After failing to pass the cack-handed health care bill he didn't write (or bother reading), Donald Trump is still not done with Obamacare. In a new attempt to dismantle his predecessors signature piece of legislation responsible for insuring tens of millions of Americans, Trump is using his famed negotiating tactics to bully Democrats with the unthinkable: cutting off government payments to reduce insurance subsidies for the poor. Reports the Wall St Journal:
In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump said the White House may lack authority to make the payments established under his predecessor to reduce copayments and deductibles for some of the poorest customers who buy insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Cutting off the payments could trigger turmoil in insurance markets.
“I don’t want people to get hurt,” Mr. Trump said. “What I think should happen—and will happen—is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”
As NY Mag's Eric Levitzs translates, "Nice affordable health care for the poor you got here, would be a real shame if something happened to it."
The Journal continued:
“Schumer should be calling me up and begging me to help him save Obamacare,” Mr. Trump said about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a fellow New Yorker. “He should be calling me and begging me to help him save Obamacare, along with Nancy Pelosi, ” the top Democrat in the House.
Mr. Trump said Democrats should be motivated to find negotiate on health care because “they own Obamacare.”
There are a couple of points worth making here. Firstly, What. The. Fuck. Threatening to use the most vulnerable Americans as a bargaining tool is beyond cruel -- it is an affront to human dignity. Trump is so desperate to undo the policy he centered his campaign on destroying that he is willing to actually get people killed. Should the government not fulfill its requirements under the ACA millions of people stand to lose their health care as they will not be able to make their monthly payments. As the American Journal of Public Health reported, uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher death risk than those with insurance.
Secondly, if Donald Trump thinks this is going to work, he's even stupider than anyone could possibly imagine. The notion that the Democrats will take the fall for his rank incompetence and colossal political failures is simply preposterous. Obamacare's popularity has surged after Trump's election and more people have signed up for it this year than ever. While Trump and the GOP insists it is the mother of all disasters, the public's perception of it couldn't be more diametrically opposed. The Democrats are not going to begging anyone to cut a deal -- they own Obamacare and are extremely happy to do so. If Trump genuinely wants to stop paying the subsidies, the Democrats will make it abundantly clear that he is the one responsible for it. This would be political suicide for Trump who is already polling at disastrous levels, and it would allow the Democrats to control the narrative over health care once and for all.