Yes, Trump finally releases his Obamacare replacement "plan" and no, it's not "terrific"
2018 MIDTERM ELECTION
Time: D H M S
Since March of 2010, the American people have had to suffer under the incredible economic burden of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare.
Translation: Since March of 2010, nearly 18 million additional Americans have gained healthcare coverage, while nearly 14 million jobs have been added to the workforce.
This legislation, passed by totally partisan votes in the House and Senate and signed into law by the most divisive and partisan President in American history...
Translation: President Obama and the Democrats in Congress thought it sucked that so many Americans didn't have healthcare coverage, many of whom were denied it due to having pre-existing conditions or were being kicked off of their policies due to minor technicalities the moment they actually needed the coverage most, so they decided to do something about it. Republicans were given the opportunity to participate in the process but refused to, so the Dems went it alone.
...has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices.
Translation: HealthCare.Gov enrolled over 600,000 people in a single 24 hour period last December. The exchanges overall enrolled 12.7 million nationally this past season with relatively few technical issues. Individual market premiums have actually gone up at a lower rate on average (around 5.6% in 2015, around 9.1% in 2016) than in the years preceding the ACA going into effect, and there are actually far more carriers and plans available on the ACA exchanges today than there were in October 2013.
...but you know what? I gave up. I gave up because "fact checking" Donald Trump is like shooting fish in a barrel...except that after doing it long enough, the only one you feel like shooting is yourself.
His "plans" are a hodge-podge of fantasy, warmed-over GOP talking points and childlike declarations of "that'd be so awesome if we did that!". Last night I used the example of someone who keeps claiming that 2 + 2 = 5 no matter how many times you correct them, but Trump doesn't even do that. Trump insists that 2 + 2 = eggplant.
I'm a progressive Democrat, so it's not terribly surprising that I'm not inclined to care for whatever Trump has come up with, but check out what Michael Cannon of the CATO Institute has to say (and remember, this is the guy who is so opposed to Obamacare that he spearheaded the infamous King v. Burwell court case which nearly sunk the law last summer):
— Michael F. Cannon (@mfcannon) March 3, 2016
But the plan on Trump’s campaign website—entitled “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again”—contradicts in important ways what the Donald has claimed to be his health care principles. It has the look and feel of something that a 22-year-old congressional staffer would write for a backbencher based on a cursory review of Wikipedia.
The good news is that, in his own, surreal fashion, Donald Trump really is a "uniter": His "policies" manage to bring progressives and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans together in condemning them as being bizarre, meaningless word salad.
Having said that, here's Jeffrey Young of the Huffington Post, who does a much better job of attempting to decipher the latest missive from The Donald:
The bullet points published on the billionaire businessman's website Wednesday night don't amount to a detailed plan to overhaul the health care system, but they're about as specific as is typical for a presidential campaign and in line with the vague proposals touted by rivals Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). It's certainly more than the Republican Congress has managed to produce in the six years since the ACA became law. And, yes, Trump calls it "Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again."
...So what does Trump want to do on health care? Of course, the first order of business is to entirely get rid of Obamacare and its individual mandate that nearly everyone get health coverage or face a fine (a subject that recently got Trump into some hot water). There's a bunch of stuff on his website complaining about Obamacare, which gives Trump something in common with the congressional Republican leaders he likes to insult.
Let's start with what's not in Trumpcare, apart from estimates of how much it would cost and how it would affect the health care system. He seems to have no notion about covering the uninsured -- there are no tax credits or new government programs to help the millions who, without the substantial financial assistance that Obamacare offers, could never afford decent coverage on their own.
As a result, Trump's plan would dramatically increase the number of people who would be uninsured by scrapping Obamacare and making cuts to Medicaid. That's despite Trump's repeated assurances that when he's president, nobody will "die in the streets" due to lack of health care. There's nothing about guaranteeing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, either, even though he has expressed vague support for these protections in the past.
In broad terms, Trump's plan looks a lot like the dozen or so other Republican Obamacare repeal plans that have come out over the past few years. Trumpcare allows insurance companies to go back to refusing coverage for pre-existing conditions, a key barrier to coverage before Obamacare's coverage expansion.
Trump says in his plan that America "must also make sure that no one slips through the cracks simply because they cannot afford insurance." In a recent Republican debate, Trump promised that, if elected, he would "not allow people to die on the sidewalks and the streets of our country" for lack of access to health insurance.
But there's nothing in his health overhaul that prevents people from dying in the streets; there's no guaranteed access to insurance at all. Trumpcare, like other Republican replacement plans, has plenty of cracks to slip through.
Or, as Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation summarizes:
Two things the new Trumpcare does not do:
1. Protect people with pre-existing conditions.
2. Help the uninsured after the ACA is repealed.
— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) March 3, 2016
Actually, there is one important difference between Trump's plan and his fellow Republicans: Trump's was likely written using a gold Sharpie.