The window into popular vote loser Donald Trump’s mind provided by that New York Times interview is, frankly, pretty fucking terrifying. But it’s also kind of hilarious, if you can set aside the idea that the President of the United States is a raving lunatic. Who doesn’t understand anything about how the world really works, but especially health insurance. Here he is talking about repealing Obamacare.
TRUMP: Nothing changes. Nothing changes. Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away.
HABERMAN: That’s been the thing for four years. When you win an entitlement, you can’t take it back.
TRUMP: But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher. As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.
Which has nothing whatsoever to do with pre-existing conditions, but there’s only so much crazy we can tackle here. Your first thought might be that he heard “entitlement” from Haberman and started riffing on Social Security, which is the closest thing maybe to what he’s trying to describe? But this is not the first time Trump has graced the nation with his vision of what health insurance is. Back in May he told The Economist: “Insurance is, you’re 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance.”
Well, that’s sort of how life insurance works. Health insurance? No. Because it’s not something you don’t have to use for your entire adult life until you’re 70 (unless you’re the “healthiest individual ever elected” president). The whole idea is that everybody pays into a pool and gets their health needs covered throughout their lives out of that pooled money. If we could do that on $1 a month for everyone, then we wouldn’t be talking about any of this right now. But if you kind of turn your head and squint at it enough, it’s sort of like Trump is envisioning a single-payer system as what is “really insurance.” Maybe?
None of which makes where we’re at any better. Our president doesn’t understand the very basic concept of what health insurance is and our Congress thinks freedom means being too poor to “choose” to have insurance.