Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He told an awful lot of lies into a short op-ed.

Trump's name appeared over an op-ed about health care policy in USA Today this morning. Health care is an issue of major concern for voters in the coming election, and Trump is politically vulnerable on it. The piece took the form of an attack on proposals to expand Medicare to all Americans, which Trump falsely attributed to all Democrats.

The op-ed was not well received by fact-checkers, who found lies or deceptive phrasing in almost every sentence, including these:

  • A Democratic plan "would cost an astonishing $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years." That's a lot of money, and certainly the highest estimate Trump could find on the subject, but even so it is $2 trillion less than projections for the current system. 
  • "As a candidate, I promised that we would protect coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions." He certainly did make that promise, and then immediately broke it. In a nearly unprecedented move, Trump has ordered the federal government not to defend Obamacare in a lawsuit filed by Republican state officials seeking to overturn those protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
  • “We are now seeing health insurance premiums coming down.” They're not--they're just rising more slowly than in 2017. Last year, insurers "priced in" Trump's attempts to sabotage the subsidies and individual mandate at the core of the U.S. health care system. 
  • "I am committed to resolutely defending Medicare and Social Security from the radical socialist plans of the Democrats." Whatever your opinion of socialism as a political philosophy, all single-payer health care programs (including Medicare) are socialized health care. Trump knows this, and from time to time (as recently as last May) has enthusiastically endorsed it, although he so often forgets what his "official" position is on health care that it's probably not fair to read too much into that.

Why does this matter?

  • Policies that need to be lied about probably aren't good policies.