‘World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017’? Think Again, GOP

The GOP’s ‘greatest’ healthcare plan is anything but.

Rep. Pete Sessions.

March 10, 2017.

Spuriously titled ‘The World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017’, the reform is as thin on substance as its name is on accuracy.

It would appear that Trump’s Congressional sycophants have not only only adopted the rogue agenda of their president, but his tendency to confuse hyperbole with substance, too.

The GOPs health care plan is many things:

It is Obamacare on life-support — the same life-support on which the GOPs vote will rely once they pass the trainwreck of a bill, and the same life-support some 6–10 million Americans can will no longer be able to access, should Trump sign it into law.

It is an assault on the poorest Americans and a victory for the wealthiest.

It is a realisation of a years long campaign against the healthcare problems gripping America — an issue the GOP knew nothing about, scarcely cared about, and did nothing to solve.

But the one thing the GOP’s reform is not is the World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017.

Even if enacted a 12:01 on new year’s day, the policy would never have held that mantle. While the year is young, a look around the world at almost every other health care plan tabled in the last two and half months leaves the GOP’s claim on shaky ground.

January 1st saw Norway introduce a new law that significantly reduced the upfront costs for patients seeking secondary healthcare services, such as physiotherapy. All patients above 16 will see their maximum cost-sharing fees slashed from around $313 to $220, allowing more Norwegians even greater access to a world-leading universal healthcare system.

In France, the year in health policy started with a sensible reform to introduce opt-out organ donation. The policy, unveiled on January 2, will mean that those who suffer untimely deaths will automatically be eligible to donate their organs, unless previously having opted out. The plan will make sure that waiting times for organ donations is dramatically reduced.

In another advance for organ donation, in December this year, New Zealand will introduce a national scheme that reimburses voluntary organ donors for their recovery time. The Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act was passed late last year, and will enter into law just before Christmas. The scheme is designed to dramatically decrease waiting times for patients requiring urgent transplants, encouraging those who can donate to do so.

Staying in the Southern Hemisphere, this month, a law enters into effect in the Australian state of Queensland allowing medicinal cannabis for patients of any age. The idea, passed late in 2016, means that younger patients facing serious illnesses will no longer be denied access to one of the most effective pain alleviations available. While cannabis remains illegal in Australia, this move by the conservative state of Queensland is an important step forward in the gradual legalization of medicinal cannabis throughout Australia.

Similarly, Germany made major advances in medicinal cannabis in January, greatly expanding the governments provision of the drug. Health Minister Hermann Grohe, the member of the Reichstag who proposed the change to law, said it was essential in offering patients a diversity of treatments they might require. If patients are prescribed medical marijuana, Grohe argued, they ‘have the right to have it paid for’.

And even Malaysia’s 2016–17 budget saw the allocation of resources to several important initiatives that aim to improve the health care options of the South East Asian countries poorest residents. A significant investment in rural healthcare, and a major initiative to reduce overcrowding in the public hospital system throughout Malaysia will enter into effect in 2017.

It seems everywhere you look around the world, important advancements in health care are being made.

It is true that America’s healthcare challenges are significantly greater than many other countries due to decades of inaction. But while the rest of the world inches forward, ever improving their universal systems, the GOP proposal doesn’t make a single step in the right direction. While it keeps many popular elements of Obamacare, it attacks the law to such an extent as to make it largely ineffective.

It is a sad development in a policy debate that handed the GOP power at the expense of the healthcare of up to 10 million of its constituents.

The ‘World’s Greatest Health Care Plan of 2017?’ Thing again, GOP.