AP NEWS

Obamacare or Trumpdoesn’tcare? Decisions, decisions

July 30, 2017

“Somebody’s gonna hurt someone before the night is through. Somebody’s gonna come undone; there’s nothin’ we can do.”

Yep, those lyrics by the Eagles pretty well sum up how most Americans feel about the GOP efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Finally, last Tuesday, the senate voted to begin debate on. . .well, on something. Prior to that vote, here is how one source described the developing scenario: “[Senator Rand] Paul, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), said they won’t support the Better Care Reconciliation Act because it preserves too much of Obamacare. For moderates, voting for the Better Care Reconciliation Act, but not the repeal bill, may be a way of blaming conservatives. [Senators] Collins, Murkowski, and Capito have said they will oppose the repeal-only bill. And Collins, Paul, Lee, and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) have all said they will oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act.”

Okay, you got that? From the sound of things, folks would never guess that these politicians are playing games with human lives, would they? Sounds more like play-by-play coverage of a chess tournament on ESPN.

Of course we can always rely on the President of the United States to clarify the situation for us, right? Surely he can explain what exactly the senate is voting on, since one would assume that the President understands the various healthcare bills being considered for debate. I mean, if the President really cares about we the people he can surely explain the attributes and deficiencies of repeal alone, skinny repeal, gluten-free repeal, etc.

It’s perfectly understandable that before he can explain the healthcare replacement options on the table President Trump would first lay out in detail to the public what exactly is wrong with the current Affordable Care Act.

So Trump said during a recent White House speech, “For the last 17 years Obamacare has wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent, hard working Americans.” Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold it right there. Off to a bad start explaining Obamacare, Mr. President— Obama’s healthcare bill was passed seven, not seventeen, years ago.

While running for President, Trump said that he would replace Obamacare with “something terrific.” Unfortunately, that’s about as close to a detailed explanation of the plan as we would ever get from Trump.

In a July 19 meeting, Trump said this in regard to the original senate bill: “And this is a great plan; this isn’t just a good plan. This is far better than Obamacare, and more generous than Obamacare.”

The plan is “great,” it’s “far better,” it’s “more generous,” but, I don’t know, your explanation still seems to be lacking something, like maybe a fact or two.

So at this point in the healthcare repeal and replace evolution, a lot of people are probably getting a bit skeptical about whether President Trump has any idea what is in Obamacare let alone the Republican health plans. Some may even question if he understands how health insurance works at all.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, President Trump did provide a glimpse of how well he understands the topic of health insurance. He said, “Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, ‘I want my insurance.’ It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.”

Or how about this explanation of health insurance he gave back in May: “Insurance is, you’re 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance.”

First he says that you can get health insurance for $15 a month. Later he says you can get coverage for $12 a year. Wow! At that rate, health insurance should be free by September.

Trump is understandably perturbed that no Democrats will back the Senate Republican healthcare bill. He explains their lack of support this way: “They say death, death, death. Well, Obamacare is death. That’s the one that’s death.”

Ooookay. Trump feels that Obamacare has something to do with death. Again, if the President really cared about you and me, wouldn’t you think that he would at least make an effort to find out what exactly Obamacare is? Then study the details of the Senate plans to replace it?

President Trump has stated that he will sign into law whatever healthcare bill the Republicans dump on his desk. And we can safely assume that he will not have any idea what the bill contains, other than it is “something terrific.”

And why will he do this? Certainly not because he cares about the people who will be effected by the bill. He will sign it because he and the party badly need a win.

Remember, Trump said during his campaign, “We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning.”

Bored? Yes. Winning? Not so much.

Mike Murphy of Pocatello is an award-winning columnist whose articles are syndicated by Senior Wire. He recently published a book titled “Tortoise Crossing – Expect Long Delays,” which is a collection of 100 of his favorite columns. It is available on Amazon.com.