A tough president with a great heart would also fight to make sure that the bill guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions. Who could be so heartless as not to cover pre-existing conditions? So Trump claims that his plan guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions.
"Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, has to be," he told Dickerson.
But it isn't.
The bill significantly weakens coverage of pre-existing conditions. That's the price that House conservatives demand in return for supporting the bill, and our tough president with a great heart, such a great heart, caved in and gave it to them, although he continues to claim otherwise. He gave it to them because he needs a bill to pass so that he can look productive and powerful, and he needs to look productive and powerful more than he wants to protect his supporters, so he agreed to provisions guaranteed to hurt those supporters as long as his aides keep letting him believe that it won't.
But every nonpartisan expert in the field says otherwise.
For example, the American Medical Association strongly opposes the latest version because it significantly weakens coverage of pre-existing conditions. AARP also strongly opposes it, warning that under the bill, "Insurance companies would be able to charge you higher premiums if you have a preexisting condition such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease." According to the AARP, it would "end protections for 25 million Americans between 50-64 with preexisting conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes" and "represents a dramatic change from current law."
But again, that's not what Trump's aides tell him.
Trump's aides also tell him that the House plan lowers deductibles. As Trump told Dickerson, "We're going to drive down deductibles, because, right now, deductibles are so high, you never -- unless you're going to die a long, hard death, you never can get to use your health care..."
That's what he said. It isn't true. It's the opposite of true. Under the GOP health-care plan, deductibles will go up, probably by a lot. That is not a matter of dispute. They go up by design, on purpose, because that's the way conservatives want it. Their one big idea is that making people pay more out of pocket makes them use less health care. Their plan is to ration health care by making it unaffordable, while claiming that they would never ever attempt to do such a thing.
And of course, let's remind ourselves of the real game here. By kicking 24 million Americans off their insurance, Trump and his GOP colleagues will be able to finance an initial, massive $880 billion tax cut, most of which will benefit the wealthy. In addition, passage of the legislation would also set the stage for the even larger tax-cut package announced last week, again to the benefit of the richest of Americans.
That's not the act of a tough president, a president with a good heart, a great heart. That's the act of a populist charlatan out to benefit the very elites whom he pretends to condemn. Andrew Jackson was a man of many flaws, but he was right to warn that "the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes," and to argue that when they use the law to "make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society -- the farmers, mechanics, and laborers -- who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government."