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Machines, Gloster!


Trying to have something to respond with when Biden points out at the debates that Trump wants the Supreme Court to strike down the ACA and replace it with nothing, Donald Trump has finally given us the apotheosis of the Heritage Uncertainty Principle:

There is a scene in The Grifters where a pair of con artists try to persuade their mark that they have developed a computerized system to beat the stock market. When the skeptical victim says, “I don’t see how you can do it,” the con artist bursts out, “Machines! Machines, Gloster! I have got a whole room full of machines back here. Y’wanna see it?” He opens the door to a back room, which in fact is empty, begging the mark to get up and inspect for himself, knowing he won’t bother.

This has been the Republican messaging strategy on health care for more than ten years now. If Democrats would just abandon Obamacare, Republicans would come in and implement a better, cheaper plan. Just wait! It’s ready to go! Give us the chance!


The Washington Post reports on Trump’s recent deliberations, or the Trump version of deliberations, on the issue. On the one hand, Trump “has berated health-care officials, saying that the issue is hurting him politically.” However, many paragraphs later, the story notes that the president “does not have a deep understanding of the health-care system, according to current and former advisers, and the topic does not animate him.”

Angry and ignorant is never a great combination of traits for solving difficult policy issues. But the deeper problem, beyond Trump’s distinct lack of fitness, is that Republican ideology opposes any actual steps that would be needed to make the resources available to cover people with expensive conditions: They hate regulating the insurance market to force cross-subsidies from the healthy to the sick, and they also hate new taxes and spending. There’s a reason they never came up with a real plan even before Trump, or managed to produce one after Trump gave Paul Ryan carte blanche.

With a potentially disastrous debate on this issue bearing down, it finally became necessary for the administration to stop promising the plan would come and produce … something.

And so they have. In a media call, the administration announced a two-prong plan, of sorts. Prong one declares, “It is the policy of the United States” to protect people who have preexisting conditions. Prong two is to promise to work with Congress to accomplish that goal. That is literally it.

Can’t wait to see how Chris Wallace manages to Both Sides this one!

At least elite Democrats seem to have stopped their (extremely stupid) “Republicans are betraying their longstanding commitment to universal healthcare by opposing the ACA!” argument and have started to actually tell the truth, which will help.

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