Trump’s proposed healthcare overhaul could be disastrous for medical assistants, who are struggling to pay for their own medical needs.
The proposal to repeal a law that provides health care to about 20 million Americans also would mean the end of VA medical assistant scholarships, which pay them as much as $35,000 per year.
In addition, the bill would eliminate funding for many of the nation’s leading research universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, where more than 1,500 medical assistants work.
Trump has made medical assistants one of his signature campaign promises, promising to “end the VA as we know it.”
The plan, though, has drawn widespread criticism, with experts calling it “mean-spirited” and “outrageous.”
Trump has said the VA is a “broken mess” and that he’s “trying to get it fixed.”
In a recent interview with CBS, he said he wants to save it “and it’s going to cost me a fortune.”
But the proposal would likely be difficult to undo.
Trump’s plan would also make the VA less efficient and require many doctors and nurses to work in a smaller number of locations, a move that could slow the VA’s ability to provide medical care to the country’s most vulnerable.
The plan would make the federal government the sole provider of health care for most Americans.
And while Trump has called the VA a “mess,” experts say it is “a mess” for most people who need medical care, not just medical assistants.
In a 2015 report, the American Medical Association (AMA) said that the VA has “not yet addressed the need for the vast majority of health professionals who will remain at the agency’s medical facility and care facilities.”
The AMA said the lack of a single system to deliver health care “remains a critical and significant barrier to the delivery of care to millions of people.”
Trump’s proposal to cut off funding for medical assistant programs could further hurt medical assistants as they work to pay their bills.
A report released this month by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that about 40% of medical assistants earn less than $10 an hour.
While the average salary of a medical assistant is $50,000, the report found that a single VA medical aide could earn between $30,000 and $35 and $40,000.
The report also found that nearly all of the people who would lose health care under Trump’s proposals would be VA employees, who make up more than 40% and are paid about $80,000 more per year than non-VA employees.
“It’s a very dangerous and harmful plan,” said Dr. Stephen K. Coughlin, a professor of medicine and director of the VA Health Care Workforce Research Center at George Washington University.
“The proposed cuts would eliminate many of our best programs and put the VA in a very difficult position to provide the medical care that is critical to our country’s health and well-being.”
In addition to the cuts to medical assistant funding, Trump’s legislation would make it easier for employers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, which could result in lower pay for people who rely on medical assistants to care for their sick family members.
“This bill is the latest example of Trump’s disregard for the needs of VA staff members, which have already suffered under the ACA,” said Maryann Fitzsimmons, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform.
“Trump’s plan to gut the VA medical program is one of the most dangerous proposals to date from the president, and it sends a clear message that the GOP’s repeal-and-replace bill is not only cruel and short-sighted, it is also unworkable and will cost the American people money.”
The Trump administration has said that its plan would provide $7 billion in additional funding to help pay for VA medical programs.