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Donald Trump Wants to Repeal Obamacare, Replace It With Obamacare

Gage SkidmoreGage SkidmoreMost of the time when Donald Trump talks about policy, the collection of words that he responds with have nothing whatsoever to do with the details of policy. Up until this weekend, for example, he usually answered questions about his preferred Obamacare replacement plan with "something terrific!"

That is, of course, not a replacement plan, nor is it any kind of plan at all. It does not even qualify as an allusion to a possible plan, or something that vaguely resembles one. It is just an adjective, and it provides no more information about the actual policy content of his ideal replacement than if he had said, "something blue!"

Occasionally, though, Trump emits noises that seem, at least on the surface, to provide at least a little more detail. 

In an interview this weekend with Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes, Trump was pressed to provide some details on how he would replace the president’s health care law, which Trump has described as a "complete disaster."

Here’s how the exchange went, as transcribed by Forbes’ Avik Roy.

"What’s your plan for Obamacare?" Pelley asked Trump. "Obamacare’s going to be repealed and replaced," said Trump. "Obamacare is a disaster if you look at what’s going on with premiums where they’re up 40, 50, 55 percent." Pelley followed up:

Pelley: How do you fix it?

Trump: There’s many different ways, by the way. Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, "No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private. But–"

Pelley: Universal health care.

Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.

Pelley: The uninsured person is going to be taken care of. How? How?

Trump: They’re going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably—

Pelley: Make a deal? Who pays for it?

Trump: —the government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.

One thing this back and forth reveals is how utterly determined Trump is to avoid providing details regarding the mechanics of policy. When Pelley first asks Trump how he would fix Obamacare, Trump responds by saying, "everybody’s got to be covered." That’s an outcome, not a policy mechanism. It’s totally unresponsive to the question of how.

Pelley, to his credit, follows up on this point, asking precisely how everyone would be covered. Trump first insists, as he often does, that he would "make a deal" (this is also not a policy) and then declares that everyone will be able to get private plans, that the government will pay for it all, and that there will be no trade offs whatsoever.

One way—perhaps the best way—to interpret this, is that it is simply nonsense. Trump clearly has no health care plan to speak of and no idea what he is talking about, so he brushes off Pelley’s question with rambling, self-aggrandizing word salad that, as usual, tells us absolutely nothing about anything. It is a bunch of words that amount to, "something blue!"

Another way, however, is that what Trump is describing is, approximately, Obamacare: a system that attempts to cover the uninsured largely by giving people a choice of private plans that are heavily subsidized by the government.

Yes, Obamacare relies on Medicaid to cover many lower income people, and for various reasons doesn't cover absolutely everyone. But details like these—really, any kind of details—obviously don't matter to Trump.

What matters is that Trump, the front-runner in a part that for the last five years has been heavily defined by its opposition to the president's health care law, thinks Obamacare is such a complete disaster that he wants to repeal it and replace it with, well, Obamacare. 

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  • Jerry Smith||

    Well, that certainly guarantees some extra automated scrutiny from our digital overlords.

  • Rhywun||

    You know who else is responsible for extra automated scrutiny from our digital overlords...?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Will Trumpcare be over 2000 pages long and littered with the phrase "The Secretary Shall..."?

    No?

    Then it's not fucking Obamacare.

  • Tony||

    Are those supposed to be your complaints, I take it?

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    Giving basically unilateral power of the nation's healthcare to one unelected bureaucrat seems to be kind of anti-Democratic, doesn't it Tony?

    I thought you were all about Democracy? Why do you hate Democracy?

  • grrizzly||

    It's spelled anti-Ddemocratic.

  • Tony||

    So since you don't care for democracy, you're just fine with it, provided the bureaucrat agreed with you on everything?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    You're doing an awful job.
    Just pack it up for the day and start over tomorrow.

  • Tony||

    If someone would answer my question, ahem, "What alternative to democracy do you propose," then maybe I'd leave forever, provided it was an actual answer to the question in the spirit in which it is asked, and didn't play the game of pretending that I mean basic democracy or some bullshit.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    If someone would answer my question, ahem, "What alternative to democracy do you propose," then maybe I'd leave forever

    Do you pose that question from a position of retardation or complete disingenuousness? Few if any of us here are opposed to democracy as a means of deciding political questions. The issue most of us have is what should be the scope of what is decided politically. If you really don't think there should be any limits, why don't we put the question of who you can date up for a vote? What religions you can practice? What books you can read?

  • ace_m82||

    What alternative to democracy do you propose

    A Republic, was what the Founders "gave" us.

    Though I'd just be happy if no-one used aggression and called it government. I can protect myself just fine. I can even protect others (cause I'm nice and all that).

  • Homple||

    "What alternative to democracy do you propose"

    A republic, if you can keep it.

  • JPyrate||

    Anarchy. Where every person has decided to take self ownership of themselves. There I have answered your question. Now you have to leave FOREVER 11111

    =D

  • JPyrate||

    No beers for Tony. Bad job Tony Troll.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    When a healthcare bill is over 2000 pages long, it's pretty obvious that it isn't about healthcare at all. It's about control, rewarding your friends, and punishing your enemies.

    That should be fairly apparent to even a retard like you.

  • Tony||

    Meh. It's not the national health program I'd write if I were king. If I were king I wouldn't have to contend with countless existing interests in a very complex set of industries in a huge country. I would just tell all healthcare profiteers to fuck off.

  • tarran||

    . I would just tell all healthcare profiteers to fuck off.

    Ah, you just want the poor to die of curable diseases. Got it.

  • Tony||

    No I want pills that actually cure things to be manufactured.

  • ace_m82||

    Sounds like there could be a profit in that... Almost like people would be willing to pay for that out of pocket!

    Huh, you've convinced me, the market is definitely the way to go. Governments are stupid.

  • Tony||

    It seems rather obvious that if your concern is profit, you're going to expend your resources developing drugs people have to take over and over instead of ones that cure things. This is an opportunity cost question and one that may not be readily measurable, but it is pretty fucking obvious logic. Yay capitalism! It does everything the best!

  • LynchPin1477||

    That's not obvious to me at all. In fact I would say it's obviously wrong and a terrible business plan. Why wouldn't a new company make a medicine that worked? It would make the ineffective treatment completely obsolete.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I can't think of any real example of a company making an ineffective product and staying in business, unless they have some sort of government support/protection.

  • tarran||

    No I want pills that actually cure things to be manufactured.

    Who is going to manufacture them if you don't pay them?

    Slaves? Prisoners in a factory re-purposed from stamping out license plates?

  • Pulseguy||

    That's great Tony. Is that what you want? You want a pill to fix everything, that the government owns the rights to, and we all get one every day! For free.

    You know, Tony, that comes as no surprise to any of us. That is more or less what you say every comment.

    The problem is there is no pill that cures things the way you want. The government will never in a million years discover it. Should any real discovery be made it will usually enrich someone immensely, and so on.

    And, why would you care if someone made money off an important discovery? Why would sick Moms being cured of their cancer be worse off because someone made a lot of money by discovering the cure for her cancer? But, you don't want that to happen. You want the government to give her the pill where magically - no one paid for it.

  • Tony||

    What the actual fuck are you talking about? We've eradicated globally serious diseases, and we didn't do it by waiting around for the market mechanism to decide it was worthwhile. Investment is investment. Stop selling magic. It's all you idiots do.

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    I would just tell all healthcare profiteers to fuck off.

    You're a regular Donald Trump.

  • JPyrate||

  • Pulseguy||

    I thought for certain Tony has already declared himself to be a Queen? Or, was that someone else?

  • Pulseguy||

    I could be wrong, Tony, but haven't you already declared yourself a Queen?

    Not that there is anything wrong with this, by the way. Many of my good friends are Queens.

    I'm just wondering if I've remembered wrongly.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Kings writing healthcare policy is the whole reason we don't have kings.

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    I LOVE YOU TONY!! ALL WE LIBERTARDIANS DO IS COMPLAIN BUT YOU ARE ABOVE THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE SO SMART AND HELPFUL!!!

  • ||

    Rule Number 1. Be Tony

    Rule Number 2. Differ to Number 1.

  • waffles||

    If trump were transexual people might actually talk about him more.

  • Mindyourbusiness||

    Ain't it tough enough...

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    What? No h/t for The Buttplug?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/polit.....-obamacare

    Morning links.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    It's DIY here at reason.

    Here you go.

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    I LOVE YOU PB!!! YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS WEBSITE ARE INCOMPARABLE!!! YOU ARE SPECIAL!!!!

  • bvandyke||

    He has no fucking clue what he is doing.

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    No shit.

    ...the government’s gonna pay for it.

    Oh, ok then.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Does he talk like that in real life, where everything is vague promises of improvement and excellence? How the fuck does anyone take that clown seriously?

  • JPyrate||

    Yes Hugh. The average person is as stupid as PB. I know this may shock you, but it is true !!!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    In his defense, Trump doesn't know what the fuck is in Obamacare. He just knows the greasy-haired GOP base hates it and its death panels.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Do you know what's in it?

  • Jordan||

    FREE MARKETS AND LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE!

    /shriek derp

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I do. I know how its funded and how burdensome the regulations and mandates are. It is about 1/10 as bad as Medicare. Actually, Medicare and the VA should move to the ACA model for improvement.

    Better yet get rid of all of them but you know that won't happen.

  • ||

    No, Buttface doesn't know what's in it anymore than Trump knows.

  • JPyrate||

    Correction. It knows about 8% =D

  • Irish ♥s ESB||

    One things this back and forth reveals

    Are you just screwing with us at this point?

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    Grammar is a difficult things.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    nor is it any kind of plan at all.

    Which is what a libertarian should want.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Except that winding down Obamacare and transitioning to something else or nothing else would require a plan.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    Wind it down? Why waste more money on winding? Declare it null and void and all monies paid in are losses. A wind-down just wastes even more money. When I get a traffic ticket, I don't get a warning, I get a ticket on the spot - no wind-up, no transition period, no nothing.

    Will an immediate shut down piss people off? You bet. Serves 'em right for ever trusting government in the first place. It's the exact kind of lesson people need about government.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You forgot to call them 'classless losers.'

  • Marshal||

    Not hard at all.

    1. Eliminate the individual and employer mandates.
    2. Revoke the coverage requirements and return such regulation to the states.
    3. Reduce the subsidies 25% per year.

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    Trump's mere presence will heal the sick.

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    Or make people sick?

    Damn, I forget which.

  • ||

    But everyone will have really bad hair.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I thought the crazy could not get any worse than 2012 with Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann et al.

    I was wrong.

    Trump, Carson, Fat Christie and the rest are worse.

  • JPyrate||

    TEAM !!!!

  • tarran||

    I have to say there is something marvelous during the honeymoon phase of a people's romance with a new führer. The sweeping promises. The hopeful embraces! The smiles and laughter.

    It always ends in an unhappy marriage; the poverty of having to choose between heat and food; the death of loved one in hospitals short of medicine; an economy churning out inferior and ugly goods; with a work and leisure regulated to create a joyless grey existence, the führer angrily denouncing the people as unworthy cheap whores.

    But the romance before the marriage! Such happy times!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    There's no perhaps about it. He's as coherent as the anti-Olestra posting here.

  • ||

    "Trump: I am going to take care of everybody."

    Oh, well, I'm totally convinced then.

    Why does anyone listen to this idiot? Do the dumb fuckwits that are supporting this guy have any idea just how stupid that makes them?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Why does anyone listen to this idiot?

    Most people want one and one to equal three. Demagogues like Trump are able to convince them its possible by virtue of their sheer awesomeness. It allows them to evade that inkling that, someone is going to get fucked in the process, and it's probably going to be them.

  • Marshal||

    "Trump: I am going to take care of everybody."

    Oh, well, I'm totally convinced then.

    Was it written on his hat? Cause if so that totally makes sense.

  • GILMORE™||

    "they can have plans, they can have everything."

    "I'll make ISIS dance for me. They'll dance! I'm so good at this military stuff it will make your head spin. There's water on Mars? I'll make a goddamn ice sculpture out of it. I can do that. These people at NASA we have now? Completely incompetent. Have no idea. Obamacare is a disaster. Did you see what Obama did with Ebola? He just invited Ebola to the US. Insane. I'd fucking have special forces kill Ebola where it lives. In Uganda! Wherever. He lets Ebola win, I'd kick its ass. I used to work on racecars. I'm the best. When do I start work?"

  • ||

    The only thing that is ever going to make healthcare more available and more affordable for everyone is technology, and for the government to get the fuck out of the way. The latter being by far the biggest challenge.

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    Allow more medical schools to open, allow nurse practitioners to have more authority to diagnose/treat routine patients, and give pharmacists the authority to write prescriptions for routine drugs

  • JPyrate||

    But that would interfere with protectionist profits !!!!

    Burn the Witch !!!!!

  • Whahappan?||

    HE SAID FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY!

  • Wizard with a Woodchipper||

    "Donald Trump Wants to Repeal Obamacare, Replace It With Obamacare"

    Made this exact point to a bunch of Trump supporters yesterday and they either a) simply would not accept that this is what he is advocating; or b) told me that it would turn out fine because he would be in charge. These were not rational people.

  • Trump-o-Matic 5000||

    DONALD TRUMP WILL PERSONALLY KICK CANCER IN THE 'NADS!!!!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Can you imagine Ben Carson curing someone's cancer? Forget it! He's a loser with no chance! If I was President I would fight cancer because I would make a deal with it. A quality deal, with many other great things.

  • ||

    I can get behind the first half of his plan. Sounds terrific.

  • Rt. Hon. Judge Woodrow Chipper||

    You know who else was going to take care of everybody?

  • MJGreen - Docile Citizen||

    What don't you get, poindexter? President Trump will go to every hospital in the nation and make a deal so that everyone gets care. He's such a good negotiator he'll get the hospitals to pay for it!

    Only a loser wouldn't understand this.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Hate to break this to you , Peter... The other 2 front runners (Carson and Fiorina) haven't issued any policy papers or specifics either. It's a Republican thing.

    Of course it's nonsensical. But nonsensical candidate Trump garners about a quarter of the party's support.

    It's a nonsensical party.

  • JPyrate||

    As an Anarchist, and Agorist I think you are an idiot for choosing a political party to represent you. I think you are a double idiot for choosing a political party that will limit your personal, and economic freedom. A political party that has in the past, passed the "Jim Crow" Laws, and was the political wing of the KKK. You guessed it. The "Democratic" Party. You know the party that Donald Trump ran in before he ran in the "Republican" Party. You fucking ignorant moron.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Stop yer whinin.'

  • Robert||

    That was my rxn too. This exchange w Trump is only a slightly more out-there version of what politicians in general, as well as would-be politicians, and almost everybody you'd ask, "OK, so you're complaining? What would you do about it?" would say.

    Practically speaking, everybody in the world wants socialized medicine while paying pennies on the dollar for it & having total freedom of choice. The world is so rich, it would be irresponsible not to do deliver something like it. About the best advocates of laissez-faire can do is to dress up elements of laissez faire to make it look like a free lunch when it comes to health care, and to delay it so long that we really are rich enough to afford it by the time we give in to it.

  • Robert||

    It's not a nonsensic party, it's a nonsensic world when looked at in the aggregate. What individuals overwhelmingly want adds up to impossibility when they're all looking at the same pot. it's not the Republicans' fault.

  • Robert||

    "People" think an inchoate "they" are ripping them off when it comes to health care & some other areas of potential political economics. There are some rackets in health care & those other areas, but "people" think the answers are different from, & in some ways simpler than, they actually are. "People" are like, if only we could get a non-politician who is competent in some other field such as real estate, medicine, or management, to do the politics on this, they could cut off the rippers-off.

  • Ama-Gi Anarchist||

    What matters is that Trump, the front-runner in a part that for the last five years has been heavily defined by its opposition to the president's health care law

    That shit-eating fuckwit believes no such thing. He's a goddamn Democratic troll who spouts nonsensical bullshit that the media tells the morons to lap up, which they do with Pavlovian glee. He's literally the media-created Candidate, the fucking Obaminator 8000 on steroids. Not a single goddamn thing that comes out of that cum-dumpster of a mouth of his can be believed. If he said the sky was blue, I'd have to look to make sure. What SHOULD happen, if the goddamn Media weren't the gatekeepers for the Elites, is someone should crawl up his ass with a microscope to make sure he's not a setup candidate (which he most certainly is). This is, quite literally, the election where the table is so obviously rigged, fucking Banana Republic style.

  • Christophe||

    I have a better plan: Let's just outlaw all diseases:

    - No more private hospitals, clinics, prescription meds or band-aids.
    - If you get sick, you go to prison (for damaging your body, which is state property) where you'll get free healthcare.
    - The threat of prison time will ensure there's no moral hazard risk.

  • brady949||

    Since Obamacare was basically the Republican's health care plan, this makes perfect sense.

  • natashamarie||

    I am so grateful for the ACA. I live in Michigan which accepted the federal funding for Medicaid expansion. I can go to the doctor. I have a doctor. I've been really ill and haven't had to miss weeks of work and haven't been a strain on the small business I work for. I have access to the medication I need that allows me to be a functioning person. I am the breadwinner for my mother and teenage sister. If I lost my job due to illness, it could mean my family was homeless. I thank everything in life that I am able to access Medicaid now as an adult and receive medical care.

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