Candidate Trump offered supporters and opponents like me the sense that at least he spoke his mind, and would shake things up. Rational Americans, no matter their values and views, agree that government can be improved, even if they disagree on how.
One hope I harbored — after Trump effectively defeated both the Democrats and the Republicans — was that he might do something clever on health care. If only to deliver on his campaign pledge of health care for everyone. Cheaper. Better.
Right. Looking at the Republican/Trump plan snaking its way through congress, the depth and breadth of Trump’s betrayal is stunning. “It’s going to be terrific,” he once said, speaking of his forthcoming alternative to Obamacare. What hooey.
Naïvely I had thought, Trump really is uniquely poised to overcome both parties’ shameful fealty to special interests, micro-constituencies and divisive rhetoric on health care. Maybe something good can come of this.
He didn’t care enough to fight for it.
Sure, the Republican/Trump plan will save money for some, at first. Mainly the young, the healthy and the rich. Government will save some money. But it will also mean higher costs for many, notably the old, the sick and the poor. It will swell the ranks of the uninsured. It will be less equitable overall. And it will do zero to meaningfully reign in costs or improve care.
Ironically, given that its boosters brand it, vis-à-vis ObamaCare, “repeal and replace,” it does neither; it does gut many ObamaCare provisions, like replacing individual subsidies with vouchers and block grants — ensuring that less money gets to those in need. It otherwise leaves in place much of our currently dysfunctional system while transferring, via related tax cuts and the removal of income-based subsidies, a trillion dollars from the poor to the rich, over the next decade.
It’s ironic that this president, who posed as a populist during the course of his campaign, has embraced what is, in large measure, an act of class warfare…against much of his own base.
Yes, Obamacare is flawed, I think fatally. I’d scrap employer-provided plans altogether, along with most of the current regime. I’d do Medicare for All instead: here’s your basic model Chevy; if you want extras, or a Cadillac, fine, you pay the difference.
There are many ways to do more with less, to expand care while reducing costs and bureaucratic micro-management. Hardly anyone — Democrat, Republican or Trump — is working earnestly to advance such concepts. Though Senator Sanders, to his credit, plans to propose Medicare for All, should TrumpRyanCare fail… which I hope it does.
This general and deplorable display of cynicism, which allows empty gestures to masquerade as solutions, is bad enough. Worse is what Trump is doing, with his many disingenuous statements, to undermine his own credibility — and that of the office itself.
It’s one thing to hear a president promise one thing, and then do another. We’ve seen that before. We’ll see it again, after Trump. Presidents operate in a realm where strict adherence to promises isn’t always an easy or even practical option.
But when we’re forced to put air quotes around much of what Trump or his agents say — like, Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower — how can we believe anything? Like, I’m proposing health care for everyone: better and cheaper. Like, there’s a looming disaster. Like, we have no choice, we have to go to war.
Certain qualities make for good leaders. No one of sound mind sees 45 possessing these in ideal combination. Some fear he’s not of sound mind. I hope he tries harder to shake things up. But there is danger in his keeping us always off balance.
It brings to mind the boy who cried wolf. Also the old saw, I’m not sure the source: neurotics have issues, psychotics have solutions. And that is unsettling…
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Stop, Go, Murder