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Dear President Trump

Commentary: Politically Aware

Donald Trump

I understand you are in need of a new secretary of health and human services (HHS). I would like to apply.

Like former Secretary Price, I am an MD. That is where our relevant similarities end, and you should realize that is a good thing for your administration.

I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, a county and state you won after decades of Democratic victories. I did not vote for you, but I have friends and family who did. I know that Sec. Price wasn’t protecting their interests, despite your campaign promises. He was undermining the Affordable Care Act (ACA), moving you toward repeals, replaces and budgets that would gut the Medicare and Medicaid funding you swore to protect, and using their tax dollars to travel in luxury.

As your HHS secretary, I would enforce the current laws. Today, that means spending the full advertising and outreach budgets to promote the ACA, funding the cost-sharing-reduction payments, and supporting states that would expand Medicaid. Should Congress repeal or replace the ACA, I would promise to implement that law as well, while doing everything I could to keep your promise of better health care for everyone.

My friends will wonder why I would work for your administration. My answer is Dr. Julie Gerberding. She was my infectious disease professor at the University of California, San Francisco while serving as President George W. Bush’s director of the Centers for Disease Control. She taught me the positive impact of being a progressive voice in an administration that wasn’t always listening. Like her, I would advocate for what I believe is best for the nation’s health by changing your mind when I can and mitigating the damage where I can’t.

I promise to promote the values and perspective I grew up with in what is now Trump country. Many of the people there have never dreamed of flying on a private jet. Those who have would say “No, really, it’s too much” at least twice before accepting the ride at your expense, much less the taxpayers’. If asked to give up that flight to fund chemotherapy for someone they’ve never met, they would choose the stranger’s life every time and twice on Sunday.

I’m sure your first instinct will be to appoint another conservative who prioritizes his promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” and his anti-tax pledge to Grover Norquist. That will please your donors, but it will not help your voters. To keep your promise to them, you need someone who will honor his (or her) Constitutional and Hippocratic Oaths, and who sees Americans in need as patients to care for, not the chumps in coach.

I await your call, ready to serve.

Sincerely,

Joel Trambley, MD, PhD



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Posted by on Oct 12, 2017. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Latest Issue, Politically Aware. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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