Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. The race has been tight between the two candidates but the Republican nominee won key swing states as the night unfolded.
It has been a bitter campaign, with disagreements between Hillary Clinton and Trump on almost every key issues – not least on the subject of health policy. IBTimes UK takes a look at some of the ideas that the 45th president of the United States has put forward during the campaign and at the possible measures he will seek to implement over the next four years.
Since it was enacted in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – better known as "Obamacare" – has been widely contested by the Republican Party. Trump is no exception there, and on his campaign website, he clearly stated that he would "repeal the Act and replace it with 'health saving accounts'".
When president Obama came up with his healthcare reform, the goal was simple. Roughly 15% of the population lacked health insurance coverage – people who were not covered by their employers or by health programmes Medicaid and Medicare – and the law aimed at offering them such a coverage. Health insurance was thus extended to 20 million Americans.
Many Republicans opposed the law because they believed it would impose too many costs on business. They also saw Obamacare as an intrusion into the affairs of people and businesses. However, the main criticism voiced by many Americans is that the average costs of insurance premium have gone up. The primary reason for this is the law's requirement that insurers cover high-risk consumers with pre-existing medical conditions – these people could be denied insurance in the previous system.
With Republicans set to retain control of the senate, it is likely that Obamacare will be repealed quickly into Trump's presidency. Donald Trump's plan to replace it is not yet clear, but he has said that he would expand "health saving accounts".
These accounts allow people to put aside money tax-free dedicated to paying for health insurance as well as for drug treatments. To drive prices down, he wants to increase competition between health insurance providers, by allowing them to sell services in different states. He also says he will negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the costs of specific therapies.
Trump's stance on abortion
Over the years, Trump's position on abortion has at times been confusing. In 1999, he had called himself a "pro-choice". However, during the campaign, he has made it clear he was "pro-life" and has repeated his opposition to abortion.
Last March, he created controversy when he said women should be punished for having an abortion. He later retracted these comments in a statement and said: "If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman".
Trump clashed with Clinton on the subject during the presidential debate on 19 October 2016. He claimed that under the current legislation "you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day" – a comment that leading health professionals have described as 'absurd'.
When asked whether he wanted the Supreme Court decision giving women the right to abortion reversed – a ruling known as Roe v. Wade – he said this would "happen automatically" as he would elect conservative judges to the Supreme Court. If the ruling was reversed, the decision to make abortion illegal or not would "go back to the individual states" to decide, which was the case prior to Roe v. Wade.
Treating mental health disorders
While Hillary Clinton had dedicated a whole part of her programme to mental health, Trump barely mentioned the issue. The only reference to mental health on his campaign's website comes in the section about protecting the Second Amendment and the right of US citizens to bear arms.
He writes: "We need to fix our broken mental health system. All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored. We can't allow that to continue. We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren't violent, they just need help". It is not clear however, what the exact plan to achieve this will be.
Donald Trump also sparked a fierce debate when he suggested that soldiers with mental health issues were not "strong" enough.
Vaccination and autism
Throughout the campaign, Trump has touched upon other health issues, hinting at the type of policy direction he would take as president. An important one is vaccination. It is significant given the strength of anti-vaccination movement in the US. Trump does not entirely reject vaccination but he has for years highlighted a link between vaccines and autism.