Sunday, July 02, 2017

Does Trump Even Care About Healthcare For Americans ?

(Caricature of Donald Trump is by the inimitable DonkeyHotey.)

During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump promised his followers that he would immediately repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better. After being sworn in, he promised Americans that his plan to replace Obamacare would cover all Americans with health insurance.

Both of those promises have fallen by the wayside. The House Republicans passed a plan (AHCA) that would repeal Obamacare and throw 23 million Americans off the health insurance rolls. Trump embraced the plan as though it was a great victory -- and invited House Republicans to the White House for a victory celebration.

That plan immediately ran into trouble in the Senate, and a similar plan (BCRA) crafted by Senate GOP leaders has been unable to get enough Republican votes to pass. Now it's beginning to look like the Senate Republicans are not going to be able to come up with a plan they can agree on.

This has Trump once again changing his mind. He has now tweeted that the Senate should just repeal Obamacare, and worry about replacing it later. His thinking is that once Obamacare is repealed, people will be happy to accept any GOP plan -- even a bad one like those already proposed (which would take health insurance away from 22-23 million Americans, and raise premium prices for everyone).

Trump's proposal would repeal Obamacare, but delay that repeal from taking effect until next year -- which would give Republicans another year to come up with a plan. The problem with that is that after more than seven years of complaining about Obamacare, the Republicans have been unable to come up with a plan -- and there's no reason to believe that could do that in another year. This would just keep the argument alive over the bad Republican proposals, and have them trying to do something just a few months before the November 2018 election. That's something no Republican in Congress wants to happen.

Trump has now gone from promising to cover everyone to throwing most Americans under the bus. It brings this question to mind -- Does he really care about providing healthcare for Americans, or is he just desperate to get a legislative victory (and be able to show his cult followers that he can deliver on his promises).

So far, he has not delivered on any of the big promises of his campaign. There is no legislation (or funding) to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. There is no infrastructure legislation. There is no new immigration legislation. There has been no tax reform legislation. In short, there have been no major legislative achievements at all -- lending credence to the view that Trump and the Republican Congress are incapable of governing.

Trump and his family (and his friends) are rich. They have the money to buy any insurance they want (or pay any medical bills they might accrue). Most Americans are not so lucky. They need Obamacare to be fixed -- not repealed. But Trump seems ready to throw them under the bus to get a legislative victory. He has shown that he really doesn't care about healthcare for American citizens. He only cares about looking good to his cult followers -- and he needs a legislative victory (preferably repeal of Obamacare), even if that means thousands of Americans die for lack of insurance (and many more go bankrupt because they can't pay gigantic medical bills).

As usual, the narcissist-in-chief only cares about himself.

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