DONALD TRUMP SUFFERS AN EPIC, PUBLIC, SPECTACULAR, COLOSSAL FAILURE
THE HURT OF THE DEAL
Today was a big win. Not for President Donald Trump. It was a big win for former President Barack Obama. Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare survived its biggest onslaught yet when House Republicans, who have railed against Obamacare for 7 years could not come to a consensus to repeal and replace a law they hate with a passion.
This was a big defeat for Trump, the self-proclaimed great dealmaker, who pushed so hard and even gave Republicans legislators an ultimatum to pass the law or else. The ultimatum failed spectacularly because Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull the vote after a rebellion within Republican ranks doomed the bill and effectively denied Trump a much needed enemies list of Republicans who voted against the bill for him to go after with mean tweets and nasty campaigns.
It was not a good day at all for Trump. Everybody saw it coming except, of course, Trump. He thought it was a cake walk. After his embarrassing defeat today, Trump, in his true fashion of never accepting personal responsibility, like a petulant child, blamed Democrats and proceeded to lie that he never promised repealing and replacing Obamacare in 64 days. As Washington Post noted he is right, he did not promise repeal and replace in 64 days, he promised to start working on it on day. He called it a major priority of his administration and called on the repeal and replace more than 65 times.
In rally after rally during the campaigns, Trump railed against Obamacare promising that repealing and replacing was going to be his first acts as president and it would be easy. Here is a video compiled by the Washington Post of Trump saying he would repeal and replace Obama on Day 1. Even Redstate, a conservative website, is not giving a pass on this blatant lie and they have a video to show us.
But to his credit, Trump tried on day 1 to do something to Obamacare — sabotage. On January 20, Trump signed an Executive Order titled: Minimizing the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal, a vaguely crafted and meaningless Executive Order meant to placate his supporters that he has done something to repeal Obamacare when in fact he had done nothing.
The executive order instructed officials to “take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.” The order’s ambiguity created confusion and contributed to the destabilization of the law and gave cover to anti-Obamacare officials to undermine the law.
On day six of his administration he attacked Obamacare again. This time the Trump administration cancelled all advertisements to promote last minute Obamacare open enrollment ads with a goal of stunting enrolment numbers. It was a malicious sneak attack that did not make any sense especially since the ads had already been paid for and Obamacare was the law of the land. The effort drew a massive outcry and they reversed themselves. In the end, despite the sabotage efforts, almost 12 million people enrolled for Obamacare through healthcare.gov, a clear demonstration that Americans valued health care provided through Obamacare.
Why did Trump fail so badly?
He failed for many reasons that can be summarized by one word — incompetence. His approach about health care was unrealistic. It took meeting in a closed door session with insurance executives for Trump to realize the complexities of our health care system. “Nobody knew health care could so complicated,” said Trump, the last ignoramus standing.
Despite the education, he did not adjust to step up and give the issue the attention it warranted. He let Speaker Paul Ryan to create a repeal and replace plan and boy, it was awful. The public hated it. It’s public approval stood at 17 percent, but Trump did not care about public opinion, he won, he’s president he can do what he wants. He still pushed to get it passed. According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the new law would have kicked out 24 million people from their insurance in 10 years and 14 million of those people will lose their insurance in 2018.
It appears as if the goal was to roll back benefits awarded by Obamacare and that did not sit well with the public. Two things are evident here, while Obamacare is not perfect, most people covered consider it better than what they had in the past. Republican leaders discovered this fact the hard way in their town hall meetings when they were confronted by angry constituents who demanded Obamacare to be preserved and repaired. And second Republicans despite railing against Obamacare for 7 years did not have a credible solution.
Their plan was dead on arrival and just awful. To contain costs, Trumpcare would have ended or limited outpatient care, emergency services, hospitalization, mental health and substance abuse care, preventive services, pregnancy and maternity care among other benefits currently offered under Obamacare. The new bill would have phased-out medicaid, a source of coverage for millions of Americans and brought back lifetime limits that bankrupted people with catastrophic illnesses. Premiums would have risen and health coverage would only be available to those who can afford. When asked about their plan, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, insisted Trumpcare would give every American access to healthcare. Keyword access. That does not mean health care would be guaranteed and everyone would have health insurance, rather it means it would be available if you can afford it.
Trump did not seem to understand what the bill he was pushing for meant. In fact as if he lives in a bubble or an alternate universe, he went on campaign-style rallies in Florida and Kentucky where he tried to convince people who are happy with their Obamacare they should unhappy. His efforts were an epic failure and the opposition in the town halls continued with earnest.
Unlike Obama who went out and sold the legislation for months and even reached out to Republicans, Trump did not do such thing. He tried to repeal and replace such a legislation in 17 days and he went about it in the laziest way possible. He sat in the White House and focused on making Speaker Paul Ryan to do all the running around. He assumed the Republican majority in Congress would be enough to pass the bill. This act shows Trump is not prepared to be president for all Americans, rather he is just focused on keeping campaign promises regardless of how it impacts people.
Another reason for his failure is Trump believed the hype Republicans peddled during the Obama era. The kind of nonsense where they found something negative to say about every positive thing that happened under Obama. It was all a political act to gain leverage and demoralize people. When voting to repeal Obamacare during the Obama era, Republicans knew too well there was no chance their repeal would be signed by the president. They used the vote as a way to trick their constituents, especially those in red states, that they were do something to oppose Obama and his “job-killing” health care law. They never expected to ever find themselves in their current position where they have a president who can actually sign their repeal.
Perhaps Representative Joe Barton of the 6th District in Texas summarized the GOP hypocritical position well.
“Sometimes you are playing fantasy football and sometimes you are in the real game,” Barton said. “We knew the president (Obama) if we got the repeal bill to his desk it would most certainly be vetoed. This time we knew if we got it to the president’s desk it would be signed.”
While the Congressmen knew what they were doing, they seemed to have forgotten to let Trump in on the joke and allowed him to continue on into the deep end of anti-Obamacare wildness. But they Trump did not need any motivation to go where others were scared to go. His motives were not pure, while he spoke about wanting to help people get better healthcare, it appears Trump’s main reason for repealing Obamacare is his disdain for his predecessor.
He did not do the homework necessary to understand the healthcare system especially in the context of Obamacare and the coverage it provided to people. He regularly ran around making negative wild claims about the healthcare system he was inheriting and did not bother to really understand the issues people are concerned about. Just like Republicans who voted more than 50 times to repeal Obamacare care, Trump was blinded by their over-eagerness in accepting the negative challenges of Obamacare and and turned a blind eye to its positive aspects.
Nobody, including Obama himself, disagrees that Obamacare is not perfect and need repair, but there is no dispute that many people have been helped. The number of uninsured has decreased year-over-year, lives have been saved, people with catastrophic illnesses have been saved from financial ruin and it’s a great first step toward giving Americans much needed health care.
The absolutism from Republicans that nothing short of repeal and replace is the solution is not credible. Trump fell for the same trap. He mistook the cheering from his campaign crowds, who were cheering a myriad of things from his comedic delivery in rallies to his anti-establishment and unorthodox style, to mean people really hated Obamacare. He failed to realize that a lot of his voters were actually depending on Obamacare for their healthcare and a repeal would hurt them badly.
Trump, unlike the more politically savvy Republicans, did not seem to understand that some of his supporters were confused and did not realize that Obamacare was the same as ACA. You can blame Republicans for that confusion and Obama for poor salesmanship of the law but even so, a presidential candidate and president should be sophisticated enough to understand such basic things. In the end Trump failed because of his biggest weakness that will always come back to haunt him. He is a fake. He has no knowledge of things. He is not curious. He does not care to learn and he thinks being President of the Unites States is the same as running a big company.
In giving Republicans an ultimatum, Trump acted like a boss who was ordering around his employees. He did not seem to understand that while Republican House members are likely to be sympathetic to his agenda, they are members of the legislature, a co-equal arm of the federal government that is specifically in place to keep him in check and not take orders from him.
By insisting on a vote before getting the buy-in from Republicans, Trump revealed a lazy approach to getting things done where reason is replaced by force and that is not how things work in Washington. Trump also exposed his fatal ignorance about the legislative process and a fatal arrogance about his abilities as a master negotiator that unless changed, guarantees his failure as president.
If Trump truly wants to help American people, he must stop seeking to repeal and replace Obamacare and seek to repair and enhance instead. He should also call President Obama and ask for his advice after apologizing for… never mind. Obama does not need his apologies. He should reach out to Democrats as well and accept their input. Health care is such an important part of the economy, it should never be a partisan issue.
The failure to repeal and replace Obamacare adds to Trump’s growing list of failures in his two months in office. Others include failure to build a wall and making Mexico pay for it, failure to ban Muslims, the failed mission in Yemen and his failure to run an organized White House without leaks and scandals among others.
This was a big win for the Resistance Movement and organic protests that flooded townhalls to oppose the idiocy of Trumpcare.
As noted in the video below, Obamacare is here to stay, let’s improve it.