereby relieving conscientious providers of burdens that are not rightly theirs and addressing a serious cause of higher medical bills.

Chanelle Case Borden, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the National Cancer Institute’s Experimental Immunology Branch, vortexing DNA samples for further study.
Source: National Cancer Institute (NCI)Creator: Daniel Sone (photographer)
Date Created: September 2014

Advancing Research and Development in Healthcare

“To continue our headway against breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and other killers, research must consider the needs of formerly neglected demographic groups. “

Republicans

call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions — through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life

urge a ban on human cloning for research or reproduction, and a ban on the creation of, or experimentation on, human embryos for research 

support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law

white capsules in front of a prescription bottle
Photo by Julie Viken on Pexels.com

Putting Patients First: Reforming the FDA

“The continuously increasing burden of governmental regulation and red tape is taking its toll on our innovative companies, and their pipeline of new life-saving devices and drugs to our nation’s patients is slowing and diminishing.  The FDA needs to return to its traditional emphasis on hard science and approving new breakthrough medicines, rather than divert its attention and consume its resources trying to overregulate electronic health records or vaping”.

Republicans

pledge to restore the FDA to its position as the premier scientific health agency, focused on both promoting and protecting the public health in equal measure 

allowing terminally ill patients the right to try investigational medicines not yet approved by the FDA.  

urge Congress to pass federal legislation to give all Americans with terminal illnesses the right to try

a man in a wheelchair

Advancing Americans with Disabilities

Under the last two Republican presidents, landmark civil rights legislation affirmed the inherent rights of persons with disabilities. Republicans want to support those rights by guaranteeing access to education and the tools necessary to compete in the mainstream of society.”

To encourage their entrepreneurship, it makes sense to include them in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) certification program, which opens up federal contracting for emerging businesses. Any restructuring of the tax code should consider ways in which companies can benefit from the talent and energy of their disabled employees.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for many students. Congressional 

Republicans will 

lead in its reauthorization, as well as renewal of the Higher Education Act, which can offer students with disabilities increased access to the general curriculum. Our TIME Act (Transition to Integrated and Meaningful Employment) will modernize the Fair Labor Standards Act to encourage competitive employment for persons with disabilities

affirm our support for its goal of minimizing the separation of children with disabilities from their peers

endorse efforts like Employment First that replace dependency with jobs in the mainstream of the American workforce.

oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, including newborns, the elderly, and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society

urge the Drug Enforcement Administration to restore its ban on the use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide.

Ensuring Safe Neighborhoods: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform 

The men and women of law enforcement — whether patrolling our neighborhoods or our borders, fighting organized crime or guarding against domestic terror — deserve our gratitude and support. Their jobs are never easy, especially in crisis situations, and should not be made more difficult by politicized second-guessing from federal officials. To honor their sacrifice, we

recommit ourselves, as individuals and as a party, to the rule of law and the pursuit of justice

A new administration

must ensure the immediate dismissal and, where appropriate, prosecution of any Department officials who have violated their oath of office.

The next president

must restore the public’s trust in law enforcement and civil order by first adhering to the rule of law himself

must not sow seeds of division and distrust between the police and the people they have sworn to serve and protect.

The Republican Party

must make clear in words and action that every human life matters

Drugs and alcohol use can impair driving

Combatting Drug Abuse

“The progress made over the last three decades against drug abuse is eroding, whether for cultural reasons or for lack of national leadership.  Congress and a new administration should consider the long-range implications of these trends for public health and safety and prepare to deal with the problematic consequences.”

Republicans

look for expeditious agreement between the House and Senate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which addresses the opioid epidemic from both the demand and supply sides of the problem.

.

Preserving Medicare and Medicaid

(This is in a section titled Government Reform)

“We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing. We will preserve the promise of Medicaid as well by making that program, designed for 1965 medicine, a vehicle for good health in an entirely new era.”

Republicans propose

Impose no changes for persons 55 or older.

Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed to strengthen patient choice, promote cost-saving competition among providers, and better guard against the fraud and abuse that now diverts billions of dollars every year away from patient care.

Guarantee to every enrollee an income-adjusted contribution toward a plan of their choice, with catastrophic protection.

Without disadvantaging present retirees or those nearing retirement, set a more realistic age for eligibility in light of today’s longer life span.

We applaud the Republican governors and state legislators who have undertaken the hard work of modernizing Medicaid. We will give them a free hand to do so by block-granting the program without strings. Using block grants would allow states to experiment with different systems to address mental health and develop successful models to be replicated in states across the nation.

We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.

black and silver semi automatic pistol on brown wooden table
Photo by Derwin Edwards on Pexels.com

The Second Amendment:Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms

(This is in a section  titled A Rebirth of Constitutional Government)

“We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.”

Republicans

support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states

support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them

oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.

condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the (past)Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers

oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban.

call for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of guns to known violent criminals

Here is the link to the 2016 Republican Party Platform on Health

exploring the HEART of healthcare change

I appreciate your interest in the politics of healthcare, an issue that is vital to all of us every day. These proposals will become more focussed and debated as election day approaches; the national election is Tuesday November 3, 2020. Please exericse your right to vote, I plan to.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

                              Dr. Aletha 

The Point of It All, by Charles Krauthammer-a review

I admired and followed Dr. Charles Krauthammer’s writing and was sad when he passed away this year.So I was pleased to learn that he has published a new book, The Point of It All. He started the book prior to his illness and finished it with the help of his son Daniel, who wrote the introduction and edited it.

If you wondered why Pulitzer prize winning journalist Charles Krauthammer quit his medical career to write a political column for the Washington Post newspaper, you’ll learn the answer in his newest and sadly last book. He explained

“I left psychiatry to start writing…because I felt history happening outside the examining room door. I wanted to…because some things matter, some things need to be said, some things need to be defended.”

THE POINT OF IT ALL :
A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors

Dr. Charles Krauthammer died in 2018. In 2016 he started a new book but in 2017 was diagnosed with cancer. Treatment was initially successful, but multiple serious complications kept him hospitalized for many months during which he continued writing with his son Daniel’s and his wife Robyn’s help.

But the cancer recurred and this time further treatment would not be successful. We can thank Daniel for honoring his father’s dying wishes and finishing the book and facilitating the publication of The Point of It All.

Daniel wrote a helpful introduction to the book, explaining how it was put together. He also offered some personal reflections about his relationship with his father, and some insight into Dr. Krauthammer’s character and personality that he tended to keep private.

“My father’s writing…is not just thought-provoking but also feeling-provoking. His writing opens the mind, combining passion with intelligence, beauty with concreteness. “

This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help me fund this blog and share the HEART of health around the world.

Book outline

The book collects some of Dr. Krauthammer’s Washington Post columns, transcripts of speeches he gave, and text of a book on foreign policy that he was writing but had not published.

Most casual readers of Krauthammer will want to read Part I-People, where he discusses such diverse topics as

  • Ronald Reagan
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Australia
  • Memorials
  • Chess and Sports
  • The space program
  • Medicine
  • Part II -Man and Society
  • Part III-Politics, Foreign and Domestic
  • Part IV-Competing Visions-America’s Role and the Course of World History
  • Part V-Speaking in the First Person


You can read the book straight through, or skip around, reading whatever chapter titles catch your attention. It was hard for me to pass up titles like

  • Why I love Australia
  • Man vs. Computer:Still a Match
  • Pluto and Us
  • They Die with Their Right On
  • Thought Police on Patrol
  • Just Leave Christmas Alone
  • The Climate Pact Swindle
  • Beauty and Soul

My favorite part of this book was the shortest-Part V, the few essays he wrote about himself, something Daniel said he didn’t like to do and would not have included.

“I’ve never wanted to make myself the focus of my career.”

And so in Beauty and Soul, he credits his wife of over 40 years with his success.

Her (Robyn’s) beauty and soul have sustained me these many years. I was merely the scribe.

Dr. Krauthammer, upon accepting a writing award

THE POINT OF IT ALL-A BOOK REVIEW

As a physician, I am intrigued and inspired knowing  Dr. Krauthammer completed medical school and residency after and despite sustaining a spinal cord injury which caused quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down, preventing use of his arms and legs).   (This no doubt made his treatment and recovery from cancer surgery all the more difficult.) 

According to his son Daniel, his father also did not like to publicize or dwell on his or anyone else’s disability. He preferred to focus on what he could do, not on what he couldn’t do.

This excerpt is from a Washington Post column that is included in this book.

After watching videos in which  The price of fetal parts was discussed over lunch, Dr. Krauthammer wrote

“Abortion critics have long warned that the problem is not only the obvious — what abortion does to the fetus — but also what it does to us.

It’s the same kind of desensitization that has occurred in the Netherlands with another mass exercise in life termination: assisted suicide. It began as a way to prevent the suffering of the terminally ill. It has now become so widespread and wanton that one-fifth of all Dutch assisted-suicide patients are euthanized without their explicit consent.

ultrasound image of a 4 month old fetus
a prenatal ultrasonographic image of fetus at the four-month point in its gestation; public domain image used courtesy of the CDC/ Jim Gathany

There is more division about the first trimester because one’s views of the early embryo are largely a matter of belief, often religious belief.

One’s view of the later-term fetus, however, is more a matter of what might be called sympathetic identification — seeing the image of a recognizable human infant and, now, hearing from the experts exactly what it takes to “terminate” its existence.

The role of democratic politics is to turn such moral sensibilities into law. This is a moment to press relentlessly for a national ban on late-term abortions.”

THINGS THAT MATTER: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics

My review of his memoir THINGS THAT MATTER has been one of my most viewed posts. If you haven’t read it I recommend it also.

Charles Krauthammer-THINGS THAT MATTER

I enjoyed listening to  Dr. Krauthammer’s memoir THINGS THAT MATTER: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics  

This book is a collection of  his more memorable opinion pieces as well as a memoir of his life, including medical school, his life-changing injury, psychiatric medical practice, his  journalism career, hobbies (chess and baseball) and life with his family.

A life with no regrets

Dr. Krauthammer wrote his last piece for The Washington Post barely two weeks before his death and that post concludes his final book. Dr. Krauthammer wrote,

“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

Thanks for reviewing the thoughts and feelings of the late Charles Krauthammer with me. Please share your reactions to Dr. Krauthammer’s work and share this post with your friends.

Thanks for exploring the HEART of health with me.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

                              Dr. Aletha