The party of broken promises and no ideas

April 7, 2019

Just over a week ago President Trump was pledging, “The Republican party will soon be known as the party of health care.”

Well, not so soon, it appears. A few days later Trump said there would be no attempt to pass health care legislation. That will have to wait until 2021, after the next presidential and congressional elections. Even by Trumpian standards it was a stunningly quick reversal.

“Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House. It will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America,” tweeted our president.

Has anything more insincere ever been written? Who could be gullible enough to give that statement any credence?

It should sound familiar. In running for the presidency, Trump said, “I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

But after running for six years against the Affordable Care Act, voting dozens of times to repeal it, Republicans it turned out had no plan to replace it. When they finally got a bill to Senate, only to see it rejected despite a GOP majority, it did not assure everyone would be “taken care of” but instead would have stripped 14 million people of healthcare coverage, growing to 24 million in a decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

It apparently fell to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to disavow the president of the notion that Republicans would now come with a healthcare policy proposal. It’s not what they do. Being the strong leader that he is, President Trump apparently responded to the Senate leader with, “OK,” and moved on to the next tweet.

Having failed to repeal Obamacare through the legislative process, the Trump administration seeks to destroy it through the courts. The Department of Justice is supporting on appeal a much-criticized Texas federal judge’s ruling that the ACA is unconstitutional and fully null and void.

If the ruling is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, as Trump hopes, gone would be the ability to buy insurance policies on the state exchanges; the extension of Medicaid to cover more people; the prohibition against insurance companies denying coverage (or charging excessive premiums) to folks with existing medical conditions; and the ability to keep children on family plans until age 26. An estimated 21 million people would lose their health insurance.

And, remember, Trump and the Republicans admit they have no replacement plan.

Making health care more affordable, simpler and fairer is a priority for much of the voting public, polls consistently show. A debate is taking place on the Democratic side ranging from modest steps to shore up and build upon the progress made with Obamacare; to giving people 50 and older the option to buy into Medicare; to the sweeping proposal of “Medicare for all,” a system run by the government and funded by taxpayers.

Trump now having joined McConnell in admitting they no ideas of their own, look for Republicans to keep running against Democratic proposals.