Thomas Gallatin / April 3, 2019

Trump Holds Health Reform Until 2020 Election

He agrees with McConnell to wait until after the 2020 election to act on health care.

Following his meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday, President Donald Trump declared that he would put on hold any attempts to comprehensively replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, until after the 2020 elections. Trump’s latest comments come as an about-face from his declaration just last week in a speech to the National Republican Congressional Committee, when he asserted, “Republicans should not run away from health care. If we stay away from the subject, we’re going to lose.”

In that speech, Trump argued that Democrats controlled the optics on the issue of “health care right now, and we have to take that away from them.” However, it now appears that Trump has conceded to McConnell’s political assessment on the issue and is willing to wait. “We had a good conversation yesterday afternoon and I pointed out to him the Senate Republicans’ view on dealing with comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic House of Representative,” McConnell stated. He added, “I made clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate. He did say, as he later tweeted, that he accepted that and he would be developing a plan that he would take to the American people during the 2020 campaign.”

Unfortunately, from a politically practical standpoint, McConnell is right. The fact of the matter is that, since 2017, a majority of Americans have favored keeping ObamaCare rather than repealing it, and Republicans are far from unified on a plan in any case. Yet Trump is still determined to address the hot-button issue, writing, “The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare. In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.”

As we have repeatedly argued, once a massive government program gets started and people become dependent upon it, it becomes nearly impossible to end that program, or even shrink it. Now, Trump and Republicans are essentially forced into fighting to prevent ObamaCare’s expansion rather than simply repealing and ending it. Meanwhile, Democrats are pushing to grow it into a government-run, single-payer system via Medicare for All.

It appears that in asserting he and Republicans will tackle health care and “it will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America,” Trump is recognizing that the vast majority of the American public has embraced the concept of government involvement in health care. The debate on whether government has a role is essentially over. Trump’s populist instinct is telling him that Republicans must jump on board or be left at the station protesting in vain.

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