I know healthcare is Mayhew’s bailiwick, but it’s incumbent upon us to point and laugh at the Trump administration’s effort to put together a 20,000-page term paper the night before it’s due. Prior to becoming the first person on the planet to discover that healthcare is “so complicated,” Trump made some pretty big promises about how he would change coverage in the US:
“I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us. It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”
Three years later, Trump’s flunkies are desperately seeking small-bore policy-tweak “wins” as the freight train of the upcoming election bears down on the administration. The Post:
White House advisers, scrambling to create a health-care agenda for President Trump to promote on the campaign trail, are meeting at least daily with the aim of rolling out a measure every two to three weeks until the 2020 election…
One senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the White House believes it has “tremendous authority” to write executive orders under food, drug and cosmetic laws, as well as through the ACA, which gives the government broad power to test ways to improve health care and reduce costs in government programs.
“We think the [ACA] authority is pretty tremendous,” the [Trump admin] official said. The administration is currently arguing in federal court to overturn the law, however, with a decision expected late summer or fall.
But many health policy and legal experts disagree and are also skeptical the steps the administration is talking about would have a tangible effect on consumers before the election.
“It’s unlikely the administration is going to be able to use an executive order that Americans are going to be able to notice before the election,” said Benedic Ippolito, a health economist at the American Enterprise Institute. “It’s an incredibly ambitious timeline.”
What could possibly go wrong, aside from wingnut judges nullifying coverage for tens of millions by overturning the ACA on the Trump admin’s advice, thus also deep-sixing the executive order experiments, or the spectacle of top GOP pharma donors suing the Trump admin in court in the run-up to the election?
Other participants in the sometimes contentious daily meetings include Azar, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and representatives from the vice president’s office.
I get that a lot of folks are nervous about some of our candidates’ ideas on healthcare. I share your anxiety, mostly because the media goes all budget-ninja on Democrats when healthcare (or any other topic, really) comes up and doesn’t even bother pointing out the absurdity of Trump’s stream-of-semi-consciousness lies on the subject. But Judd Legum* on Twitter made a good point here:
Last night’s debate revealed the real bias in the media which is the assumption that the status quo is “moderate” and anyone that proposes structural changes is “radical”
In my view, letting people die because they can’t afford insulin is more extreme than proposing a new policy.
Truth. As for Senator Warren locking herself into Medicare for All and the abolition of private insurance, did anyone happen to see the wee hours of the post-debate coverage? I did, God help me. Warren joined the CNN panel, and they pressed her on that issue, particularly on how Medicare for All would affect unions that negotiated Cadillac coverage as part of their compensation.
I don’t remember Warren’s exact words and cannot find a video of the exchange on YouTube, but she mentioned having unions at the table when negotiating the healthcare transition. She talked about leadership and gaining consensus, and she sounded a good bit more flexible on the topic than the post-debate pundit pearl-clutching suggests.
Let’s also recall that the 2008 candidates evolved quite a bit on healthcare by the time the rubber met the road in DC. IIRC, then-candidate Obama scoffed at the idea of an individual mandate on the campaign trail. But since they seriously intend to govern, Democrats have to be willing to compromise and take new factors into account as appropriate.
Given the clown show we’ll be up against, I like our chances on every hot-button issue, including healthcare. As Buttigieg rightly pointed out, the Trumpublican retort will be “socialism!!!” no matter what, so you might as well fight for what you believe is the best plan.
*H/T: Valued commenter germy