Donald Trump Has a 40-Word Plan to Make Health Care Great Again

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Jordan Weissmann points out that we now have a health care plan from Donald Trump. For starters, Trump has now made clear that he doesn’t like the individual mandate after all—he just misspoke when he said that to Anderson Cooper a few days ago. What’s left are the three mighty pillars of Trump’s plan. First, he’s going to take care of the poor “through maybe concepts of Medicare.” Second, the Trump campaign has previously indicated that it will “provide individual tax relief for health insurance.” Third, after the scourge of Obamacare has finally been eradicated, the rest of us get this:

Amazingly, this is going to produce health care nirvana. “The plans will be much less expensive than Obamacare…you’ll get your doctor, you get everything you want to get, it’ll be unbelievable.”

As Weissmann points out, this is just your bog-standard Republican health care plan with an extra dash of Trumpian crowing. It won’t just work better than Obamacare, it will be unbelievable. In fact, “you get everything you want to get.” How much more can you ask for?

To the extent that it makes any sense to discuss Trump’s policy proposals, there are a couple of takeaways from this:

  • Far from being a populist, Trump is just an ordinary Republican. He sometimes tosses out heterodox ideas in one of his rambling speeches, but they never last. With only a few exceptions, his advisers eventually talk him into adopting Republican orthodoxy in his usual amped-up, dumbed-down way. And the Republican orthodoxy on health care is almost literally a straitjacket: High-risk pools, HSAs, competition across state lines, tort reform, and tax credits for individual insurance. If we assume that “concepts of Medicare” includes high-risk pools, Trump has four of these—and he’s undoubtedly in favor of tort reform too.
  • Trump, like most Republicans, is apparently under the impression that the big problem with American health care is the evil, monopolistic insurance companies. “The insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians,” he said in one of the first debates. Liberals sometimes make this mistake as well, and it’s ridiculous. If I had my druthers, I’d get rid of the insurance companies too, but it wouldn’t do much to reduce the cost of health care. The fundamental cause of high health care costs in America is the high cost of health care itself. Compared to other countries, we pay our doctors more; we pay our nurses more; we pay more for drugs; we pay more for devices; and we pay more for hospitalization. If you don’t tackle that, you’ll never even make a dent.

So that’s that. As usual, Trump is just a standard-issue Republican once the dust has settled, and he has no more idea about how to fix health care than any of the rest of them. He’s just more willing than most to brag about how great his plan will be.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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