The 101st day of Donald Trump’s presidency sounded an awful lot like the first, with Trump talking utter nonsense about health care.
In a series of tweets and during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Trump made the same basic promise he’s been making ever since he started running for president ― that his plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act would reduce both premiums and deductibles, while protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
This is not an accurate description of the American Health Care Act, the repeal bill House Republicans have been trying to pass since March.
That bill would definitely help some people ― in particular, younger, healthier and wealthier people who buy insurance on their own today and end up paying high prices because they get little or no financial assistance from the Affordable Care Act.
But the proposal would cause real hardship for many millions of Americans ― whether by raising their premiums or deductibles or both, or depriving them of coverage altogether. And it’d be the poor and the sick struggling the most, even as the wealthiest Americans walked away with a sizable tax break.
Whether Trump understands all of this is an open question. During the “Face the Nation” interview, host John Dickerson kept pressing Trump to explain how the health care law could do all of these things ― and Trump, in response, kept modifying his answers.
But Trump isn’t the only prominent Republican making false promises about what the party’s proposal would do. Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have made similar comments in the past few days ― Pence during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Ryan during his weekly press conference.
The timing is not coincidental. Pence and Ryan are working hard with their allies to round up votes for the AHCA in the House. Right now the challenge is winning over less conservative Republicans who are anxious about what the AHCA would mean for health insurance coverage ― and how that would play in their districts.
The promise to provide health insurance that is simultaneously less expensive and more comprehensive, all without excluding people who have serious medical problems, is designed to reassure these lawmakers.
But the promises belie what the Republican proposal would actually do.
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