From the moment Donald Trump firmly planted his feet back on U.S. soil following a predictably calamitous week abroad, his thumbs have been busy. His Twitter account was in greatest hits mode the last few days: there was a lot of #fakenews talk, some vague G7 statements, a few Fox News links, a lot of exclamation points, some North Korea stuff, a Rasmussen Poll and a generic Memorial Day message. All in all, it was 14 almost entirely propagandistic tweets designed to combat media narratives and sow further doubt into the fifth estate.
It’s nothing new from the POTUS, but one tweet stuck out:
I suggest that we add more dollars to Healthcare and make it the best anywhere. ObamaCare is dead – the Republicans will do much better!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017
From reading this, one would assume Trump’s healthcare plan was something akin to single-payer, or at the very least that it included a significant increase in federal subsidies in an effort stabilize problematic markets, improve competition and increase overall coverage. It does just the opposite. The American Health Care Act (the predictably-titled republican health care bill that passed the house and is supported by the president) is centered around a $600 billion cut in healthcare funding. It guts the coverage gains made under the Affordable Care Act to cut taxes dramatically for the rich.
Trump has made a practice of saying one thing and doing the other on healthcare.
During an interview with the Washington Post in January, Trump said, “We’re going to have insurance for everybody[.]” According to the estimates from the CBO, however, 23 million fewer people will be insured under the American Health Care Act by 2026—and that’s a million more people insured than the original version of the bill. It’s only “insurance for everybody” if you exclude the estimated 51 million Americans that won’t have coverage.
Earlier this month, when the prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull visited the white house, Trump praised Australia’s universal healthcare system saying “I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia because you have better health care than we do.” He’s right, Australia’s federally-funded Medicare system is far superior to ours. It’s more efficient, it covers everyone and it’s significantly cheaper per capita.
Trump continues to say that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and increase coverage: it won’t—it’s not designed to. It’s crafted to lower federal healthcare spending in order to send tax cuts back up to the top of the fiscal food chain. Trump’s language around healthcare has always sounded similar to that of Bernie Sanders, only Sanders supports a single-payer, Medicare-for-all, universal system. So unlike Trump, his rhetoric and policies are aligned.
As has become practice, Trump rejects reality and substitutes his own. He sets forth tweets that seem to derive from alternative universes. His policies, or rather the policies he supports, rarely align with his public addresses, and public addresses often contradict tweets, while tweets are frequently are at odds with interview answers. He seems confused, or, he’s not confused and he’s continuing to brazenly gaslight the country. Either way statements like these, statements that are entirely disconnected from facts and reality are dangerous, they turn an already muddled pond into a pile of sludge.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.