epa05841052 US President Donald J. Trump participates in a health care discussion with House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC , USA, 10 March 2017.  EPA/SHAWN THEW

Trump considers provocative new hostage strategy on health care

After the Republican health care plan collapsed last month, beset by intra-party divisions and widespread public revulsion, Donald Trump immediately blamed Democrats. That didn’t make any sense: no one reached out to congressional Dems; they played no role in the process; and it was GOP lawmakers who killed the bill.

But the confused president was nevertheless convinced that Democrats should’ve helped him destroy the most significant Democratic accomplishment since Medicare – because Trump said so. Indeed, despite the White House’s previous claims that Republicans would shift their attention towards tax reform, Trump told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that he not only remains focused on health care, he’s also considering a new hostage strategy to force Democrats to give him what he wants.

Nearly three weeks after Republican infighting sank an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump dug back into the battle on Wednesday, threatening to withhold payments to insurers to force Democrats to the negotiating table.

In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump said he was still considering what to do about the payments approved by his Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama, which some Republicans contend are unconstitutional. Their abrupt disappearance could trigger an insurance meltdown that causes the collapse of the 2010 health law, forcing lawmakers to return to a bruising debate over its future.

“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” Trump said, referring to cost-sharing reductions. “I haven’t made my viewpoint clear yet. I don’t want people to get hurt…. What I think should happen and will happen is the Democrats will start calling me and negotiating.”

In other words, when the president says he doesn’t “want people to get hurt,” he means he will start hurting people by sabotaging the American health care system unless Democrats take steps to satisfy his demands.

It’s a bit like a criminal who declares, “I don’t want to shoot the hostages, but I haven’t yet received my ransom.”

 

 

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