Last week, the Trump administration filed a legal brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, be entirely struck down as unconstitutional despite the fact that the high court has upheld it twice already.
In what I’m sure is just an amazing coincidence of timing, 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 a factor because Trump doesn’t really care one way or the other. It’s all about trying to save his diminishing reelection 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.
We got a taste of this kind of thing during the 2018 midterms when Republicans tried and failed to keep their majority in Congress. That’s when Trump and the GOP promised to really, really, really repeal Obamacare if voters would simply forget about the lies to repeal it in 2012, 2014, and 2016 and vote Republican.
With the 2018 failure behind him and impeachment on the horizon, 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, no such plan was ever presented.
Yesterday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Trump won’t release a plan until after the Supreme Court rules in the upcoming case. And since the case won’t be decided until after the election, Trump succeeds in hiding the fact that either he doesn’t have a plan or the plan he has is just like Obamacare, only with his name on it.
I’m tempted to believe he’s so clueless that he never had a plan. But based on his own words, the latter is equally believable.
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?”
When given full control of Washington in 2016, Trump and the GOP immediately went to work turning Obamacare repeal and replace into retreat and repair, giving the RINO acrostic a whole new meaning: Repeal In Name Only. Their only “success” in the healthcare battle was Ryancare/Trumpcare, which was really Obamacare 2.0.
Republicans never wanted to fully repeal Obamacare, and their promise to do so has only been a lie designed to win elections. The simple reality is that the GOP has always been an odds-on favorite in the race for Medicare For All. Trump just gave them a way to get it done.
Trump loves socialized medicine and has always intended to impose some form of universal healthcare on America. Any doubts concerning his commitment to this end were recently confirmed, again, in his own words:
….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
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.