The GOP’s health care policy evolution

July 10, 2024 1:49 pm

THE 2016 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM VS. 2024 — The many substantive differences between the Republican’s 2016 platform and its likely 2024 version underscore how former President Donald Trump has moved the party away from traditional conservative positions on health care.

The Republican National Committee platform committee agreed to Trump’s platform Monday, which is set to be finalized next week. The GOP didn’t release a platform in 2020 when Trump lost to President Joe Biden.

The RNC didn’t return a request for comment on this year’s changes.

Here are some key differences:

Obamacare: After a protracted and failed GOP bid in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act under the Trump administration, the 2024 platform makes no mention of the health care law.

Trump said late last year that he was “seriously looking at alternatives” to Obamacare and that the 2017 repeal and replace bid was a “low point” for the party. The 2016 platform pledged that a Republican president would sign its repeal with unanimous GOP support.

The 2024 platform also doesn’t mention Medicaid, while the 2016 platform proposed turning it into a block grant program.

Medicare: Republicans’ traditional fiscal conservatism is in nearly every corner of the 2016 platform, including on the federal health insurance program benefiting older adults.

In stark contrast, the 2024 platform pledges not to slash “one penny” from Medicare.

In 2016, Republicans called for a substantial overhaul of Medicare to preserve its solvency, pointing to an aging population, suggesting a premium support system and guaranteeing a contribution toward plans dependent on income. That platform also floated changing the eligibility age, though it pledged not to make changes for those 55 and older.

Although light on details, 2024’s platform proposes border security as a way to shore up Medicare’s finances by preventing “tens of millions of new illegal immigrants” from being added to the program’s rolls. Undocumented people are not eligible for Medicare, but some noncitizens are eligible, with restrictions.

Abortion: Trump has ushered in a significant softening of the party’s position on abortion in a post-Roe America.

Unlike the 2016 edition, the platform doesn’t call for a 20-week federal abortion ban, instead saying the party opposes “late term abortion” and supports access to birth control and in vitro fertilization.