A new poll released on July 22 from The Hill-Harris X has revealed what the American people have already known for months: registered voters believe that health care “is the most important issue facing the nation today.” Health care has always been a critical issue among the electorate, but the emergence of COVID-19 has elevated it to new heights. Unfortunately, other polls show that the new importance the public has placed on health care presents bad news for President Trump. 61percent of undecided voters would support Biden if they had to choose today, partly because they believe he is “stronger” on healthcare. This polling
Trump’s health care problem doesn’t have anything to do with the public’s general dislike of his free-market politics.
A large portion of the damage to the president’s agenda has come from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). But it’s not the whole department – not by a long shot. While individuals like HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan continue working tirelessly to advance the president’s healthcare agenda, there’s others like Seema Verma, who runs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) within the department, that continue undermining it.
Verma has been in the news over the last week because of a 70-page inspector general investigation, which found that she broke the law by directing over $5 million of taxpayer money to politically
In the past, Democrats have pounced on Verma’s questionable commitment to ethics, drumming up media headlines that have harmed the administration’s reputation. But the allegations of cronyism that Verma has created for the Trump White House are the least damaging of what she’s done to the administration politically.
When the administration organized an initiative to lower drug costs, Verma torpedoed the effort.
Rather than help the administration with its efforts to lower health care costs and increase consumer choice, Verma has been dead set on moving forward with a new anti-America First order, called the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR). Both sides of the aisle vehemently oppose it
She claims the purpose of MFAR is to lower the cost of Medicaid – the government healthcare program created to assist low-income Americans. But rather than do so in a responsible, fiscally conservative way, like block-granting to limit federal subsidies, Verma’s rule would steamroll states’ rights in favor of more federal control. It would allow the same bureaucrats that enforce Obamacare at her department to micromanage states’ healthcare budgets, even banning some of their funding techniques outright.
The entire Texas congressional delegation, including conservative stalwarts like Dan Crenshaw and Kevin Brady, opposed the changes in a rare moment of unity.
If the president wants to win his re-election in November, he'll need his administrators to create policies that meet his goals and are popular. Verma has proven herself to be disinterested in Trump's agenda, focusing on her own ideas and image instead. The time for waiting is long past. It's time for Trump to repeal and replace Seema Verma.
Ashley Herzog is a freelance health care writer for the Heartland Institute.