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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/29/16

It Has Come to This? - Donald Trump's "Truly Absurd," "Word Salad," "Gibberish"

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Health Care Renewal is officially non-partisan. We do not endorse candidates for office, or political parties. That does not prevent us from commenting on policy issues, and on pronouncements and actions by politicians and government officials when they relate to the issues that interest us.

So, we have criticized excessive coziness among politicians and government officials on one hand, and big health care organizations and their leaders on the other. We have noted conflicts of interest affecting politicians, particularly the revolving door, and other shadings towards corporatism. We have noted how health care policy discussions may focus on health care financing, while ignoring some of the bigger issues we discuss (For example, see our discussions of health care reform, and particularly this one of the then new US Affordable Care Act). These include: leadership of health care organizations by generic managers(managerialists) who are unsympathetic or even hostile to the health care mission; deceptive practices involving marketing, the manipulation and suppression of research, stealth health policy advocacy, stealth lobbying, etc; and timidity in regulation and law enforcement, leading to outright impunity of health care leaders.

We have criticized politicians and government leaders of all parties and from all sides of the political spectrum. For example, in retrospect we criticized the (Democratic) Clinton administration's laissez faire attitude to conflicts of interest at the National Institutes of Health (see summary here and links to older posts). We criticized flagrant examples of the revolving door involving top Bush adminstration officials (e.g., most recently here), and yet more involving Obama administration officials (e.g., most recently here).

Yet we also acknowledge that most policy discussions by political and government figures are at least well-intended and based in some degree on the facts and knowledge of the health care context (even if we think the results might be misguided, wrong-headed, or tangential.) So, while health care is not so far the most important issue in the tumultuous 2016 US presidential race, there has been considerable discussion of it. Most major candidates have staked out health care positions that again appear well-intended and based to some degree on the facts and context (although my point is not to comment on their merits.)

But there has been one major exception.

The Leading Candidate with No Health Care Plan

Donald Trump currently seems to be the leading Republican presidential candidate. As reported by the Minnesota Post,

Trump doesn't have a health care plan. Go to the issues section of his campaign. Really, go there, you won't believe what you see. A typical campaign website has position papers. Trump has none. The link to 'Issues' takes you to a pretty frightening page of short embedded videos of Trump himself summarizing his positions at a level of detail that you should find insulting.

But he doesn't even have one of those on health care.

In addition to 'Issues,' the site's homepage has a pulldown menu called 'Positions.' I don't get the difference, but who cares? "Positions" are actual written-out position statements, not videos, but only on five issues, none of which are remotely related to health care (nor many other major issues).

So for Trump's health-care thinking, we have to rely on what he says in debates and speeches and, I suppose, tweets, some of which have been controversial.

The Candidate with No Health Care Policy Advisers

On February 20, 2016, Politico reported that Mr Trump's campaign also apparently has no health policy advisers. The article noted that Mr Trump had written in one of his books that he would

Lock the best health care policy minds in a room -- and don't let them out until they've crafted a plan for providing terrific coverage for everyone.

But he has not said who those advisers might be. Furthermore, the reporter was unable to determine who, if anyone, is currently advising Mr Trump about health care,

Sam Clovis, Trump's national policy adviser, insists the campaign is talking with lots of health care experts -- but declined to name any of those advisers.

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