Today, we celebrate Presidents’ Day, the national holiday commemorating the birthday of America’s first president, George Washington, and the administrations of all other presidents in the nation’s great history. Quite a cast of characters we’ve seen, huh? And many changes along the way, including health care changes.
Health care—and how it should be delivered—is a constant debate in Washington, and various administrations have dealt with it differently.
But since Ronald Reagan, there have been a number of amendments and battles fought in the business of health care, and most of it hasn’t been very good for you.
Health Care Changes under President Trump
President Donald Trump made health care a central figure of his campaign, pledging to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, colloquially known as Obamacare) and take steps that affect women’s health rights. Since being in office, he’s signed executive orders to limit funding for women’s health organizations while slightly backing off his strong words of repealing the ACA. He’s also sat down with pharmaceutical companies, maintaining the terms set by George W. Bush stating that the government—the biggest purchaser of pharmaceuticals in the world—does not have the power to negotiate prices.
Health care, as it turns it out, is not necessarily a priority for this administration, or at least not in the way many citizens might have hoped.
What Does This Mean for the Average American Citizen?
This means you’ve got to take health into your own hands. I’m not going to lie—this isn’t foolproof. After all, preventative measures like diet and exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, proper sleep, and reduced stress can lower the risk for chronic and acute health issues, but they don’t guarantee that one day you won’t need some expensive treatment.
Nevertheless, the best thing you can do is start making changes to your lifestyle as you see fit. Getting more activity, including more healthy foods and limiting the junk in your diet, setting some weight goals, and improving your overall knowledge of health are all good places to start. The more proactive you are in protecting your own health and that of your loved ones, the less often you have to rely on pricey health care.
If you do have a specific health problem that you need taken care of, don’t put it off. See your doctor right away, so you can take advantage of the coverage and cost benefits fostered by ACA legislation while it still exists.
You can also lobby your state government and Congress to uphold the ACA and not to make Medicaid cuts. Laws haven’t changed so far; the ACA provides access to affordable care when needed, with the potential to save you all kinds of money and make available the treatments you may need.
When you’re enjoying your holiday today and celebrating all the presidents that have made America what it is today, don’t forget to think about how those same leaders rank in terms of policies and actions impacting the health of the citizens. And about how the current presidency might affect your own healthcare needs.
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