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Health insurance: How does Trump reconcile his promises to cover ‘everyone’ with the GOP bills that cut millions?

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Donald Trump: "We’re going to have insurance for everybody."

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.

Comments (32)

  1. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 07/10/2017 - 09:19 am.

    Um …

    He doesn’t reconcile anything. Why anyone expects the truth from Trump after watching his tired act for several months is beyond me. “Pathological liar” doesn’t even begin to capture how amoral this guy is. It’s not just the original lie; it’s ignoring or denying or twisting what came out of his mouth before.

    • Submitted by Erik Granse on 07/10/2017 - 09:49 am.

      You pretty much summed up my response. There’s not really any point in calling out hypocrisy with Trump; he quite literally says whatever comes into his mind that he thinks will play best at that moment in time.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 07/11/2017 - 07:44 am.

        I agree as well, but

        Trump’s lies no longer concern me. What bothers me is all the people who still believe in him.

  2. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/10/2017 - 09:31 am.

    What Will Happen?

    By now, any observer of the Trump administration can predict what will happen:

    1. He will deny ever having said such a thing.

    2. News stories that point out the flaws in the Republican plan are fake news.

    3. One of his flacks will appear on the news shows to make loud deflection statements about the media and Democrats.

    “Formulaic” doesn’t begin to describe it.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 07/10/2017 - 11:47 am.

      And, then, if the bill passes and he signs it, he’ll toss Congress under the bus when all the bad stuff starts to happen.

  3. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 07/10/2017 - 09:33 am.

    Dumb premise

    The whole premise here is that you are dealing with a man of integrity: that he means what he says and honors his own past statements. False.

    It seems obvious that Trump would say anything to get elected. From the secret plan to destroy ISIS to health care for all, this stuff popped out of his mouth with no forethought and then after it was out he gave it the attention due any spontaneous babble, none at all.

    And now that he is elected his new game is to sign anything for the sake of saying he signed something. It is equally obvious now that he has no idea what will be in any bill he signs because he doesn’t read them, he doesn’t study the issues or try to reconcile current events with past statements.

    He may be suffering from an onset of dementia but for sure he has a congenital lack of integrity and to talk to him or about him like he grasps any issue beyond his gold score or his bank accounts is a waste of time. His head is as empty as his promises.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/10/2017 - 10:18 am.

    When Trump “promises” something…

    When Trump promises something… anything… his lips move. And you always know when Trump is lying because his lips are moving. His lips were moving when made his promises about health care ergo… It’s really that simple.

    Likewise, Ryan and McConnell have made many promises about health care, before they realized how complicated the whole thing is.

    I think it’s really important to understand that this isn’t ALL about Trump and HIS dishonesty and duplicity. Republicans have been attacking the ACA since it was passed, and any other rational attempt to recognize the health care crises for decades. If I remember correctly it was actually Ryan who convinced Trump to put ACA repeal and replace on the tippy top of the list, and Republicans have ALWAYS made all kinds of bizarre and grandiose promises regarding the magic of free markets, tax and budget cuts, and small guvment. Our problem is that there simply are not adults in the room, period.

  5. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/10/2017 - 10:24 am.

    You seem to have the misapprehension that Trump really cares about these issues.

    His words are simply the “word cloud” thrown out by a salesman to make the sale. It’s how he has always operated–a blizzard of words and statements that, within them, contain words and phrases that can close the sale and take the mark, and afterwards, they melt away leaving nothing you can hold on to. Why do you think he has been sued thousands of times over the years ?

    As your mother should have said to you:

    “Get it in writing”

    Because Trump operate on the principle:

    “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for for free?”

    But my new favorite is:

    “Eggs have no business dancing with stones.”

  6. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/10/2017 - 10:36 am.

    Please explain….

    Once again Mr. Black is “spinning” the #’s. Are the following statements true?

    1. Under the GOP house plan there are “huge” increases in spending for Medicaid.

    2. Individuals will have a choice if they want health insurance with no penalty in the GOP House plan rather that the insurance mandated and penalty in the current plan.

    3. Have the DFL Senators from MN offered a revised plan to improve the failed and imploding Obamacare plan?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/10/2017 - 11:45 am.

      Spinning Around

      1. No. If spending is not going to increase to meet the anticipated increase in demand, it amounts to a cut.

      2. As a practical matter, no.

      3. You are asking this question based on a flawed premise. Obamacare has not failed. In any event, given the mule-headed intransigence of the Republicans, why bother? Since they are in the majority (and since Senator McConnell is using bipartisanship as a threat), there seems to be little point.

      Now, back to the original question: How does Trump plan to address the fact that the Republican plan is not going to cover everyone, at a lower cost? Do you have any thoughts on that, Mr. Gotzman?

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/10/2017 - 12:30 pm.

      A Ruse By Any Other Name Would Still Smell Like…

      Mr. Goitzman, if inflation (and your household expenses) ran at 5% year after year, and your employer continually gave you 2% raises in your compensation, would you keep telling yourself that you’re getting a “raise”?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/10/2017 - 01:44 pm.



      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/10/2017 - 03:08 pm.

        “a moderate deficit hawk’s math”

        Typical DFL talk and math. Somehow you ought to be bored with the same old ideas and arguments.

        The Dems intentionally expand (“in a HUGE way”) a program that is already a budgetary mess and unsustainable, and when the GOP attempt to reform the program and decrease the rate of spending increases and growth – it is called a “cut.”

        These” moderate deficit hawk type”s are just like the old typical DFL types – tax and spend – overpromise – never reform – always expand government. I guess if you have no ideas – fall back on the old political playbook – spend other peoples money and then start spending our children and grandchildren’s money.

        And most or all – turn the 47% into the 55%.

        • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/10/2017 - 03:59 pm.

          Yeah, take that DFL !!!It is

          Yeah, take that DFL !!!

          It is absolutely impossible for a modern wealthy country to provide healthcare for all at a price that is at least a 1/3 less than what we pay for our hodgepodge of partial coverage.

          Amirite?? Amirite ??

          Thought so.

          • Submitted by Howard Miller on 07/11/2017 - 11:42 am.

            lo contrere

            Not according to the (2014) data reported in this article, where France was paying roughly 1/2 of US prices for universal coverage. Other major western nations experience similar results – we, in the US, are the absurd outlier on per-person health care costs, and there’s no excuse for keeping such a system.


            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/12/2017 - 01:24 pm.

              To Be Completely Fair . . .

              . . . and accurate, let us remember that, sure, we pay more for our health care, but we are also realizing outcomes that are no better than mediocre.

          • Submitted by Howard Miller on 07/11/2017 - 12:24 pm.

            yet France does it today

            and at roughly 1/2 the per person cost we spend in the US (about$4500 France v $9000 in the US). Are the French that much more clever than Americans?

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/11/2017 - 09:36 am.

          DFL Math vs. ?

          How’s that GOP tax cut math working out in Kansas?

  7. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 07/10/2017 - 11:36 am.

    It would be more useful if

    White House correspondents were able to ask him directly this question and report his actual answer, if he provides one, or more likely his actual non-answer, which is likely to involve fake anger.

  8. Submitted by Howard Miller on 07/10/2017 - 11:50 am.

    does Mr. Trump reconcile his promises with reality ever?

    Seems to me Trump makes wild statements, wild promises, and there is never an occasion when he is held to answering for those promises that don’t materialize; as he continues his “dance a little side-step” like the slimy governor did in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” ….. perhaps if reporters quit reporting his other words until he explains how he’s breaking his promise to American voters about health care, the lack of attention would drive him closer toward honesty. Of course, I also expect pigs to fly some day 😉 We need to be vigorous pressing Trump on Russian connections, and on breaking a huge health care promise. Already as wobbly as a drunk, the remaining shreds of integrity of his presidency are at stake.

  9. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 07/10/2017 - 12:50 pm.

    Trump and his deceit

    Interesting that despite the constant barrage of deceit from trump that his followers still support him…80%+ of repubs…but that’s about it…no Dems and few Independents.
    I believe many believed him that he’d help them with healthcare but it seems they are so gullible and naive that even when he helps make it worse, they’re going to stick up to him.

    Most recent lie….when he met with Putin, he said that Putin claimed they did not hack our election and that he believed him…but…when he got back he said he told Putin that we know he did hack our election to to stop it.
    There seems to be no truth capability with this grifter and it is so sad how gullible and naive his followers are. There doesn’t seem to be anything that he does that offends them, even that grabbing her by the pu**y comment.
    There is something really sick and disgusting with todays trumpers and repubs.

  10. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/10/2017 - 01:02 pm.

    Will the GOP Implode?

    Will the GOP implode because of its inability to pass healthcare reform? The GOP is hung up and totally stopped by a single word they have focused on for nearly 8 years in their attempt to derail the ACA. The word REPEAL has brought the entire party to a grinding halt. If it’s not healthcare that causes the GOP to implode, will the debit ceiling limit, tax reform, or spending bills do them in? Some in the GOP now refuse to hold town hall meetings claiming that those who are upset are just democrats at their meetings causing the ruckus. If they took the time to find out that many of those who are upset are their own GOP constituents. They are supposed to represent all their constituents now, not just the few they want to represent. Paul Ryan got the GOP version of healthcare passed in the House, which was characterized by the President as MEAN. McConnell has tried his barebones, backroom style of leading the healthcare fix and he is going to fail per GOP senators. In theory, the Republicans don’t need a single democrat vote to get the GOP’s work done. The GOP has absolutely mastered the obstruction process. They fail miserably at governing. It takes a mind reader to figure out what Trump is for or against as he has been for or against all the issues at the same time. Trump is grossly out of touch with everyone in the world except the 30% of Republicans that support him. The Republicans, once again are going run our country into the ditch. It brings back memories of the last Republican, George W. Bush, who also ran the country into the ditch. The GOP is proving that it’s impossible to govern without leadership.

  11. Submitted by Tom Dietsche on 07/10/2017 - 01:39 pm.

    best solution

    The best way to deal with narcissistic liars is to ignore them. If you could stop writing about Trump, I can stop reading any stories about him or his “promises”. He will hate that worse than anything. Imagine if CNN and MSNBC quit covering him, declaring that nothing he says can be trusted. Wow.

  12. Submitted by John Edwards on 07/10/2017 - 03:54 pm.

    Thomas, speaking of narcisstic liars . . .

    ObamaCare, which is the cause of the current debate, was based on what even the left-wing Washington Post once called the Lie of the Year—so why the big concern over what Trump says?

    And of the speaking of narcissistic liars that Thomas just alluded to: a Jan. 19 column by the Post’s fact checker Glen Kessler makes Trump look like a piker in presidential perfidy. All these Obama lies got Four Pinocchios:

    •“If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it;”
    •“90 percent of the budget deficit is due to George W. Bush’s policies;”
    • ‘“More young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America”;
    •“The Capitol Hill janitors just got a pay cut;”
    •”“The day after Benghazi happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism;”
    • “I didn’t call the Islamic State a ‘JV’ team;”
    • “Republicans have filibustered 500 pieces of legislation;”
    • “The Keystone pipeline is for oil that bypasses the United States.”

    I am still searching for Eric’s columns in which he similarly scrutinized the infamous ObamaCare legislation that caused our current mess.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/10/2017 - 04:47 pm.

      A Piker?

      By your count, that’s eight for Obama.

      I know Trump is not as rich as he wants the rubes to think he is, but he is no “piker” in the lying department. The left-wing Washington Post gave him 16 Four-Pinocchio ratings in his first 100 days (after getting 59 during his campaign). In those 100 days, he made nearly 500 false or misleading statements, and went only 10 days without making any.

      You will just have to face the fact that the president you elected because he is a ill-spoken boor is also a first-class liar. The fact that he is a cheat and a crook has been well-known for years, but he is now lying on the world stage as the president of the United States.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 07/10/2017 - 07:00 pm.

      Excellent of what Trump will say

      He will blame Obama, change the subject and go on and on with line after line of complete horse manure. Again, nicely done

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/12/2017 - 09:00 am.


      Anyone who responds to the dishonesty or failings of one person by pointing to those of another, real or imagined, is telling us they have no intellectual integrity. Obama’s dishonesty or narcissism, real or imagined, cannot explain or justify anyone else’s dishonesty. Even if Trump were less dishonest than Obama, he is still dishonest, and anyone claiming to be our beacon of morality and values would be the first ones to condemn Trump, not point to someone else. This is basic basic basic moral and intellectual integrity. Trump is our president, not Obama, if your telling us that Trumps dishonest is irrelevant to you for whatever reason, fine, don’t expect us to take your ethical reasoning seriously.

  13. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 07/10/2017 - 05:11 pm.

    Our danger is that Trump

    Our danger is that Trump simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    This country has never had a president so utterly unqualified and unsuited to hold that office.

    His supporters, of course, are in denial.

  14. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/10/2017 - 11:19 pm.

    When facts and logic

    …won’t support your argument, call people names.

    “…a piker in presidential perfidy…” is a wonderful phrase, though I think Mr. Edwards is applying it to the wrong president. Mr. Trump has far exceeded the number of Pinocchio-inducing statements provided by Mr. Edwards, and in only a few months—possibly in only a few days, or even hours. When I think of “narcissistic liars” (a phrase that hasn’t occurred to me with any president since Richard Nixon), I think, first of all, of our current occupant of the Oval Office.

    Mr. Gotzman has demonstrated that he knows not whereof he speaks, though I look forward to an explanation of how reducing spending is somehow not a cut in spending. After that, he can explain to us how 22 million (or 23 million, depending on the version) Americans who now have at least some minimal access to health care can be denied it under the Republican plan(s) and have that denial labeled as a “reform.” It does make for a more efficient transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the upper class, not to mention shorter lifespans for all but the very wealthy, but in no logical way does it constitute “covering everybody,” as the current occupant of the Oval Office insisted would be the case. And, of course, the goal of health insurance ought to be a healthier population, not an even wealthier plutocratic class.

    I’ll admit that I’ve seen no equivalent piece from Eric detailing his critique of the Affordable Care Act. Maybe there isn’t such an article. As far as I can tell, however, a primary goal of the Affordable Care act was to increase the number of people who had health insurance, and thus (it was hoped) access to health care services. Fiscally, the Affordable Care Act, even with its several significant problems, made (and makes) much more economic sense than do either of the Republican plans so far being offered. If it’s fiscal prudence our more conservative readers are after, they won’t find it in the Republican plans.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/12/2017 - 09:36 pm.

    The ACA has been thoroughly critiqued.

    We’ve been arguing and critiquing the ACA for years. Progressives have been criticizing the ACA as an inadequate neoliberal response to the health care crises that cannot provide universal coverage or control costs… and those observations have been thoroughly verified by the fact that Obamacare has NOT provided universal coverage or controlled costs. At the time Progressives wanted Obamacare to include at least the public option, which Blue Dog Democrats killed as their first order of business.

    The Critique all along is that Democrats should have if not at the time, at least now, pushed for an expansion of Medicare and Medicaid that would effectively cover everyone, i.e. Medicare for All, which would effectively establish a single payer system. This was the central tenet of Bernie Sanders platform, and 58% of Americans support it. Bernie Sanders is not some obscure political figure, and Hillary Clinton’s failure to provide any kind of health care initiative played a significant role in her defeat. Let’s not try to pretend that NO ONE is or has critiqued the ACA from a liberal perspective.

  16. Submitted by Howard Schneider on 07/12/2017 - 06:24 pm.

    Non-response from Lewis

    I wrote CD 2 Rep. Jason Lewis twice with specific questions about the House bill for which he voted. These letters were also published in the south metro weekly, SunThisweek. I called his office once and visited another time and again noted that I hoped for real answers, not talking points. Three simple questions- why a good idea to:
    – make older Americans shy of Medicare age pay five time as much as younger persons
    – encourage high risk pools which have scant evidence for fully meeting needs of Americans with serious illnesses, though high costs, caps, and waiting lists are common
    – vote for a bill without CBO or other scoring and no hearing or expert testimony.

    Rep. Lewis has provided zip, nada, bupkes.

    So, Mr. Black, I’d say that you’re right to expect zip, nada, bupkes.* I know you won’t be disappointed because your expectations were low.


    *Yiddish word for nothing.

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