Clearly, Donald Trump is confused about his own health care strategy — and that's leaving everyone else confused too.
“Very confused” perfectly summarizes how most people who are following the Republicans’ efforts to repeal Obamacare are feeling.
At the start of the week, Trump tweeted, “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” The very next day, Trump then stated, “As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell likewise changed course within hours, after failing to obtain enough votes from within his own party to pass the Senate’s version of repeal and replace legislation, and announced he would try to force a vote on a repeal only measure.
On Wednesday, Trump held a luncheon at the White House for GOP senators to pressure them to pass legislation before they leave for August recess. During the luncheon, Trump contradicted McConnell, and himself, directing senators to repeal and replace simultaneously.
When asked to comment on Trump’s televised remarks at the luncheon, MSNBC reporter Kasie Hunt appeared gobsmacked:
HUNT: Craig, I have to tell you, after listening to that, I’m very confused. I really don’t know what else to tell you.
This has been a very long, drawn-out process. The White House has been back and forth and back and forth. And oh, a couple, a few hours ago, it was repeal without replace. That was the plan. Now it’s back to being repeal and replace, don’t repeal without replacing. But, frankly, both of those paths have been shown to be untenable. […]
Quite frankly, I do not see how the fundamentals of this have changed simply because the president says they have.
Republicans have been campaigning for years on repealing Obamacare — a position that is increasingly unpopular. More than half the country supports Obamacare, and an even larger majority opposes the Republican plan to repeal it.
But Trump and his fellow Republicans do not actually care about crafting good policy; they simply want to stick it to the Democrats and President Barack Obama, by undoing his legacy. That millions would be left without health care is clearly not a concern to them, even though it’s a major concern for the country.
For people who do care about the human lives affected by health care policy, Trump’s transactional approach can appear very confusing indeed.