One of the world's top scientific journals put out a color-coded scorecard for Trump's health policies — and there's a lot of red

Rafi Letzter

Donald Trump will become president of the United States on Friday. On Thursday, The Lancet, a top global medical journal based in the United Kingdom, published a "scorecard" evaluating what his policies could mean for public health.

The scorecard, created by three respected public health researchers, evaluates Trump's stated policies according to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs are a platform laid out at the United Nations for improving human welfare around the world. They include basic principles like reducing poverty and hunger, improving education and gender equality, and protecting the global environment from pollution, waste, and climate change.

The United States joined 189 other countries around the world in committing to the SDGs in 2015.

Below is a graphic laying out where the authors found that each known, relevant Trump policy scores according to the SDGs. Red means that a policy represents a high risk to public health, amber a medium risk, and green a low risk.

Trump lancet scorecard
Trump lancet scorecard

The Lancet

The authors caution that the scorecard's conclusions remain uncertain, due to some special challenges in evaluating the President-elect's decisions:

"One is that there is considerable uncertainty, and little sign of a coherent plan from Trump's transition staff and appointees. The President-elect's views are inconsistent and have shifted on many key issues, sometimes within hours. Another reason is that achieving real change requires skill, yet Trump assumes the office of President with no government experience and concerns about his understanding of the role. As a business leader at The Trump Organization, he operated a distinct family operation with a close-knit group of loyal supporters, giving him virtually absolute control over operations. As President, his actions will be constrained by the Constitution, centuries of legislation, and numerous checks and balances created by the formal separation of powers."

A key question that remains unanswered, they explain, is whether Trump will pursue the agenda he has partially laid out in various Tweets and statements. The answer to the question will impact how the points on the scorecard develop over time.

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