March 6, 2016 by Chris Kite
What is the scariest thing about Donald Trump? Is it his open racism? Is it his childish name calling? Is it his lack of class? His total lack of experience in running a government?
I actually think it is his naivete about policy. He really doesn’t have any idea what current policies are or how they impact the American public. And he really doesn’t have much of an idea about how to “Make America Great Again.” You see it in debates and when he appears in interviews. He gives vague, generalized answers that don’t really offer any clarification on what exactly are the problems or how to improve things.
One needs to look no further than his statement on his new healthcare plan to replace “Obamacare.” When talking about the Affordable Care Act, Trump said, “. . . . has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices.”
I realize he is trying to score political points, but he is dead wrong. Healthcare costs have risen more slowly since Obamacare was implemented than in recent history. The chart below shows that other than 2008, which was the year the economy tanked, health care costs rose more quickly before “Obamacare” was enacted.
And while health insurance premiums have risen, they have stayed on a steady slope from before Obamacare was implemented as shown in the chart below.
As far as his other claims of more rationing and less competition, that just isn’t true. There is nothing to prove this. In fact, because people that had no health insurance before Obamacare generally skipped healthcare, I would argue there is less rationing. Although, health insurance companies have always “rationed” health care. If they don’t want you to have a procedure or medicine, they make it more expensive so people use less of it. That is rationing! If you cannot afford healthcare insurance, that is rationing! If you’re denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, that is rationing!
Not wanting to miss being wrong on all fronts, Trump continued, “And we must also take actions in other policy areas to lower healthcare costs and burdens. Enforcing immigration laws, eliminating fraud and waste and energizing our economy will relieve the economic pressures felt by every American.”
Again, there is no evidence that immigration policy has increased medical or any other costs. Plus Republicans continue to miss the key fact that in recent history, there has been less illegal immigration and Obama has been more aggressive in deportations of illegal immigrants. But that doesn’t play well with Trumps racists, xenophobic selling of fear.
And while pretty much everyone is for eliminating waste, I find this one of the most ludicrous Republican ideals. Waste is absolutely bad, but it is pretty hard to imagine how even going so far as completely eliminating all waste makes any dent at all in our federal budget. We spend almost $600B on our military and that is 54% of our budget. What waste are we going to eliminate that isn’t minuscule compared to our military spending?
But this presumes that Trump or the Republican party were at all concerned with facts. But facts don’t work in the Republican world of selling fear. Because the facts really aren’t very scary. But Donald Trump is extraordinarily scary!