UPDATE: Doonesbury had Trump nailed 40 years ago.
2018 MIDTERM ELECTION
Time: D H M S
With the Republicans scrambling to come up with a plan, any plan to replace the Affordable Care Act at the same time that they repeal it (as opposed to, you know, simply not repealing it, at least until they actually have a reasonable plan, which they could certainly do if they wished to), there was a huge amount of buzz generated Sunday night over this story from Robert Costa and Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post:
Trump vows ‘insurance for everybody’ in Obamacare replacement plan
President-elect Donald Trump said in a weekend interview that he is nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of “insurance for everybody,” while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid.
Drug negotiations aside, the rest of the article is exactly what you'd expect:
Trump declined to reveal specifics in the telephone interview late Saturday with The Washington Post, but any proposals from the incoming president would almost certainly dominate the Republican effort to overhaul federal health policy as he prepares to work with his party’s congressional majorities.
...The objectives of broadening access to insurance and lowering health-care costs have always been in conflict, and it remains unclear how the plan that the incoming administration is designing — or ones that will emerge on Capitol Hill — would address that tension.
...Trump said his plan for replacing most aspects of Obama’s health-care law is all but finished. Although he was coy about its details — “lower numbers, much lower deductibles” — he said he is ready to unveil it alongside Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
...“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said.
...it remains unclear from either Trump’s comments in the interview or recent remarks by GOP leaders on Capitol Hill how [GOP leaders] intend to accomplish that.
...“It’s not going to be their plan,” he said of people covered under the current law. “It’ll be another plan. But they’ll be beautifully covered. I don’t want single-payer. What I do want is to be able to take care of people,” he said Saturday.
OK, so as of 10:00pm Sunday, January 15th, the incoming Republican President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, promised that he and the GOP are going to replace the Affordable Care Act with a sweeping new healthcare plan which will "beautifully cover" "everybody" with "much lower deductibles", but that it "won't be single payer". Awesomesauce.
Cut to exactly 16 hours and 33 minutes later (John Wagner, also via the Washington Post):
Trump spokesman says Obamacare replacement will harness marketplace competition
A spokesman for Donald Trump sought Monday to elaborate on the president-elect’s plans to replace the Affordable Care Act, vowing that the new administration would lower health-care costs by infusing more competition into the marketplace, including by allowing insurers to sell health plans across state lines.
Trump’s goal is “to get insurance for everybody through marketplace solutions, through bringing costs down, through negotiating with pharmaceutical companies, allowing competition over state lines," Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.
In other words...the same old warmed-over slop that the GOP has been yammering about for years, including the ongoing GOP obsession with "selling across state lines" even though a) the ACA itself already allows for that and b) the insurance companies really aren't particularly interested anyway.
Of course, as Sarah Kliff notes at Vox:
The only thing missing from Trump’s amazing health proposal was his actual health care plan.
...Costa’s article leaves out some important context: we’ve seen this game from Trump before, during the campaign. He promised a plan that covered everybody, that left no one behind. But the campaign proposal he ultimately rolled out was far from that — instead of covering everybody, it would have caused 21 million Americans to lose coverage.
The problem here is that reporters keep trying to act as though Donald Trump actually has any real "policies", when it's been clear for over a year now that he doesn't. He spews forth whatever idea pops into his tiny pea brain at that particular moment, only to say (or, more often, Tweet) something completely different moments later. Once in awhile, what he says bears some resemblance to a coherent policy, and on occasion it may actually be a progressive's dream...but these are through sheer random chance.
About 40 years ago, Garry Trudeau nailed Trump's mentality perfectly. He was actually referring to Chinese dictator Mo Tse-tung, but he might as well have been predicting Donald Trump today:
Many people have noted, there's a simple "out" for Trump and the Republican Party: They could repeal the Affordable Care Act and then simply replace it with an identically-worded bill under a different name (probably "The Great and Glorious TrumpCare" or somesuch nonsense). That way they could say to the rabid GOP base that they "kept their promise" by "repealing Obamacare".
On the other hand, as David States pointed out via Twitter this evening, it could be even simpler yet. Seeing how a substantial number of Trump supporters still don't seem to be aware that "Obamacare" and "The Affordable Care Act" are the exact same thing, States noted:
— David States (@statesdj) January 17, 2017
Yup, I could see that. "Obama is no longer President. Therefore, the healthcare law is no longer ‘Obamacare’."
...which, as it happens, reminds me of another classic Doonesbury run from the mid-70's, in the middle of the oil crisis...
UPDATE 01/18/17: Annnnnnnnnnd there we have it:
Trump said health care is his most urgent domestic topic, telling us he spoke with President Obama again on Monday about the topic. He back-tracked a bit from his promise of insurance for everybody, saying he wanted to find a mechanism — Medicaid block grants, perhaps — to help the poorest get insurance. "You know there are many people talking about many forms of health care where people with no money aren't covered. We can't have that," he said.
Where's "Honey" when you need her?