Monday, February 27, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He had an epiphany on health care reform.

In remarks to a meeting of state governors, Trump addressed his stalled efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act by saying, "I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject," he said. "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated." 

Trump's perspective on health care is unusual in that he has always been wealthy enough to hire personal physicians directly, which may account for his frequent confusion about how, for example, his own employees' insurance plans work. For that matter, Trump seems somewhat ambivalent about whether private health insurance should be massively deregulated, or destroyed outright in favor of a Canadian-style national health service, as he proposed in a 2000 book. 

That said, Trump may have been unique in his apparent long-standing belief that health care policy was not complicated.

So what?

  • When candidate Trump expressed confidence in his ability to replace the ACA with "something terrific," voters may have assumed he had a basic understanding of the subject.
  • It is not a good sign if a president is surprised to find that the job is difficult.
  • Everybody knew that health care was complicated.