Friday, April 14, 2017

Trump Threatens Dems With Stopping Insurance Subsidies

Donald Trump promised voters that he could make changes in Washington because he was a great businessman who knew how to negotiate with others. But he has shown no ability to actually negotiate any kind of deal since taking office.

He called meetings with his fellow Republicans at the White House to hammer out a deal to repeal and replace Obamacare -- and failed miserably. He wound up threatening members of the GOP's "freedom caucus" with opposing them in the next election -- a threat that most just laughed at, since those House members are in very safe districts.

He has now changed his target, but not his "negotiating" tactic. He's still using threats, but now his target is congressional Democrats. He says if the Democrats don't cooperate in his effort to destroy Obamacare, he will stop the payment of insurance subsidies -- the subsidies that help millions of American families to buy health insurance.

Here is the essence of his threat -- Democrats either help him destroy Obamacare, or he will destroy it by himself (and try to blame them). He needs to work on his threats. No self-respecting Democrat would choose option 1. It's far better, if Obamacare has to be destroyed, that Trump do it himself -- and take the blame for it in the 2018 election (along with his Republican supporters).

He may think he can shift blame for stopping subsidies to the Democrats, but the public is not going to buy that. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation Poll shows that 61% of the general population says whatever happens to Obamacare is the responsibility of Republicans (since they control both houses of Congress and the White House). The public knows who has the governmental power and who doesn't.

And there's something else that should worry Trump and the congressional Republicans. The American public strongly supports continuing the subsidies that help families (making between $22k and $44k) to buy health insurance (see chart above). About 68% of the general public supports keeping those subsidies, while only 13% oppose them. And that includes a huge majority of the Republican base (with 62% supporting the subsidies and only 20% opposing them).

The chart was made from information in a recent Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between April 2nd and 4th of a random national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,331 registered voters), with a margin of error of 3.2 points.

And it's not just the public that opposes cutting off the subsidy payments. Health insurance providers have joined with hospitals and doctors and the traditionally very conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce to send Trump a letter asking him to NOT cut off the subsidy payments. That letter is shown below.

If Trump does try to cut off those subsidy payments, he will just be hastening the destruction of his own presidency (and maybe even the Republican majorities in Congress).

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