Clinton or Trump? Either Way, Change Is Coming

John Kamp is the executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication.
John Kamp is the executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton offer clear contrasts on the issues of the Affordable Care Act, entitlement reform, and drug pricing. We also can expect action by the new administration and Congress in two additional policy areas that often are overlooked but may profoundly affect medical marketers, publishers, and media.

First, absent unexpected Senate action on the Merrick Garland nomination, the incoming president will quickly need to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. Trump likely will seek an ideological successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, who was a staunch defender of the commercial speech doctrine of the First Amendment and a skeptic of social programs such as healthcare. 

See also: Clinton campaign ad targets Valeant, drug repricing

Clinton may stick with the moderate Garland or appoint a more progressive liberal, who may be a skeptic of business speech rights and supportive of government intervention in health policy. The FDA's marketing regulations and health policy will be broadly implicated.

Second, expect corporate tax reform to be high on the agenda of the new president and Congress, no matter which party prevails. PhRMA and its allies clearly will push to bring foreign profits from overseas and to lower the tax rate to make it closer to 20%. 

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull (Clinton) and Gage Skidmore (Trump)/Creative Commons

Indeed, in a clear warning to marketing agencies and publishers, a few high-profile medical companies have already favored reducing the tax deduction for marketing costs in return for a lower tax rate. Killing or reducing the tax deduction for marketing costs would increase the cost of marketing, decrease the ROI, and almost inevitably suppress advertising and other marketing.  Be careful what you ask for.

Stay tuned.

John Kamp is the executive director of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication.