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Donald Trump Fails The Leadership Test Again

trump-syria-strike

President Trump’s reaction to the onetwo punch of the failure of two Republican health care reform proposals in the Senate in less than twenty-four hours is noteworthy enough to quote in full: (Emphasis mine)

“It’s an absolute disaster. And I think you’ll also agree that I’ve been saying for a long time, let Obamacare fail, and then everybody’s going to have to come together and fix it. And come up with a new plan and a plan that’s really good for the people with much lower premiums, much lower costs and much better protection. I’ve been saying that, Mike (Vice President Pence), I think you’ll agree, for a long time. Let Obamacare fail. It will be a lot easier, and I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then Democrats will come to us and say, how do we fix it? How do we fix it? Or how do we come up with a new plan?”

What the President is basically saying here, of course, is that he’s willing to sit back and do nothing even if it means millions of people are negatively impacted by what the GOP contends will be the collapse of health insurance markets across the country. At that point, he claims, Democrats will come to him begging to help them fix the system and Republicans will win. There are, of course, several problems with this strategy. First of all, it is by no means certain that we will see the nationwide collapse of insurance coverage that Republicans have been predicting for the past seven years. While there have been signs of trouble in some states, others have shown that the system continues to work as intended, albeit imperfectly. Second, the assumption that the public would blame Democrats for this if it did happen seems fundamentally wrong. In all likelihood, they’ll blame whoever happens to be in power at the time, starting with the President and working their way down, and that means things will only get more difficult for a President who already has the worst job approval numbers of any new President since World War Two.

As Chris Cillizza notes, such an attitude is hardly Presidential:

The first job of every president is to protect the people who elected him. Yes, as Trump likes to note, that often means protecting people from foreign adversaries.

But it also means protecting them from problems within our borders, too — like, for example, people losing health care in states where the market is failing or insurance companies are pulling out.

What the president SHOULD do in that situation is step in and demand that Congress find some sort of fix — or fixes — to make sure the current law, which is the Affordable Care Act, works for the most people possible as soon as possible. That is the president’s job unless and until a majority of the 535 people elected to represent the country in the House and Senate decide to change that law.

What Trump is doing is almost the exact opposite. He is skating over the fact that “let Obamacare fail” has real-world consequences — that being President isn’t solely about figuring out the best political calculations minute-by-minute.

As a candidate, it’s fine to spend most of your time trying to win. After all, if you don’t win, you can never govern, right?

But being president means sometimes doing things that aren’t perfect politics for you. It means doing things you don’t like or don’t want to do. You’re the president of all the people, not just the people who agree with you or voted for you.

Trump, in his first six months in the White House, has never seemed to grasp that difference — that being President is bigger than politics. That decisions he makes, and doesn’t, have serious consequences for the people he ran to represent.

As president, you don’t get to throw up your arms and say “let it fail.” You’ve got to be the one always willing to find a solution — even a deeply imperfect one — to protect the people you serve.

This is not that. It’s the furthest thing from that. Too bad Turmp doesn’t get that.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that Trump doesn’t understand the difference between being a candidate and actually being President, or if he just doesn’t care. It hardly matters which, of course, since he’s basically saying he’s willing to let people suffer the consequences of what could happen if the PPACA really did bring the havoc that Republicans have long been predicting in order to supposedly gain a bargaining position over Democrats when the time comes to fix the system again. As I noted above, that requires that several assumptions that are by no means certain to end up coming true, but it also comes across as incredibly callous and un-Presidential. Rather than the buck stopping at the President’s desk as Harry Truman once put it, Trump is basically saying that he isn’t responsible for what might happen under his watch. Reality is likely to prove to be quite different.

For those of us who spent the better part of a year and a half warning Republicans and Americans in general about the kind of President Donald Trump would be none of this is a surprise.  In two days, we mark six months since the day Trump took office and we’ve already seen every one of those predictions come true. Whether it’s the way in which his twin obsessions with watching cable news channels and tweeting about what he sees have repeatedly undermined even the agenda that his own White House is trying to communicate during a given week, or the fact that he continues to lash out at people who criticize him in the media like a petulant child, the President has made clear on a daily basis that he either doesn’t understand what it takes to be President, or just doesn’t care to do what’s necessary. The next three and a half years are only going to bring more of the same, or quite possibly something worse if and when the time comes that Trump is faced with an international crisis that poses a real danger to the United States or American interests abroad. At that point, it will be far too late to do anything about it.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    For those of us who spent the better part of a year and a half warning Republicans and Americans in general about the kind of President Donald Trump would be none of this is a surprise.

    Indeed. We’ve been so completely right that it feels like we’re cheating. I mean, 100%?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 2

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Again…these are all self-inflicted wounds. The entire Obamacare repeal/replace is a Republicanist wet dream. They painted themselves into this corner by years of lies and obfuscation. and when it came down to it they could not execute. And of course, as you point out, they then blame everyone but themselves.
    Make no mistake…this nation is a rudderless ship right now. So what happens when a catastrophe, not of their own making, inevitably happens? Imagine we all wake up tomorrow to another 9.11. Unspeakable mayhem will ensue. And Dumb Don will be sitting in a fire-truck blaming everyone else.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m not sure if it’s the fact that Trump doesn’t understand the difference between being a candidate and actually being President, or if he just doesn’t care.

    How about, C) Both?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  4. Kylopod says:

    Second, the assumption that the public would blame Democrats for this if it did happen seems fundamentally wrong. In all likelihood, they’ll blame whoever happens to be in power at the time

    Also, if his goal is to get the public to blame Democrats, it doesn’t exactly help that he’s basically admitting outright that he intends for Obamacare to fail. Of course he’s trying to make it sound like he’s just going to passively sit back while the law collapses on its own, when in reality what he probably has in mind is more along the lines of actively sabotaging the law. Still, he’s more or less admitting he’s making a choice to try to guarantee the law’s failure. If the law were somehow to collapse in the next year or so (and I emphasize that there’s no sign of that happening outside the right-wing bubble), Dems would simply take this clip of Trump saying how he intended the law to fail and play it on an endless loop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  5. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I’ve seen more than one Trump supporter on various articles blaming various failures on Democratic obstruction. They neither know nor care that the GOP is in control of all three branches, and will always find some scapegoat for their party’s inability to engage seriously with the hard work of legislating and governance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    Trump is basically saying that he isn’t responsible for what might happen under his watch.

    With supporters like these why would he?

    Majority of Trump supporters ‘don’t believe Trump Jr attended Russian lawyer meeting’
    Donald Trump Jr has confirmed multiple times that he took this meeting. The White House has not disputed this account.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Trump has never been a leader. He has always been a small businessman at heart, a sole proprietor. He looks for deals, and if the deals don’t work out he looks for other deals. Here’s a test: think about every president in your lifetime. Now think about the people that sprung from their administration, or that were cultivated on their rise to the top. With a little work you could list dozens for each of them, perhaps hundreds over the course of a lifetime. In the two or three Fortune 500 businesses that I know well, the same applies for their CEO’s. I can point to dozens of businesses now helmed by the people cultivated by the leaders of those businesses. And that’s just at the CEO level. Now – name one person that has ever come out of the Trump organization that went on to great things.

    As they say in the business mags, A level people hire other A level people, while B level people hire C level people. Trump isn’t even a C level person himself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  8. CSK says:

    Trump loves the perks and the title of president. It’s the biggest in-your-face to the Manhattan bluebloods who recoiled from him with shudders of disgust that he could wish for himself.

    Does he want to work at being president? Of course not. It isn’t simply that he doesn’t understand the job, which he doesn’t. He totally lacks the intellect, experience, and temperament to do that job.

    Trump and his Trumpkins are very much alike. For them, the only thing is getting revenge against the “elites.” Doesn’t matter if the country gets destroyed in the process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  9. grumpy realist says:

    The other problem is that the collapse of even a part of the health industry will probably result in the collapse of the stock market.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  10. DrDaveT says:

    Second, the assumption that the public would blame Democrats for this if it did happen seems fundamentally wrong. In all likelihood, they’ll blame whoever happens to be in power at the time

    You still don’t get it.

    A large fraction of them will blame whoever Fox News and their preferred alt-right websites tell them to blame, which will be
    1. Barack Obama
    2. Clintons
    3. Democrats
    4. Liberals
    5. The media
    6. Elites
    7. Foreigners
    8. Immigrants
    9. Brown people
    10. Government (which they believe is a demographic group)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  11. MikeSJ says:

    There is a sizeable subset of the right wing that still thinks Hillary is going to get locked up any day now.

    And if she doesn’t get tossed in the Big House for her extensive criminality then it’s only fair that Donald get a pass as well.

    A very sizeable number of Republicans think this and nothing – not a stock market collapse or losing their insurance – will make them reconsider any of this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  12. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Ironic, isn’t it, that Trump’s constant boast is that he only hires “the best people.” In actuality, he hires only people who don’t threaten him with their brains and talent–which means he scrapes the bottom of the employee barrel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Not the IT Dept. says:

    He’s just babbling, filling up the empty air with word-like sounds so that idiots will think he knows what he’s doing. There’s nothing inside but a void.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. teve tory says:

    @MikeSJ: Today, July 18 2017, I literally blocked a guy on facebook who called hillary a serial killer. Those were his exact words.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. Terrye Cravens says:

    Trump can say what he likes, but most Americans like the ACA a lot better than they like him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. Terrye Cravens says:

    @teve tory: I have heard worse from Trump supporters. The worse Trump looks, the more they hate Hillary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  17. de stijl says:

    @teve tory:

    Were details provided on who she killed?

    Besides Vince Foster (obvs), who else?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. teve tory says:

    Didn’t get the deets cuz as soon as he called her a serial killer twice, and said some shit like “Well trump isn’t perfect but at least we didn’t hand the country over to that serial killer bitch” I banned him with the quickness.

    Life’s too short to deal with the worst of the worst. I just block them and keep on keepin’ on. 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  19. teve tory says:

    There’s a lotta Venn diagram overlap between the “trumper” circle and the “all-around shitty person who is also extremely dumb” circle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. de stijl says:

    @teve tory:

    There is a skill to shining folks on and extracting information.

    I’ve learned this from poorly written unrealistic popular fiction like Odd Thomas era Dean Koontz.

    Or cop movies with egregious quips. McBain! And Blue Bloods starring Tom Selleck and some other folks.

    You shoulda milked that cow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Scott F. says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s C) Both… but with some important details to note:

    1) Trump is doing what he’s always understood “leadership” to be if what you lead is a business begun with a head start of loads of family money. The “leader” tells everyone what he wants and everyone does it without question because the boss told them to. That he thought that was how a Presidency worked is clear from all his past comments about how all previous US leaders were stupid and he would just make everything he wanted happen just by asking for it.

    2) He doesn’t care to adjust to the reality of what it takes to lead as a President, but he does care that things aren’t going according to the model in 1). He’s clearly pissed off about that.

    It’s just that he (and his sycophantic base) still believe he can manipulate all of US governance, the media and the populace into a model where the boss says “make it so” and all parties just fall in line like good little employees.

    I don’t know that he will ever figure out that both 1 and 2 are fantasies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. cian says:

    Second, the assumption that the public would blame Democrats for this if it did happen seems fundamentally wrong.

    Here’s how crazy the country’s become- a majority of Americans voted for a party whose single biggest promise was to repeal a law a majority of Americans like. To achieve this they had to make sure that only soulless idiots were elected and they succeeded. Now the idiots have run the country into the toilet, trashed at home and abroad, our enemies winning everywhere, our allies battling to keep some kind of order, incapable of fixing any and all problems. And here’s the kicker, the idiots will do it all again in 2018.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  23. Mikey says:

    @cian:

    Here’s how crazy the country’s become- a majority of Americans voted for a party whose single biggest promise was to repeal a law a majority of Americans like.

    But maybe not.

    We all know Clinton received more votes than Trump, and Clinton-plus-others far more. But Democratic Senate candidates also received more votes–six million more–than did Republicans.

    I wasn’t able to find any total numbers for the House, maybe someone else knows if those are added up somewhere. But given the extreme levels of gerrymandering, I wouldn’t be surprised if Democrats received more total votes for those seats as well.

    We may now be living in a nation where the minority rules, across the board.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  24. Kylopod says:

    @cian:

    a majority of Americans voted for a party whose single biggest promise was to repeal a law a majority of Americans like

    Um… A “majority of Americans” didn’t vote for Trump. Not even a plurality of voters did. Were you even paying attention last year?

    Moreover, even by November of last year, Obamacare still scored negative ratings on most polls. Its popularity has actually skyrocketed since Trump was elected. I almost get the sense that part of the public disapproval of the law was based on there being a substantial number of complainers who took for granted that the law was here to stay.

    In other words, think of Obamacare as being like Han Solo in Empire where Leia treats him like crap through most of the film but then when he’s lowered into carbonite she’s all “I love you” “I know.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  25. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Frankly, I’ve been right so much I’m getting bored with being right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. teve tory says:

    @de stijl: Nah, man, it woulda just been some boring dumb shit like Clinton Death List or some other tedious garbage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. CSK says:

    Trump’s decided to hold himself a rally on July 25 in Youngstown, Ohio. He must be feeling the need for some approval.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. Scott says:

    So Trump admits to dereliction of duty as a leadership strategy. Great.

    This is the equivalent of “burning down the village in order to save it”/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. SenyorDave says:

    @CSK: According to the US Census, Youngstown is about 45% black, and about 5% Hispanic. What is the over/under on the percentage of blacks and Hispanics total at the Trump rally? If its 5%, I’ll take the under. Any takers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. CSK says:

    Here’s what Trump just Tweeted:

    “The Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is, & it will get even better at lunch. The Dems scream death as Ocare dies!”

    FFS, someone grab a giant butterfly net. Now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. KM says:

    @de stijl:

    Well, that Republican that was looking into the Russian meetings and email hacking committed suicide a few days ago and they’re convinced Hillary had him murdered. I mean, he only went looking for dirt on Hillary, happened to generate a ton on Team Trump (proof of meetings at the very least) in the process and is now dead so hey – gotta be that serial killer bitch amirite? It’s not like Trump would benefit from shutting the guy up, it’s those damn Clintons.

    The Yahoo news thread was literally full of people claiming Hillary “did it again” and people around her “drop like flies”. They were outright making sh^t up on the spot like he’d been shot in the back of the head multiple times and it keep getting repeated like a fact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. KM says:

    @CSK:

    it will get even better at lunch.

    The only way this bill could get better is with lunch included. Toss in endless bread-sticks at the least if you’re gonna steal healthcare, Republicans! Have some decency!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:

    it will get even better at lunch.

    According to Snowflakes butt boy, Lewandowski, Dumb Don is meeting with GOP Senators at lunch and will put together a deal to pass Trumpcare. Don the Cons idea of putting together a deal is to try to intimidate these Senators.

    “I think this bill is going to get done. The President is probably going to close the deal today.”

    As for the rest:

    The Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is

    Um…that’s because it’s a terrible piece of legislation. It’s a good tax cut…but terrible health care policy. I kind of hope they get it done because it’ll just not go well for the GOP from there. You cannot throw 21 million people off insurance and think that it will not have repercussions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. CSK says:

    Well, now Ivanka’s in the soup. Twenty house Democrats have asked the FBI to review her security clearance.

    Daddy’s going to be annoyed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory: One thing I’ve noticed over the years about conspiracy theories and other crackpot ideas is that there’s usually a game-of-telephone principle operating. Whenever there’s a “standard” version of the theory, there’s a good chance it’s mutated into something even dumber in some people’s retelling. For instance, the standard version of anti-vax concerns a (debunked) study in the ’90s claiming that vaccines cause autism, but Michelle Bachman put a new spin on the theory in 2011 when she stated that vaccines cause “mental retardation.” Apparently she didn’t know the difference between autism and retardation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Pete S says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I would have to assume his deal is “vote for this or my PAC will finance a primary against you”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. teve tory says:

    @Kylopod: Conspiracies often involve clueless people playing the telephone game with other clueless people, like you said. I somehow wound up on a page yesterday where some nitwit was attacking “Floride” for being a “By-product of Aluminum”!!!

    My years of chemistry and medical classes help immunize me from things like the anti-vaccination gibberish. I simply can’t comprehend the mindset of the person who wrote that page. Vast, and deep, ignorance, that will never be improved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. wr says:

    @CSK: “The Dems scream death as Ocare dies!”

    Isn’t that a line from Karn Evil 9?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. CSK says:

    @wr:

    Could be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. J-Dub says:

    I’m hoping the video of Trump getting urinated on by Russian prostitutes gets released so we can just get this whole thing over with already.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Scott F.:

    I don’t know that he will ever figure out that both 1 and 2 are fantasies.

    I don’t see that he’d be able to, given that 1 and 2 are reality based on his experience. He’d also have to come to a realization that he’s never actually been a leader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Indeed. We’ve been so completely right that it feels like we’re cheating. I mean, 100%?

    I won’t claim 100% accuracy. Trump is actually worse than I expected. I mean I thought he’d be a marginally successful business person and a good salesman. This despite thinking I’d accepted as a life lesson that no matter how bad you think Republicans are, you’ll eventually find out they were worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    Trump is actually worse than I expected.

    At the start of his presidency I actually thought there was a chance he’d prove effective on the legislative front, because one thing he did seem good at was threatening and intimidating people into submission. It would be corrupt, but not necessarily inept. That’s what I argued last December.

    Part of what I failed to anticipate was how totally disengaged from the governing process he would prove to be. But more importantly, his method of intimidation only works in situations where he actually has some leverage; otherwise he’s a pure paper tiger, boasting about how powerful he is with nothing to show for it. And Congress has historically been a very difficult institution to manage, a task that has stymied many previous presidents who unlike Trump had actual experience working with such bodies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  44. Bob@Younsgtown says:

    I’m reminded of Arlo Guthrie in “Alice’s Restaurant”…. “you gotta a lotta damn gall”

    Trump chastising Republican Senators for breaking a promise to repeal Obamacare, while ignoring that he promised an immediate replacement (in a matter of hours) AND it won’t touch your Medicaid

    you gotta a lotta damn gall Donald !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Bob says:

    They just need to repeal the whole damned thing. Chris Gorilla is an idiot. Government is not responsible for providing people with health insurance. Republicans need to get off this kick of trying to replace it. Just repeal the damned thing and let the free markets drive the costs down. Bring in tort reform – get government and ambulance chasers out of healthcare and allow insurance companies to compete across state lines. Let patients negotiate directly with doctors rather than insurance companies and we’ll see the prices come down. Anybody who wants to keep any part of that disastrous Obamacare has never read the Constitution. Our treasury is not a charity.

    I say let Obamacare fail. It has already failed millions. Likewise, if 100’s of millions of people weren’t dying before Obamacare – how is it possible that 100’s of millions are going to dye if we take it away again? Just sayin’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  46. ptfe says:

    @Bob: Basically every sentence in your tirade there is provably false.

    The “free market” did not operate prior to Obamacare; it hasn’t operated in HC since the early 1900s.

    “Tort reform” is a shibboleth of the right: it contributes less than 2% to the cost of HC but is touted as the cure to so many ills.

    “Let patients negotiate directly with doctors…” — do you even understand the “free market” that you claim to want? The patient has NO leverage in a negotiation of this sort; it’s like saying that employee protections should be repealed because employees can just negotiate their way into better conditions directly, which is to say, it’s asinine absurdity. And you ignore the time-sensitivity of such a negotiation. “No, doctor, I won’t let you set my broken bone until I’ve received a quote from 20 miles away.”

    “Our treasury is not a charity” unless the Constitution said something about promoting general welfare or providing for the common def—–oh wait, those are both in there, which is why we have fire departments (before, insurance companies ran the fire departments…I assume you aren’t familiar with how that free market worked out, based on your obliviousness here) and police and a massive roadway infrastructure and a federal aviation authority and the EPA and on and on and on and on.

    “It has already failed millions”: Obamacare has leveled exponentially-increasing HC costs and significantly reduced the number of uninsured in the country. Its stability has boosted the economy, and the law has been essentially revenue-neutral at the top. Which is to say, it’s done what it advertised.

    “How is it possible that 100s of millions are going to dye…” Innumerate people like you are one of the reasons we’re in this situation. 10s (not 100s) of millions will LOSE INSURANCE, and of those, some percentage will die as a result — likely a few million. Which is to say that Obamacare SAVES LIVES. Let’s be totally clear about this. Obamacare — that thing you say you want to fail — is currently keeping north of a million people alive who will otherwise die in the next 5 years if it fails. You would like to see 200,000+ more dead per year just to satisfy some twisted fantasy about free markets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  47. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Bob:

    how is it possible that 100’s of millions are going to dye if we take it away again? Just sayin’

    It’s certainly possible that people will continue dyeing–their hair, for example–irrespective of whether they have health insurance or not. So, certainly and for sure, people will continue to dye if we take coverage away again. I know the halmani (grandmothers) in Korea dye even if they can’t afford hair color (black hair dye is said to be the most heavily shoplifted commodity in Korea–much to the embarrassment of sons and daughters across the country). As to yardage, thread, string, rope, yarn, etc., I agree with you that 100s of millions of people in the US are probably not engaged in such activities, so possession of health insurance or lack thereof will probably not affect actions there.

    Now, I you want to talk about dying–the subject of your original post–the argument is at least partially inferential, so I can understand why it is eluding you. The basic thrust of the argument is that the life expectancy of the American population has risen by roughly 20 years during my lifetime–I just turned 65 last week/happy birthday to me. The proximate cause of that increase is said to be the proliferation of health insurance in general and the Medicare and Medicaid programs specifically. Therefore, gutting any of the programs that are in place now–and, alas, there is good evidence that the proposals offered so far will impact most if not all of the insurance/health care sector; your suggestion being the most dramatically draconian of them all.

    I’ll agree with you that hundreds of millions of people dying for lack of health insurance is hyperbolic. Then again, I haven’t heard any serious discussion on the topic suggesting such numbers–guys like you use such numbers all the time; I think it’s an attempt (unsuccessful, of course) to apply an argumentum ad absurdum tactic. Still, if your real point is that the government should not be expending resources on healthcare coverage for other people, that is a legitimate argument that can be made. A selfish, mean-spirited, and probably short sighted one, but that factor sort of screams “Bill thinking (or lack thereof)” to me anyway. As I say, if the previous was your real point, you should simply come out with it. Loud and proud as the gay rights advocates might say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bob:

    I say let Obamacare fail.

    I say let you fail. You’ve already failed the Basic Mathematics Test.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  49. grumpy realist says:

    @Bob: You might as well say the government doesn’t have to worry about epidemics….

    May you catch polio and have to pay for your own iron lung for the rest of your life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. Mikey says:

    @ptfe:

    And you ignore the time-sensitivity of such a negotiation. “No, doctor, I won’t let you set my broken bone until I’ve received a quote from 20 miles away.”

    Assuming you’re conscious and lucid, of course, or not actively dying of a heart attack. “Hang on, doc, gotta see if I can negotiate a lower price for that defibrillation…”

    Every other developed nation on Earth has some form of mandated universal coverage, whether it be government-run single-payer like England or public-provision, privately-delivered multi-payer like Germany. And it costs those nations, on average, half of what it does us per capita.

    But we can’t have that, no, it might allow the grubby poors to escape some of the grinding anguish they deserve for being grubby and poor.

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  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mikey:

    It boils down to a few uncomfortable facts:

    Insurers, on average, have lower profits in Europe, and doctors generally earn far less than their American counterparts.

    Two powerful lobbies with a great deal of money at stake. The US can’t have it because certain entities would have to accept less to make it happen.

    And they never will – unless they’re forced to.

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  52. grumpy realist says:

    @Bob: Guess how many will lose health insurance if Obamacare is repealed.

    That’s about 1/10th of the US population. Those people will either be having to try to pay the ridiculously high medical care prices on their own (with the resultant bankruptcies) or will be getting their medical care from the emergency room….which means the cost for that will devolve back to the taxpayers.

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  53. Tyrell says:

    President Don needs to form a blue ribbon committee made up of experts in the field. Politicians sit this one out. They come up with a plan that fixes the AHA flaws, lowers costs, and doesn’t throw anyone off. They come up with a plan that everyone likes.
    People don’t seem to realize that millions want health insurance but can’t afford the government plan.
    The AHA is steadily dissolving of its own self as more insurance companies pull out – losing too much money. Many states don’t have the money to help out.
    “The Art of the Deal”

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  54. KM says:

    @HarvardLaw92 :

    Insurers, on average, have lower profits in Europe, and doctors generally earn far less than their American counterparts.

    This more then anything is what needs to change in the public conscious – the idea that doctors *must* be rich. I’ve heard several conservatives argue that people won’t become doctors anymore if they can’t make an easy 6 figures after graduation. Quite a few people go into the field purely for the paycheck while being little more then walking death factories. The worst doctor in America is seeing patients today, getting paid for the privilege and you have no idea who they are.

    Now I’m not arguing that they don’t work hard or deserve good pay. I’m saying we need to challenge the assumption that medical bills are always going to be high because we need to pay a heavy salary for physicians. If the government ran a program that offered to pay for a doctor’s education so that they never needed anything more then a $10K loan with the condition their salary cap for life in a position would be $60K there’d be no takers. Med school bills are cited as a major reason for high salaries but somehow I highly doubt removing that factor will cause the industry to accept lower wages as a result.

    Other countries manage to function without the expectation that doctors are going to be potential millionaires someday – why can’t we? They’d still be better off then most Americans and without student loan debt would be able to achieve the American dream rather quickly.

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  55. KM says:

    @Bob>

    how is it possible that 100’s of millions are going to dye if we take it away again? Just sayin’

    Let’s take diabetes since America’s fat AF. Healthcare means more frequency doctors visits, medication adjustments and bloodwork all to make sure you have this chronic disease under control. It means preventative care for cataracts, high blood pressure, neuropathy, glucose resistance and potential amputations by fixing a small issue before it blows up your health. Not to mention the lifestyle effects – neuropathy means you aren’t going to exercise as much and thus stay fat, glucose resistance means you’ll keep guzzling that soda and not feel the effects till insulin shock kicks in, etc.

    Diabetes rarely kills you itself – the co-morbid diseases do. An untreated diabetic will die decades ahead of one regularly using healthcare available to them. It’s not as simple as “eating well” or just taking a pill. A young diabetic stands a MUCH greater change of living to old age without massive complications simply by being able to afford to go to the doctors more then once a year. The deaths won’t happen in waves like you’re imagining Bob – this isn’t the plague. Instead, your parents, siblings, cousins, children, nieces and nephews will have their lives eroded away and die before they have to solely so some rich Republican $%$$&$* gets a lower tax bracket. Executions by degrees, not lightening bolts.

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  56. teve tory says:

    Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

    Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people.

    -WaPo

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