Health

Donald Trump Has No Idea What the Republican Health Care Plan Does

A tweet for the ages.

by Susan Rinkunas
May 30 2017, 5:01pm

Bloomberg/Getty Images

After returning from his trip to the Middle East and Europe, President Donald Trump got back to doing what he does best: tweeting statements that have no basis in reality. Take the below, for example.

Each of the three statements in this tweet are incorrect and, together, they underscore that Trump still has no idea what the hell the Republican healthcare bill actually does. The Trump administration's policies would drastically cut healthcare spending, Obamacare is not dead, and Republicans are doing a terrible job replacing a law they complained about for seven years.

To date, Republicans have only done much, much worse than Obamacare. Four days before Trump fired off this tweet, the Congressional Budget Office determined that the American Health Care Act was nowhere near as good as Obamacare: The AHCA would lead to 14 million fewer people with insurance by 2018 and 23 million fewer by 2026 compared to the current law; the result of cutting Medicaid spending by $880 billion as well as older people and people with preexisting conditions being priced out of the market.

The CBO also found that out-of-pocket costs for things like maternity care and mental health services would increase by thousands of dollars a year for people in states that opt out of covering these services as essential health benefits, and such waivers would lead to "unstable" insurance markets starting in 2020. (True, the Senate is now working on its own version of the health bill, but getting anywhere close to Obamacare's coverage will be, in a word, difficult.)

Trump's own 2018 budget proposal would slash healthcare spending, including another $610 billion from Medicaid in addition to the AHCA cuts (the program would be cut by $1.4 trillion) and cut $5.8 billion from the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) between now and 2019. It's believed that Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, really crafted the budget, so it's possible that Trump doesn't know what's in that document either or he's deliberately lying to people.

Finally, Obamacare is not dead. You know what IS harming Obamacare? The Trump administration's choice not to enforce the individual mandate, aka the requirement that every American have insurance even if they're healthy, and its waffling on whether to continue funding cost-sharing subsidies for low-income enrollees. Having fewer healthy people in the insurance market makes coverage more expensive for everyone, and some insurance companies are raising premiums and leaving state markets because of uncertainty tied to the subsidies.

We invite Donald Trump to prove us wrong by not nuking healthcare spending.

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