“We’re signing a health care plan within two weeks,” President Donald Trump said six weeks ago Sunday in a TV interview. He described it as “a full and complete health care plan.”
Since then … crickets.
The Republican National Convention would have been a great time to roll out legislation to “broaden health care access, make health care more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans” as Trump promised to do in “Health Care Reform to Make America Great Again,” a series of still so-far toothless talking points his campaign released more than four years ago.
After all, health care coverage has long been very high on the list of issues voters care about — a Pew Research Center poll released earlier in August put it at No. 2, just behind the economy — so why keep them waiting?
Habit, I guess. During his 2016 campaign, Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, in the first 100 days of his administration. But after more than 1,300 days under Trump, most of Obamacare still stands — though Trump’s Justice Department is even now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate it — with no replacement handy.
We’ll have “insurance for everybody,” Trump proclaimed just prior to his inauguration.
“We will Repeal & Replace and have great Healthcare soon after Tax Cuts!” he tweeted in October 2017.
“We’re working on a plan now,” he assured reporters in March 2019. ”We’ll be announcing that in two months, maybe less,” he said three months later. “We’re gonna have a fantastic plan,” he promised four months after that.
In May of this year, Trump said his health care plan will offer “great health care at a lesser price, and (mandatory coverage of) preexisting conditions will be included, and you won’t have the individual mandate.”
Health care policy experts believe this combination of advantages under a private insurance system is a contradiction in terms, a logical impossibility. Which almost certainly explains why the Trumpcare proposal is always j-u-u-ust over the horizon.
“We will always and very strongly protect patients with preexisting conditions,” Trump pledged during Thursday’s lengthy convention acceptance speech that contained only a glancing mention of the issue.
“We will end surprise medical billing, require price transparency, and further reduce the cost of prescription drugs and health insurance premiums; they are coming way down.”
Sadly, the price of prescription drugs is rising, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that health insurance premiums are continuing to rise.
This is all particularly concerning during the still rampaging COVID-19 pandemic that will see millions of Americans lose their employer-sponsored health insurance as hundreds of thousands of patients seek hospital care for the disease.