Is he that out of touch?
Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons.
Over the past four days, President Trump seems to have changed his mind on health care policy four different times. Monday night, after the GOP-backed health care bill failed to gain enough support in the Senate, Trump advocated for repealing Obamacare and not replacing it. The next morning, he tweeted he’d prefer to let Obamacare fail. On Wednesday, Trump was back to a repeal-and-replace strategy. “The Republicans never discuss how good their health care bill is,” he remarked. And finally, Wednesday afternoon, he promoted a policy he thought was in the GOP-backed bill that allows people to buy insurance across state lines. But the provision isn’t in that bill.
Trump’s grasp of health care policy was put into further question Wednesday, when he told reporters from The New York Times that health insurance costs young people $12 a year.
“So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, ‘I want my insurance.’ It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.”
Trump’s comments to The New York Times mirror similar statements he made to The Economist in May. But this time, he upped the cost of health care to $15 a month.
“But we’re putting in $8 billion and you’re going to have absolute coverage. You’re going to have absolute guaranteed coverage. You’re going to have it if you’re a person going in…don’t forget, this was not supposed to be the way insurance works. Insurance is, you’re 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance.”
In these two interviews, Trump is either discussing the differences between health and life insurance or he doesn’t understand how much health insurance costs the average American. As a multibillionaire, he probably hasn’t personally written a check to his health insurance provider in some time and may be out of touch. Trump would be flabbergasted to learn that individual health insurance premiums can average around $321, $306 above his estimate.
Trump’s flip-flopping on health care isn’t a new thing; he once said he’d repeal and replace Obamacare with universal health care. But when his party first crafted its replacement bill, it could have kicked over 20 million people off their health plans while giving wealthy people a huge tax cut.