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Last night Donald Trump was on CNN with Anderson Cooper. The subject of health care came up. Naturally it resulted in a dumpster fire of nitwit-ish blather from Trump and cowed silence from Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: If Obamacare is repealed and there’s no mandate for everybody to have insurance what’s to… and why would insurance company not have a pre-existing insure somebody…
TRUMP: I like tne mandate. Okay, so here’s how I’m a little bit different. I don’t want people dying on the streets and I say this all the time. And I say this… Look I did five speeches maybe six speeches today we had a lot of rallies with thousands and thousands of people. I mean we get big crowds. Everytime I talk about this I get standing ovations. The Republican people, they’re wonderful people, they don’t want people dying on the streets. Sometimes they say, “Donald Trump wants single-payer.” Because there is a group of people, as good as these plans are, and by the way your insurance will go way down you’ll have better players, you’ll get your own doctor
TRUMP: Obama lied. Remember this…
COOPER: A person with a pre-existing condition should be able to get insurance?
TRUMP: Yes. Obama lied when he said you’re gonna keep your plan, you get to keep your doctor. I was a pure lie. Frankly many democrats went along only because they believed him. He lied twenty-eight times. Twenty-eight times he said it. Twenty-eight times. If that were in the private sector you be sued for fraud. Okay? He lied to get the plan through. He got it through and it’s turned out to be a disaster. The wrong people are buying it. You know what’s happening. It’s dead. It’s gonna… Look, ObamaCare is dead. It’s gonna be repealed, gonna be replaced. But I will say this, Anderson, if we don’t do something quickly you can have a health care problem that you… like you’ve never seen before in this country. Now the new plan is good, it’s going to be inexpensive, it’s going to be much better for the people. But there’s gonna be a group of people at the bottom people that haven’t done well, people that don’t have any money that won’t be able to be taken care of. We’re gonna take care of them through maybe concepts of medicare. We have hospitals that aren’t doing well. We have doctors aren’t doing well. You cannot let people die on the street, okay? Now some people would say “that’s not a very Republican thing to say.” Every time I say this at a rally, or even today I said it, once again a standing ovation, I said, you know, the problem is everybody thinks that you people as Republicans hate the concept of taking care of people that are really, really sick and are gonna die. And that’s not single-payer, by the way, that’s called “heart.” We’ve gotta take care of people that can’t take care of themselves. But the plans will be much less expensive than Obamacare, they’ll be far better than Obamacare, you’ll get your doctor you get everything you want to get, it’ll be unbelievable. [Italics are mine, read this a couple of times.] But you’ve got to get rid of the lines. You’ve got to have competition. those people that are left, we gotta help them live and everybody likes it when I say it, and that includes Republicans and it’s not single-payer.
It is hard to get any further from the mainstream of conservative and Republican philosophy or the national mood than supporting the ObamaCare mandate. How the ObamaCare mandate, which rather requires you to have a job in order to pay the premiums, keeps anyone from “dying on the street” is a mystery. Likewise, the existence of a plan predicated on killing off the sick and vulnerable by neglect is new to me.
There are a few takeaways from this. First and foremost, Trump doesn’t have a freakin clue as to what he’s talking about. What he’s obviously done is extract a few focus group tested themes, like “dying on the street,” and “get rid of the lines,” and he simply says these over and over with connecting verbiage. The plan Trump refers to, the one that apparently suspends the idea of supply and demand and guarantees everyone a free lunch, simply does not exist. In the tech field it is a concept known as vaporware.
Trump is in favor of an ObamaCare that is more efficient. His support for the ObamaCare mandate should unsettle anyone who thinks they are not voting for an old style populist Democrat. This willingness to use the coercive power of the state to achieve an end is reminiscent of the experience of the widow in Atlantic City whose house Trump tried to take.
Indeed, Obamacare’s individual mandate is not only coercive but unconstitutional. Obama’s congressional allies claimed that passing it was a valid exercise of their authority to regulate interstate commerce, but the mandate was rejected as unconstitutional on those grounds by the Supreme Court—with Justice Scalia in the majority on this question—because in truth it was an effort to compel commerce, not regulate it. The mandate was rescued only because five of the Court’s nine justices decided that it could plausibly be reinterpreted as a constitutionally permissible “tax”—even though Obama had insisted all along that it wasn’t a tax, and even though the legislative text declares it to be an “individual responsibility requirement” paired with a “penalty” for noncompliance.
In fact, his support of the individual mandate makes him a fan of Chief Justice John Roberts which is in contrast to his criticism of Ted Cruz supporting Roberts’s nomination while he was Texas Solicitor General.
The other thing to notice is that Anderson Cooper follows Joe Scarborough’s lead during this interview. He asks one question, about pre-existing conditions and coverage for them, and accepts “Yes” as an answer. Can you imagine any other candidate, other than Hillary Clinton, getting away with this? What this election season is showing is that television networks with a small audience are prone to tossing any pretense at journalism aside when covering someone whom they perceive will increase that audience.