Dear President Trump,
A couple of questions for you, about the health care stuff. And, on the pretty good chance that you won’t reply to me directly or personally, I would like to issue a request/invitation for Trump supporters to help you out and offer some answers on your behalf.
It’s about your current thinking on a health care plan, and especially about how you reconcile your current position (I can’t say I’m too sure what it is) with various statements and promises you made during the campaign. For example:
As a candidate, you said that your health care plan would cover “everyone.” You said this several times and several ways. For example in this interview you said:
We’re going to have insurance for everybody. … There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.
In this “60 Minutes” interview, when asked how you would fix the health care system, you reiterated that everyone would be covered by health insurance and added “the government’s gonna pay for it.” Thus:
Trump: Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private. But —
Interviewer Scott Pelley: Universal health care?
Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.
Pelley: The uninsured person is going to be taken care of. How? How?
Trump: They’re going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably —
Pelley: Make a deal? Who pays for it?
Trump: —the government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.
You also pledged by tweet that you would not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
Here’s the tweet, which said:
I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.
You’ve been president for almost six months now. The United States was and remains home to the largest uninsured population of any major developed nation. If you stand by your plan to put forth a plan that would cover everyone, when will it be unveiled?
Also, since your stated intention was a plan that covers everyone, how are we to understand your support for first the House health care plan, and now the Senate plan?
As you may have learned, the House health care/tax cut bill, which passed on a party-line vote, cut taxes by $765 billion over 10 years, with 40 percent of those tax cuts benefiting the richest 1 percent of Americans, and paid for the tax cuts by making changes to health care that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (headed by a Republican appointee) said would result in 23 million fewer Americans being covered by health insurance.
At first you hailed the bill’s passage, which seems hard to square with your pledge to support a health care plan that would reduce the uninsured population to zero.
It’s true that you later denounced the bill as too “mean.” So the Senate Republican leadership, presumably trying to tone down the meanness, produced a bill that the CBO said would result in just 22 million fewer Americans being insured after 10 years.
I would say that the difference between the 22 million in the Senate bill and the 23 million is not much more than rounding error, considering the variables in play. And by supporting the Senate bill, you would certainly be breaking your promise of a plan that would cover everyone.
The CBO also estimated that spending on Medicaid – the chief federal health care program for the poor and near-poor – would be 35 percent lower in 2036 under the supposedly more moderate Senate version of the bill than it would be if Obamacare and all other current laws were just left in place. Can you, or someone who would be willing to speak for you, square that with your promise not to cut Medicaid?
Mr. President, or anyone who feels able to speak for you about such matters, can you explain how an additional 22 or 23 million Americans living without health insurance can be reconciled with the commitment you made when seeking support for your candidacy of proposing a plan that would cover “everyone?” Likewise, would you or your designee please explain how a 35 percent cut in Medicaid over the next 20 years can be squared with your campaign pledge not to cut Medicaid at all?
I hope you, or someone who believes in you as a truth-teller and promise-keeper, can please explain that soon. I look forward to hearing from you on these important matters.