Obamacare repeal. Other than illegal immigration and defunding Planned Parenthood, the promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has perhaps been the primary reason voters have supported the Republican Party — support that reached its zenith in 2016 when America gave Trump, McConnell, and Company full control of Washington.
After making and breaking the promise to repeal Obamacare in 2012 and 2014 — McConnell claimed it couldn’t be done with Obama in the White House — Trump and the GOP assured America in 2016 that if we gave them the keys to the kingdom, they’d finally get the job done.
After failing to repeal Obamacare when they controlled Washington, and with Republican prospects in 2018 not looking too good, Trump and the GOP promised to really, really, really repeal Obamacare if voters would ignore their lies to do so in the past and let them keep their majority.
Of course, that effort failed BIGLY. Voters not only ignored their lies, they handed the GOP a humiliating defeat after voting to give Democrats the biggest midterm election victory since Watergate.
Their 2018 midterm defeat should have been an opportunity for a course correction. Instead, Trump and the GOP have decided their lies worked so well in 2016 that they’ll use them again in 2020.
Trump spent the summer of 2019 doubling down on the Obamacare issue by declaring that his Republican Party would “soon be known as the party of healthcare,” and he promised to announce a “phenomenal” new healthcare plan by fall of that year. Of course, he never presented a plan because, most likely, it doesn’t exist.
Still, with the 2020 election approaching faster than a speeding bullet and his chances of victory growing dim, Trump continues to spread the lie that he will repeal Obamacare, a lie he repeated two weeks ago.
In his July 19 interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, Trump announced “[he would be] signing a healthcare plan within two weeks” that would effectively repeal Obamacare. Yesterday was the two week mark, and not only did he fail to sign a plan, he failed to present one.
This past Friday, the New York liberal with an “R” after his name repeated his claim that a plan of some sort was coming soon when he told a reporter “We’re going to be doing a healthcare plan. We’re going to be doing a very inclusive healthcare plan. I’ll be signing it sometime very soon.”
Why does Trump continue to promise an Obamacare repeal when he clearly has no plan to do so?
To begin with, he doesn’t believe in a free market solution to healthcare. Trump believes in the universal healthcare aspect of Obamacare and said so as a candidate when he promised his plan would “take care of everybody.” He doesn’t want to repeal Obamacare, he just wants his name on it.
In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump openly advocated for universal healthcare (emphasis mine):
“I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses. We must not allow citizens with medical problems to go untreated because of financial problems or red tape. It is an unacceptable but accurate fact that the number of uninsured Americans has risen to forty-two million.
“Working out detailed plans will take time. But the goal should be clear: Our people are our greatest asset. We must take care of our own. We must have universal healthcare.”
“Just imagine the improved quality of life for our society as a whole if the issue of access to healthcare were dealt with imaginatively. With more than forty million Americans living day-to-day in the fear that an illness or injury will wipe out their savings or drag them into bankruptcy, how can we truly engage in the ‘pursuit of happiness’ as our Founders intended?”
Another reason he continues to spread the lie about Obamacare repeal is because it’s election season. At least that’s the opinion of Sen. Lindsey Graham, who regularly meets and golfs with Trump. Graham said it is politically astute for the White House to present an alternative to Democratic proposals close to the election. He stated that Trump’s plan would come in the form of an executive order that he called “fairly comprehensive” and would ensure that consumers do not risk losing their health plans if they get sick, but he did not give details.
Of course he didn’t. In order for there to be details, there would have to be an actual plan.
Back in June, the Trump administration filed a legal brief to the Supreme Court arguing Obamacare be entirely struck down as unconstitutional despite the fact that the high court has upheld it twice already. I’m sure it’s just an amazing coincidence of timing, but the case won’t be heard until near the November election and most likely won’t be decided until afterward.
But that’s not really an issue because Trump doesn’t really care one way or the other. It’s all about trying to save his diminishing re-election prospects and those of the GOP. By filing the brief, Republicans can blame the courts for saving Obamacare instead of blaming themselves for failing to repeal it if the Supreme Court upholds it again.
The simple reality is Republicans were never serious about repealing Obamacare and have always been an odds-on favorite in the race for Medicare For All. Additionally, Trump loves socialized medicine and has always intended to impose some form of universal healthcare on America. If there were any doubts about that, they were answered in a recent tweet:
….Obamacare is a joke! Deductible is far too high and the overall cost is ridiculous. My Administration has gone out of its way to manage OC much better than previous, but it is still no good. I will ALWAYS PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS,ALWAYS!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2020
Clearly, Trump and the GOP have repeatedly failed to deliver on their promises. This is why they engage in the politics of distraction, and it’s why they’re recycling — for the fourth election in a row — the promise to repeal Obamacare.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.