Trump's 2020 Platform: A Healthcare Plan That Doesn't Exist - Rolling Stone
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Trump’s 2020 Platform: A Magical Healthcare Plan That Doesn’t Exist

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President Donald Trump speaks at the 2019 Prison Reform Summit and First Step Act Celebration in the East Room of the White House in WashingtonTrump, Washington, USA - 01 Apr 2019

President Trump

Susan Walsh/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Days before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump promised that he was preparing to pass a big tax cut for the middle class. Republican lawmakers were “studying very deeply, round the clock” to work out the details of the package, he said, and a vote would be imminent. No one seemed to know what Trump was talking about, and no such tax cut was ever passed. Maybe next time!

Trump now appears to be working up a similar ploy in regard to healthcare.

Last week, the Justice Department came out in support of litigation brought by the attorneys general of several Republican-controlled states that would effectively strike down the Affordable Care Act. Trump was delighted, tweeting in response that the “Republican Party will become the Party of Great HealthCare!” while bashing the ACA, also known as Obamacare. He soon began touting a new Republican healthcare plan that was allegedly being developed.

But on Tuesday, the New York Times reported that no such effort was underway, nor would it be until after the 2020 election. “I pointed out to him the Senate Republicans’ view on dealing with comprehensive healthcare reform with a Democratic House of Representatives,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Times of his conversations with Trump, adding that he “made it clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate.”

Nevertheless, Trump continued to promise that a Republican plan is in the works while speaking at a National Republican Congressional Committee fundraiser Tuesday night. “We’re going to come up with a healthcare plan. We’re not going to vote on it until after the election. We’ll all promise it’s going to be our first vote. We blew it last time. Some of you… I’m still a little bit angry, but not all of you. It wasn’t even your fault. We should have done it when we had the position. We’re going to get it back, and it’s going to be a better plan. We’re going to give a great healthcare plan, and we’re going to campaign on that plan. It’s going to be much less expensive than Obamacare and much more usable in terms of deductibles.”

The next morning, Trump bashed the Times’ reporting while reiterating that healthcare “will be a great campaign issue” and that “Republicans will always support pre-existing conditions.” (The Trump administration has specifically sought to strip protections for pre-existing conditions.)

The Times stood by its story. One of its authors, Maggie Haberman, tweeted that it was based on direct quotes from McConnell. The paper’s communications department pointed out that the administration’s recently unveiled 2020 budget includes a healthcare proposal. “We stand by our reporting,” the Times wrote.

In the nine years since the ACA became law, Republicans have yet to come up with a suitable replacement. The Trump administration tried to push one through in the fall of 2017, but it was so poorly constructed that it couldn’t even pass muster in the Republican-controlled Senate, with John McCain casting the deciding vote against it. Trump has attacked McCain relentlessly ever since, even following the late senator’s death last August. “We had a very, very unfortunate vote by somebody,” Trump said on Tuesday, referring to McCain. “We were close. We were so close. One vote away. One vote away. But it didn’t work. But this is going to be something, I think, that has even more potential. It’s going to be a better plan. I already know what they’re doing with it.”

He went on to say that Republicans will campaign on the nonexistent plan. When he was asked earlier on Tuesday when its will be made available to the public, Trump said it will be revealed “at an appropriate time.”

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