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Public policy and health in the Trump era

February 11, 2021

Topics: Quote of the Day

By Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein, Co-chairs, with 31 other authors
The Lancet Commissions, February 11, 2021

Executive Summary (Short Version)

Convened shortly after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the Lancet Commission on public policy and health in the Trump era offers the first comprehensive assessment of the detrimental legislation and executive actions during Trump’s presidency with devastating effects on every aspect of health in the USA. The Lancet Commission traces the decades of policy failures that preceded and fueled Trump’s ascent and left the USA lagging behind other high-income nations on life expectancy. The report warns that a return to pre-Trump era policies is not enough to protect health. Instead, sweeping reforms are needed to redress long-standing racism, weakened social and health safety nets that have deepened inequality, and calls on the important role of health professionals in advocating for health care reform in the USA.

  • Section 1: The missing Americans
  • Section 2: White supremacy and the history of racism in the USA
  • Section 3: The assault on immigrants
  • Section 4: The modern opioid epidemic
  • Section 5: Slowing the progress toward UHC
  • Section 6: Food, nutrition, and public health
  • Section 7: The environment, workplace, and global climate
  • Section 8: Reproductive rights under threat
  • Section 9: Globalising harm
  • Section 10: Mobilising for change

From the Conclusion

A new politics is needed, whose appeal rests on a vision of shared prosperity and a kind society. Health-care workers have much to contribute in formulating and advancing that vision, and our patients, communities, and planet have much to gain from it.


PDF version:


By Don McCanne, M.D.

This 49 page report and its supporting documents are too much to summarize here. Simply stated, the report describes what has gone wrong with public policy and health in the United States, with suggestions on how we can fix it. You will want to set aside adequate time to read and study this report.

TODAY! Feb. 11, 12:00-1:00 Eastern: Health in the Trump Era

You are invited to the global launch event of the Lancet Commission on public policy and health in the Trump era: February 11, 12:00-1:00 Eastern, 9:00 am Pacific

The Lancet Commission on public policy and health in the Trump era is the first comprehensive assessment of the health effects of President Trump’s policies. Led by 33 leading experts from the US, UK and Canada, the Commission was tasked with chronicling the repercussions of the administration’s actions and charting policies for a healthy future.

At the launch, the authors will present key findings and recommendations from the Commission. The presentations will be followed by a question and answer session chaired by Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet.

Register here: https://community.hunter.cuny.edu…

Presenters and speakers include:

  • Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet
  • Steffie Woolhandler (City University of New York at Hunter College, New York; Harvard Medical School, Boston)
  • David Himmelstein (City University of New York at Hunter College, New York; Harvard Medical School, Boston)
  • Mary T Bassett (Harvard University, Boston)
  • Kevin Grumbach (University of California, San Francisco)
  • Congressman Ro Khanna (D-California)

This event is hosted by Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.

Stay informed! Visit www.pnhp.org/qotd to sign up for daily email updates.

About the Commentator, Don McCanne

Don McCanne is a retired family practitioner who dedicated the 2nd phase of his career to speaking and writing extensively on single payer and related issues. He served as Physicians for a National Health Program president in 2002 and 2003, then as Senior Health Policy Fellow. For two decades, Don wrote "Quote of the Day", a daily health policy update which inspired HJM.

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