What can we expect from Trump's next moves in the domestic policy sphere?

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27 February
20:37
27 February
22:04

Trump's domestic policies are slowly starting to take shape. It looks like these policies indeed largely reflect what he promised during the election campaign, when he said he would scale back Obama's healthcare reform (known as Obamacare), raise the USA's defense capabilities, embark on immigration reform, bring corporations back to the US from abroad. The most important thing to watch right now is healthcare - so I will start with this topic.

One of the first steps taken by the new administration was to repeal Obamacare (or "The Affordable Care Act"). Obama considered this reform to be his most important accomplishment as president. Before the reform, the USA was the only developed country in the world that didn't have universal healthcare, and over 40 million Americans didn't have access to medical care. Many democratic presidents tried to reform the healthcare system, but only the Obama administration succeeded in doing this. Thanks to the  reform, over 20 million more Americans have been able to get health insurance. However, with this, premiums and out-of-pocket costs rose. The healthcare reform brought about a deep divide in American society between those who support it and those who are against it. Republicans have still not come to terms with the new laws and have battled it in courts at various levels. 

So far, Trump's very general statements don't allow us to draw any meaningful conclusions about what will happen to healthcare in the USA. 

Video: Trump talks about Obamacare on January 11, 2017

When he announced that he would dismantle the reform, Trump nonetheless promised to keep some of its basic tenets: the provision regarding preexisting conditions (i.e. insurance companies do not have the right to deny coverage to people with chronic or severe illnesses); as well as the provision that allows young people to be on their parents' insurance until turning 26. Trump called the reform "a complete and total disaster" and promised that after he scales it back, Americans will receive better quality healthcare for less money by increasing competition and deregulating the market. However, so far, Trump's very general statements don't allow us to draw any meaningful conclusions about what will happen to healthcare in the USA.

By proposing to get rid of Obamacare, Republicans face a tough situation in which they have to promise something in return. And so far it is unclear what exactly they can offer.

The most divisive provision of Obamacare was that it made  health insurance mandatory and introduced penalty fees for not buying insurance. Republicans dislike this part of Obamacare the most. This provision was the main source of funding for millions of newly insured Americans,  so repealing it raises the question of how insurance for the newly insured Americans will be funded. If tens of millions of people who now have insurance will suddenly lose it, many will be very unhappy with the new Republican administration. So by proposing to get rid of Obamacare, Republicans face a tough situation in which they have to promise something in return. And so far it is unclear what exactly they can offer.

But healthcare is not the only thing to keep an eye on.

Right after Trump entered the White House, he started putting his immigration reform plan into action. This includes deporting "illegal" immigrants and building a wall along the US-Mexico border. But one of his first steps in his fight with undocumented migrants brought about a wave of protests and was challenged in the courts. So Trump is having a lot of difficulty bringing his plans for immigration reform into being.

Earlier this week, Trump announced sharp increases in Defense Department spending, and at the same time he dramatically cut domestic spending. Trump promises that these cuts will not affect Social Security and Medicare. 

In his program for returning corporations and jobs to the USA, Trump promises to raise taxes for American companies which produce their goods in other countries, and to lower taxes for those companies which produce goods in the USA. 

Trump will also reveal his plans for infrastructure projects soon. Republicans do not support these plans, but this infrastructure program is the only part of Trump's policies which resonates with democrats. They will be fighting the other policies as hard as they can.

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