Trump Agenda At Odds With Protest


Trump took actions that seemed to take health policy in the opposite direction.

After a weekend of protest marches where preserving health care and reproductive rights were major concerns, President Donald Trump took actions that appeared to take health policy in the opposite direction.

(Photo: Women's March in Midtown Manhattan Jan. 21,2017, by Amy Jacob)

For instance, a Trump aide told The New York Times that the administration’s plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could convert Medicaid funding to block grants. If that happens, and Congress moves forward with this proposal, each state would receive a fixed-amount of federal money to provide healthcare to people with low-income already enrolled in Medicaid.

According to the newspaper, Trump’s White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, commented that shifting Medicaid to a block grant would ensure “those who are closest to the people in need will be administering” the program. The idea is to “cut fraud, waste, and abuse,” according its backers.

While some governors appear to support the idea of having more control over Medicaid, they fear block grants would result in severe federal budget cuts.

The block-grant concept raises many questions Congress would have to carefully navigate: How much money will each state would receive? Will the budget account for population changes? What will happen with unexpected increases in drug prices and medical discoveries?

In a second move that alarmed supporters of reproductive rights, Trump cut off funding for international groups that perform and provide information on abortions.

A report in The Huffington Post said The US spends approximately $600 million annually on international assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs, allowing nearly 27 million women and couples to even access contraceptive services.

None of that money had been used to perform abortions. Since 1973, the Helms amendment had prohibited US tax dollars from funding abortions overseas. However, supporters of the reinstatement believe the policy is necessary, because Helms seemingly isn’t strong enough on its own.

According to The Washington Post, the executive order reinstates a regulation called the “Global Gag Rule” one that had been volleyed between parties for decades — first instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic parties since 1984.

While former President Barack Obama ended the ban in 2009, President Trump reinstated the ban one day following the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s highly scrutinized Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.

Lawmakers highlighted that the new policy even blocks using taxpayer funding for groups lobbying to legalize abortion or promoting it as another option for family planning.

According to a report in The Hill, both parties had much to say about the reinstatement of this ban. “Life is a precious and sacred gift, and we must do all we can to protect it,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), chairman of the House’s health subcommittee.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said in a statement, “President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule ignores decades of research, instead favoring ideological politics over women and families.”

On Saturday, marchers across the US demonstrated in support of reproductive rights and other issues threatened by the Trump administration, such as stopping climate change.

Trump started the weekend by calling for a "prompt repeal" of the ACA.

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