The Role of Healthcare in the Presidential Election (and What It Means to You)

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The upcoming election is filled with questions and concerns about the pandemic. Many people criticize the Trump administration’s response and look to Biden to provide a better alternative. However, COVID-19 is not the only issue concerning Americans. The role of healthcare in the presidential election has made voters concerned about topics like insurance coverage, prescription costs, reproductive health services, pre-existing conditions, and political influence. Let’s examine each of these topics in detail, and how each healthcare topic plays a role in the upcoming presidential election.

Insurance Coverage

A continued Trump administration will likely put an end to Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act. According to one study, this would result in 21 million people losing their insurance coverage over the next year. In contrast, Biden would expand eligibility and establish a public option for federal health insurance. Trump has promised to replace the AHA with a better healthcare plan but has yet to deliver. 

Prescription Costs

Another hot button issue for many Americans is the extremely high cost of prescription medication in the United States. President Trump has signed an executive order to reduce drug costs, but it is unclear how effective this has been. He has often cited the cost of insulin as proof that his actions are working. Fact-checkers dispute this and say the cost is relatively the same. Both candidates openly support lowering drug costs, but voters want to see results. 

Reproductive Health Services

Access to birth control and abortion rights are always contentious issues stemming from religious and personal convictions. This election cycle is no different, and reproductive health remains an important issue for healthcare in the presidential election. A Trump administration could see pro-life decision-making and lessened access to birth control. Democrats have traditionally been the more pro-choice party and supported employer-provided contraceptive coverage. 

Pre-existing Conditions

On the debate stage, pre-existing conditions have played a role in garnering votes for Biden because of the Affordable Healthcare Act, which provides coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. Trump claims he will not deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, but again, he has delivered no plan. 

Political Influence

Lastly, Americans are tired of healthcare based on politics rather than science. Some don’t trust that a COVID-19 vaccine will be safe because it was pushed through by the President. Others are unclear about the benefits of wearing masks because of contradicting information from political leaders and medical professionals. It’s a mess, and President Trump has communicated poorly. Of course, it is unclear how Biden would handle his political influence in the healthcare world, but he has said he would, “Listen to the scientists.”

If the topics above don’t concern you, you can rest assured that healthcare in the presidential election is still a powerful issue for all Americans. The next elected U.S. President will affect your healthcare in some manner. It may be in the services that are covered by your insurance, or it may be in the money you pay for your policy.  There are many subjects to consider when voting this year, and healthcare is certainly a worthy one.   

For more informative healthcare topics, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog. To take a healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

What Physicians Can Do To Fight The Rising Cost of Healthcare and Support Medical Necessity

Everyone’s trying to tighten their belts lately, and the medical field is no exception. One way to fight the rising cost of healthcare and support medical necessity is with smart diagnoses, fewer unwarranted procedures, and a more open dialogue between doctor and patient. Here are some steps the physician can use to determine if a treatment is medically necessary:

  • Collect a complete medical history. Every medical exam has a portion of medical history Q&A to it, but patients sometimes forget a detail here or there. If you think that a few more facts about their past can change whether a procedure is done or not, then ask. Asking a few more questions to flush out the whole story can rising cost of healthcare and medical necessityenlighten you on what may really be going on.
  • Double check diagnosis. The human body reacts similarly to various problem, so symptoms can be present in a lot of differ diseases. Double checking your diagnosis for similar diseases and matching it up with your patient’s medical history can mean the difference between right diagnosis and misdiagnosis.
  • Ask if the procedures are necessary. Certain procedures are necessary, and others are just a precaution. An article Laurie Tarken released in Fitness Magazine noted in 2009, $325 billion of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care bill went to unnecessary medical procedures. This explains why speciality physicians groups are calling on their members to stop reflexively calling for some 200 tests and procedures to be done. Instead, these physicians are being asked to consider the efficiency of the test, and look for more efficient methods to get a correct diagnosis or treatment.

To be fair, it’s not always possible to avoid asking for tests and procedures to be done, especially in specialities with a risk of high litigation. In that case, it may be possible to simply cut back on preventative measures, such as the annual physical exam to get our health checked out. For some people it may be necessary to get their health checked regularly, while others can go for years between exams without harm.

For example, Laura Esserman, M.D., a professor of surgery and radiology at the University of California, San Francisco and the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force say that you can get a blood test for total cholesterol and HDL every 5 years as long as the findings are normal, but blood pressure testing should be done every other year unless it’s higher than the recommended levels for the patient’s age and fitness level.

Gaining the confidence necessary to diagnosis and call for the correct procedures comes with great training and lots of practice. This could help physicians fight the rising costs of healthcare and medical necessity over time. If you’d like to talk about this, or anything else, please contact us.