President Trump’s policies are bad for your health
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There is much anxiety and fear in the air as many Americans wait to see what the policies of the new president are and what impact they will make. In the past week, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDavid Letterman: ‘Makes me sick’ that Trump represents us Warren rips Trump’s proposed budget cuts to Social Security Trump called Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons’: report MORE has signed executive orders on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), immigration, abortion funding, federal workforce funding, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). While it has been widely reported that the repeal of the ACA will have the deepest impact on our healthcare system, Trump’s other policies also have the potential to severely cripple the health of our country.

First up, is the ban on immigration from select countries. Immigrants make up a sizeable portion of the total healthcare workforce. In 2010, 27 percent of physicians and surgeons in the country were foreign-born and more than 20 percent of nurses, technicians, pharmacists and other medical providers were born outside of the United States. Now, many of these professionals come from the countries which are now banned from entering the U.S. under Trump’s new order.

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What makes matters worse is that there is already a shortage of physicians, most notably those that serve on the frontlines of healthcare as primary care providers (PCPs).

Our country’s demand for PCPs is largely met by foreign-born doctors, as almost half of them go into primary care specialties. With the projected shortfalls in primary care estimated to reach upwards of 30,000 doctors by 2025, these policies are bad for the health of America.

Next up, the infamous wall. While this was Trump’s central campaign promise, he also assured supporters that Mexico would pay for the wall running 2,000 miles along the border. Failed negotiations this week resulted in the likelihood that U.S. taxpayers would be stuck picking up the tab for the wall and a threat of a 20 percent import tax on goods coming in from Mexico. It seems as though the fact that Mexico is our third largest goods trading partner with $531 billion in total (two-way) goods trade during 2015.

What does this mean for the healthcare industry? It means that we either lose or pay a significantly higher price for the more than $12 billion in optical and medical equipment we import from Mexico each year. This would not only increase the overall cost of care, it would put an undue and unnecessary burden on hospitals and patients.

Another issue detrimental to your health is the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood. Trump has already blocked all federal spending to international organizations that provide abortion services, including Planned Parenthood International, without taking into account the many services provided outside of abortion.

In many developing countries, these small clinics that will lose their funding provide family planning, maternal health, education, prevention and cancer screening services. And in our country, only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortion-related – none made possible through dederal funding. The recent executive order will mean decreased resources for women’s health, an increase in unsafe abortions and a rise in cancer incidence.

The last, and perhaps most devastating blow to the country’s health, is the repeal of the ACA. We’ve all heard the statistics that say 30 million people will lose their insurance coverage. But the impact is deeper. One of the legislation’s most important provisions calls for free preventive care. All Americans who have enjoyed no-cost preventive screenings will likely regress when it comes to health outcomes. A new study has shown that the ACA likely extended the lives of thousands of seniors who took advantage of free screening exams and were diagnosed with treatable, early-stage colorectal cancer. The President’s disregard of these achievements could be life and death for many people.

I hope that these things are taken into account by Trump, and I hope that the President stop signing away the health of our country with each new day and each stroke of his pen.

Dr. Lisa Ashe is the medical director of Be Well Medical Group, a leading concierge medicine and wellness group currently serving the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia metro areas.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.