How Trump Is Doing Making Republicans “The Party Of Healthcare!” So Far
He’s enlisted three Senators, two of whom are physicians by training, one of whom once ran the biggest for-profit hospital chain in the country, to try and come up with something “spectacular”…
Wyoming’s John Barrasso and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy are both MDs. They both voted for all three failed Republican plans to kill Obamacare. Cassidy co-wrote the last of the three with Trump’s new BFF Lindsey Graham. That’s the one that the late John McCain nixed with a last minute thumbs down.
Florida’s Rick Scott didn’t vote on any of the prior Republican proposals because he only just became a Senator. Prior to that he was Governor of Florida. Prior to that, Scott was a businessperson, who co-founded what became Columbia/HCA, which was at one time the largest operator of private hospitals in the country. It also paid $1.7-billion in penalties after charges of widespread fraud against the government, which was a record at the time. And Scott was forced to resign.
During his first campaign, Scott got ahead of the fraud story by acknowledging it, but denying any personal knowledge. More recently, he’s taken a more Trump-like approach, saying “I refuse to apologize for my success.” And in fact that might make Scott the perfect point person for the project. Trump’s bragged that he’s the best person to reform tax policy, because he’s so successfully exploited loopholes for so many years that he knows them all. Maybe so too with Scott on health care. At very least Scott knows how to make sure corporations involved in the health care business make money.
Scott and several White House officials made the rounds this weekend, attempting to flog their “new” non-plan. And it became unclear whether Scott is actually spearheading an effort to come up with comprehensive legislation to present to the White House, or if that legislation is expected to originate from the White House. Scott implied the latter, saying he’s going to start off by working on getting prescription drug prices lower, which means he’s kind of getting it right: that at least could score points with and for Trump even if it doesn’t portend any great, new comprehensive policy.
And maybe those Republicans and the White House will come up with something no one’s thought of before, and that’ll be great. But seems to us this is one area where’s it’s Trump who’s looking for a magic wand. If Republicans couldn’t pass their health care plans with the House and Senate and White House, how can they now pass it without the House?
Of course, he may actually have that magic wand if the Supreme Court agrees with a federal judge in Texas that because Trump and Republicans killed the “individual mandate”, Obamacare — all of it — is now unconstitutional. As we reported last week, the Trump Administration is now fully supporting that ruling. The “individual mandate” forced people to buy health care or pay a penalty and thus was considered a tax.
Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is keeping his distance from this run at Obamacare, preferring to focus his attacks on “Medicare for all”, which Trump is also attacking. They’re somehow trying to make the concept of “Medicare for all” synonymous with “taking away your Medicare”.
And if you look at what Democrats are up to, that’s not what they’re focusing on at all right now (except Bernie Sanders, who’s not a Democrat). Instead, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is proposing improvements to the current Obamacare by expanding credits to middle-class families and better managing very sick people who require a disproportionate amount of health care dollars. But of course, that won’t matter a whit if Trump successfully legislates this in the courts. And it’ll hand him another option anytime he doesn’t agree with something.