It was only a few months ago that then candidate Donald Trump traveled across the country and promised crowds of adoring fans that one of his first acts as President would be to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act – even though many of his own supporters in rural America were beneficiaries of the ACA. Polls show that most Trump voters who supported repeal at the time did not know that the ACA and Obamacare were the same thing. Apparently, many of these people also were under the impression that the insurance coverage they received through their State system was somehow different from the ACA, which of course is not the case. This ignorance of facts created a situation where masses of Trump supporters were naively backing Trump’s plan to end their own health insurance coverage. This is a prime example of the classic Trump/Republican deception which I often reference as being the biggest enemy of the working class in this country.
But not everyone fell for the deception. During the campaign voters and reporters alike repeatedly asked Trump to specifically articulate what he would replace the ACA with – to which Trump would always ambiguously answer, “we’re going to give you something better, you’ll love it, it’s gonna be great”. At the time, many of us criticized Trump for not thoroughly thinking through his health care policy and challenged his supporters to demand more facts and details from their candidate. Unfortunately, facts were never provided and now we are witnessing the fallout of what happens when you don’t know the policy facts of the candidate you support.
Regardless of the excuses being propagated by Republicans and the Trump administration for their inability to repeal Obamacare, the truth is clear and simple to understand. The fact is that Republicans and Trump have been lying to the American people for years attempting to, yet again, convince working class people that progressive policy is somehow bad for them, and that providing people affordable health coverage was somehow evil, anti-democratic and against their best interest. We now know that none of that was true and in fact the same people who were bashing Obamacare for all these years were actually the same people who were signing up for coverage. Over the past seven years’ conservatives have been railing against Obamacare, all the while their constituents were enrolling in the ACA in large numbers. This, of course, is the height of hypocrisy.
This political charade was able continue as long as the Republicans and Trump were out of power with no responsibility. This changed after the election of 2016 when Trump won the Presidency and Republicans took control of the House and Senate. It was at this point that they knew they had a problem. After years of demonizing Obamacare for their own political purposes, they now had to face the fact that many of their own supports did not want their insurance taken away. This was made evident during Congressional Town Hall meetings where Republican voters were showing up asking what the replacement bill to Obamacare would look like. Because Trump never actually had a replacement plan (just lots of talk), he had to depend on Republicans in the House to craft a plan for him.
This is what caused the problem. Trump knew many of his supporters needed insurance coverage, but the Republicans in the House were only focused on gutting coverage which was made clear by the fact that the CBO estimated that 24 million people would lose their coverage as a result of the House replacement bill. On top of that, many moderate Republicans did not want to take insurance coverage away from people in their districts by ending Obamacare. In the end, these factors led to the creation of a bad bill which Donald Trump was willing to support just for political purposes, but what he didn’t expect is that Republicans would say, “hell no”!
All of this could have been avoided if only Donald Trump would have understood how to develop policy. A traditional candidate would have had a replacement plan in place during the campaign and everyone would have understood the details of that policy. Trump instead decided to use talking points and bumper sticker slogans to explain his plan and he did this because, in reality, he has no idea what he is doing. This notion of Trump somehow being a master negotiator and a great deal maker is absolute fantasy which exists only in the heads of his radical supporters who refuse to consider facts and reality. Sadly, the only way many of these people will ever admit they were taking advantage of, lied to, and deceived is when failures like these continue to take place and when they start feeling the pain of the Trump agenda.