AHIP – Trump, Clinton, And What’s Next For Health Care
LAS VEGAS — Industry conferences have generated a lot more political punditry than normal in the past year or so — and with good reason. A presidential race unlike any other in history is dominating headlines (and social media), and the outcome could have widespread repercussions for the health care industry.
At last week’s AHIP Institute & Expo in Las Vegas, several notable political experts added their thoughts to the fray. During a session titled “Healthcare 2016 and What It Means for the Future of Health Care,” political strategist and media commentator Stephanie Cutter, who served as a senior advisor to President Obama, joined Nicolle Wallace, bestselling author and former White House director of communications during the George W. Bush presidency, to discuss this year’s crazy political environment.
Where do we stand?
When asked to discuss the current state of the race, Cutter noted that Donald Trump has “wasted the last five weeks” and is currently struggling to unify his party. Meanwhile, things finally seem to be coming together on the Democratic side, as Bernie Sanders slowly fades away and Hillary Clinton begins to gain momentum.
Cutter started the discussion by highlighting five things to watch over the next five months:
- The approval rating of the sitting president – The more popular the current president, the better chance his party has at the presidency. Currently, President Obama’s approval rating is higher than 50 percent in most polls, meaning he could be an “incredible asset” for Clinton.
- The economy – Often considered the biggest indicator of whether people will want change, economic statistics currently show the economy is doing well: an unemployment rate below 5 percent; lowest number of unemployment claims since 1973; and the longest record of month-by-month job growth in 50 years. “But we’ve learned that economic statistics don’t determine how people feel about the economy,” Cutter noted. “It’s their own personal experience, which varies significantly depending on where you live.”
- Money – Another key factor, Cutter said, is how much money candidates have. The fact that Trump is allotting travel time to red states instead of battleground states is a sign that the campaign is likely “being driven by fundraising rather than persuasion and driving votes.”(Recent news about the state of Trump campaign’s finances seems to bolster this theory.)
- Party support/strength of campaigns – President’s Obama’s reelection campaign began with an 11 percent probability of success, Cutter said, but was fueled by a well-run campaign “road map” and 30,000 volunteers. Clinton is following the Obama model and has even hired many who worked on his campaign, while Trump has relied on the RNC for his general election campaign and has said “he doesn’t believe in using data and would rather rely on large rallies.” “As someone who has run several presidential campaigns,” Cutter said, “I can tell you that is a waste of money and you’re not going to reach the voters you need to persuade. If I had to call it right now, I’d say Trump is not going to have a campaign that will bring him over the finish line.
- National security – The recent Orlando shooting gave Americans a good idea of how each candidate would handle a national crisis as president, Cutter said. “My instincts tell me that Clinton came out of handling that crisis pretty well. She was strong in her response and showed great empathy. What I don’t know is how Donald Trump comes out of that … he showed no empathy and played into a nationalist view. I have no idea how that will play in the national election, but my instinct is that it will rally his base but not bring in new voters.”