Four Years Of Trump’s Health Policies Have Caused "tens Of Thousands Of Preventable Deaths", According To The Lancet

“Trump’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with his efforts to dismantle the already weak public health infrastructure and health care law coverage, has caused tens of thousands of preventable deaths,” notes a scientific analysis published in The Lancet magazine and peer reviewed.

The report Public policy and healthcare in the Trump era It has been prepared by a team of 33 experts in medicine, epidemiology, law and politics formed in April 2017 with the aim of monitoring the health consequences of Trump’s mandate. The authors analyze various public policies with a direct impact on the health of citizens.

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Trump’s “hostility to environmental regulations” in 2019 alone resulted in an excess of 22,000 deaths over 2016, the last year of the Obama administration. These figures end 15 years of continuous progress in this area.

The analysis identifies 104 environmental rules and regulations that Trump has repealed or attacked. Among them, there are 29 regulations that lower air pollution standards and 20 that lift restrictions on the extraction of fossil fuels – such as the requirement for oil companies to report methane emissions in their operations. fracking-. Another 17 affect water pollution and relax standards on toxic chemicals, among others.

“The abrupt cessation of the Trump Administration in the control of air pollution by particles was probably one of the main reasons for this increase in mortality,” says the study, which highlights that concentrations of air pollution in several industrial states have increased since 2016 after a continuous decline in the last 47 years.

On the other hand, the report indicates that in the first three years of the Trump presidency, the number of citizens without any type of medical coverage increased by 2.3 million “mainly due to a reduction in Medicaid coverage,” the health program for people without resources. Additionally, the number of under-19s without coverage also increased by 726,000. Although he was unable to shut it down, Trump also notably weakened the Obama-led healthcare system by creating loopholes and reducing legal requirements. However, the authors note that this attempt to dismantle Obamacare has had “less effect than many people feared.”

The former president’s goal was to achieve a “free and open market for health insurance and services,” but one of the main recommendations of the study authors is to create a free and universal health system in the US.

“Although Trump’s policies were very different from those of other administrations, they continued the neoliberal traditions of deregulation, privatization and austerity (for low-income communities) that originated in the 1980s,” the study says .

In this sense, the document clarifies that although Trump’s actions were “especially harmful”, many of them simply represent an “aggressive acceleration of the neoliberal policies initiated 40 years ago” which, according to the authors, have generated a decrease in hope. of life.

In 1980, life expectancy was average for high-income countries. In 1995, it was 2.2 years younger than the other G7 countries [Canada, Francia, Italia, Alemania, Japón y Reino Unido] and in 2018 the gap increased to 3.4 years. “The extent of the difference can be quantified by the number of Americans who would still be alive if the death rates for each age group in the US had remained the same as the average for the other six G7 countries,” the report says. That figure in 2018 was 461,000 people.

The analysis also points out that 40% of the more than 450,000 deaths from coronavirus in the US “could have been avoided if the US mortality rate had been like the weighted average of the other G7 countries.”

Between 2002 and 2019, the percentage of health spending dedicated to public health went from 3.21% to 2.45% (approximately half that of Canada and the United Kingdom). In the same period, funding for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program was reduced by a third. “As a result, state and local public health agencies lost 50,000 jobs, representing a 20% decrease in frontline workers fighting epidemics,” the authors explain.

“The health of Americans was deteriorating even though our economy was growing,” says team co-director Steffie Woolhandler, a professor at the public university of New York and Harvard. “This unprecedented dissociation between health and national wealth signals that our society is sick. While the rich have prospered, most Americans have lost ground both economically and medically.”

Although much of the problems with implications for the health of Americans pre-date Trump, this situation “paved the way for his political rise,” the report adds. “Trump had his highest margins of victory in 2016 in counties with the worst economic trends and mortality. In 1980, counties in which more than 60% of the population voted for Trump had a higher life expectancy than those counties in the that more than 60% of the population voted for Clinton. However, in 2014, Trump’s counties had a life expectancy two years lower than those that had voted for Clinton. “

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