This should not be big, surprising, new news. But somehow it is.
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said.
“There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” People covered under the law “can expect to have great health care. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”
– Excerpt from Washington Post interview with Donald Trump, published yesterday, Sunday the 15th of January, 2017.
Scott Pelley: Universal health care?
Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.
Scott Pelley: The uninsured person is going to be taken care of how?
Donald Trump: They’re going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably–
Scott Pelley: Make a deal? Who pays for it?
Donald Trump: –the government’s gonna pay for it.
– Excerpt from transcript of CBS interview with Donald Trump, September 27th, 2015.
Do you see the problem with treating this weekend’s “revelation” that Donald Trump is fundamentally pitching a universal coverage plan as new and, well, a revelation? That’s where we are, though.
He has before and is now offering the promise that every American will be covered, whether they can pay or not, and that if they cannot pay, the government will pay. Does that sound familiar to you?
Donald Trump has consistently voiced his support for government-run health coverage. You may dimly recall way back in the ancient past of last week when the #MAGA legions were crowing about the impending repeal of Obamacare as a vindication of Trump’s election, and an end to government control of healthcare or socialized medicine. Search your memory, last week was a long time ago, but I assure you it happened.
For conservative Republicans dubious about his pledge to ensure coverage for millions, Trump pointed to several interviews he gave during the campaign in which he promised to “not have people dying on the street.”
“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.
“I don’t want single-payer,” he throws in. As is his way, the President-elect of course expects to be given credit for both (opposing) points of view. He is against government health care. He is also for it. He is against single-payer. He is also advocating it.
Here is his cake, eaten and kept.
Trump has lauded the success of single-payer, though. During a Presidential debate in 2015, Trump had this to say:
“As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here.”
Note: it does not work incredibly well in Scotland.
In practically the same breath, also said this:
“What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state.”
More cake. But aside from saying he’s against single-payer, Trump has had nothing but praise for single-payer.
Here is Moe Lane’s explanation of that CBS interview:
What Donald Trump is describing here is his support for either a public option (government-run health care insurance company), or something like a drastic national expansion of Medicaid (“free” public health care). Neither of which is really compatible with his stated support for ‘repealing and replacing Obamacare,’ given that the former goes further to the Left than even Obamacare did, and something like the latter was part of Obamacare until the US Supreme Court backhanded the Obama administration at the same time it was backhanding the administration over disrespecting the limits of the Commerce Clause. And I say that it oversells by only a little because everybody reading this knows perfectly well that the long term objective of either the public option, or drastic Medicaid expansion, was to weaken private health insurance to the point where ‘universal health care’ became the only way to keep the entire edifice from collapsing.
In other words: a single-payer, Canadian-style health care system.
And here is John Nolte for Breitbart:
During his “60 Minutes” interview Sunday, Republican presidential front-runner appeared to come out in favor of a form of single payer health insurance for the uninsured (although he does says he’s going to “take care of everybody”) and openly called for raising taxes on the wealthy.
Yes, Breitbart. What has changed in Trump’s rhetoric between then and now? Not a thing. Except maybe that he’s a little more open about some of his motivation:
Trump told me he has been following coverage of ACA/Dems/critics closely. Prompted him to finalize a plan for broader access, post repeal.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 16, 2017
And not only has that not changed since 2015, his support goes back further. In an interview in 2011, Trump had this to say:
“The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans… We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.”
It has long been an argument on the right, to include among those who now comprise the Trump-right, that Obama and the Democrats hoped and planned for the public option to eventually become single-payer. What Trump has advocated for years is exactly the same. It really seems his beef with Obamcare is that it isn’t set up the way he thinks it ought to be, rather than the very core political and practical premise of it.
The President-elect claims to have a master plan. A magic plan, that will cover everyone in the country, reduce premiums, reduce government expense, use government money to pay for the health coverage of those who cannot pay, will not be Obamacare, won’t devolve into single-payer, will force drug manufacturers to give awesome prices to Medicare and Medicaid, will improve the standard of care across the board, is already ready to go already, and will be implemented as a replacement tout de suite, without anyone currently covered under Obamacare losing their coverage or experiencing a gap.
Okay. Well. I can honestly say if that’s the case we’ll all be pleasantly shocked beyond all reason.
But just for the sake of argument, let’s say he can’t do that and we’re instead looking at a hastily thrown-together plan that will create another government behemoth and black hole of cost increases and skyrocketing premiums crushing the middle class. What then will Trump do if Republicans remember they aren’t big fans of big government running healthcare? How will he respond?
From the Washington Post interview:
Trump warned Republicans that if the party splinters or slows his agenda, he is ready to use the power of the presidency — and Twitter — to usher his legislation to passage.
“The Congress can’t get cold feet because the people will not let that happen,” Trump said during the interview with The Post.
So he wants to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare, and has a new “pen and phone”? Great. Well that’s just great.
And by the way, who is paying for that wall? Is it Mexico?
Told you so.