Free Minds & Free Markets

Trump Warns That Democrats 'Would Obliterate Obamacare'

At an election-eve campaign rally, Trump all but defends the health law he tried to repeal.

Jeremy Hogan/Polaris/NewscomJeremy Hogan/Polaris/NewscomAt a campaign rally last night, President Trump came very close to defending Obamacare, warning that if Democrats came to power, they will "obliterate" the health care law.

"If Democrats gain power on Tuesday, one of their very first projects will be a socialist takeover of American healthcare," he said, according to The Washington Examiner. "You know what's happening. And your taxes are going to triple, maybe quadruple. You're not going to be happy. I know you well. The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare. It will also — which is good but leave the bad parts behind. It will destroy Medicare." (Emphasis mine.)

This might sound strange coming from Trump, who campaigned against Obama's health care law, and who backed measures last year that would have repealed much of the law. And to be fair, Trump suggests that obliterating the law is "good"—while also saying that the real problem is that Democrats would leave the "bad parts" of the law in place, implying there are good parts he wants to keep.

It's possible that it was simply a verbal misstep, and that what Trump really meant was to say Democrats would destroy Medicare, and then tried to cover the mistake before going back to what he intended to say.

But it's just as plausible that Trump now views defending Obamacare, which has gained popularity under his presidency, as a winning political issue.

Despite his support for last year's Obamacare repeal bills, Trump has more recently taken to arguing that Republicans support maintaining protections for pre-existing conditions—even though his administration is refusing to defend those rules in court. Other Republican candidates have been even more aggressive in clarifying that they mean support for insurance company regulations, with Arizona Senate candidate Martha McSally running ads saying she has led the fight to "force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions."

In addition, Trump—as he did last night—has repeatedly defended Medicare, the federal health program for seniors, arguing that Democrats would ruin it with "socialism," a strange (yet somehow unsurprising) argument given that Medicare, in its current form, is already America's biggest socialist health care program. That argument has been echoed by other Republican candidates, suggesting that Republicans are continuing to grow more comfortable defending large government-run health care programs.

Not all Republican rhetoric this campaign season has been objectively pro-Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, recently said that Republicans might take another run at a health care bill, depending on the election results. But even McConnell's rhetoric has undergone a subtle shift. Where he used to talk more openly about repealing Obamacare, he now says things like, "We're not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working." This could be sloppy phrasing on his part, but it also sounds as if, given the opportunity, he might work to tweak the Obamacare rather than wipe it off the books.

If all this sounds somewhat muddled and confused, that's probably because, when it comes to health care, Republicans don't really know what they think. That was apparent during last year's repeal push, when GOP lawmakers struggled to craft a replacement plan despite years of promising a replacement, and now, in the shadow of the repeal effort's failure, it is even more clear.

There are both political and policy reasons for this confusion. Under President Obama, repeal was a winning slogan, because Obamacare was unpopular. But under Trump, the law has become a political winner, and Republicans have struggled to figure out how to respond. In part they have chosen to obfuscate, particularly when it comes to pre-existing conditions. But those statements, which offer rhetorical acceptance of the underlying premise of Obamacare's regulatory scheme, also suggest that Republicans may be stumbling towards defending the law, or something roughly like it, partly as a response to shifting polls, and partly as a response to growing Democratic support for single payer.

At the moment, Republicans lack policy support for their rhetoric, but that's not particularly surprising at a moment when Republicans lack much of a domestic policy agenda of any kind. And it's not as if the GOP would need to look too far: After all, Obamacare was built on ideas that were initially championed by Republicans. Although the party never fully rallied around the plan, it wouldn't be surprising to see Republicans shift towards support for a system that relies on private providers as Democrats push for greater direct government intervention.

So Trump's remark about Obamacare may or may not have been a slip of the tongue, but either way, I suspect that they offer yet another preview of how I expect the nation's health care debate will shape up, with Republicans awkwardly defending something like Obamacare, and Democrats making an increasingly aggressive case for something like single payer.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Don't look at me!||

    More TDS.

  • Ryan Frank||

    Okay, we know Trump is a constant word salad but man this is thin.

    He says that obliterating Obamacare would be good, but that they would then attempt to replace it with something worse.

  • loveconstitution1789||


    You just dont add spin like Suderman does.

  • Echo Chamber||

    So opposing making a shitty law even shittier means you support the shitty law.
    Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Got it.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    It would be nice if the clown himself would get some political will together to actually obliterate obamacare. And medicare. And medicaid. You would think with Hannity and Limbaugh there they could have gotten it done with pure focused retard strength.

  • BYODB||

    PB, is that you?

  • BYODB||

    Sorry, your comments are so generated and predictable that they look like every other internet moron's partisan hot take. Well, that and you openly admit to being a troll with at least 20 sock puppets.

    Hannity! Limbaugh! RAGE!

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    I know normally those partisan retards would only be brought up specifically in the context of partisan rage...unless some clown got the bottom of the barrel conservative hacks to all come to his rally...its not like that crazy old fake tits judge from fox news was there though, that would just be #sad

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    Nah, my views on govt involvement with healthcare are basically no involvement. Catastrophic-only insurance plans with increased limits on HSA's, cut the shit out of medicare/medicaid. Similar to our patron saint of MAGA LC on this one actually (I doubt PB agrees with me).

    Oh except I hold republicans to account for the bullshit they promise and don't follow through on. It's novel, but some people still do it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Cash for minor medical stuff and catastrophic insurance for major medical stuff.

    Tax free medical savings or HSA is fine with me.

    End medicare, medicaid, and ObamaCare.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    Now there's something we can agree upon. That and probably blowjobs

  • Dillinger||

    much happier if my taxes went to blowjobs

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    A blowjob in every pot?

  • ||

    Pot before every blowjob.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Welfare blowjobs are low on a quality scale.

    You need the lady to like giving them.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    The only government issued blowie I want is from Ocazio Cortez. I'll tell her it's for the greater good, better for society etc.


  • DesigNate||

    Everyone can agree on blowjobs. Even Tony.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Trump may or may not have the political will; what he does not have is the political clout and it is unlikely that he will ever gain it given his propensity for making enemies and alienating people.

  • DiegoF||

    That universal Medicare would be bad for current oldster Medicare is not really a nonsensical proposition, so "Democrats will ruin Medicare with socialism" may be a bit ironic and embarrassing but it is not as incoherent as it is commonly taken to be by all sides.

    In any case we will know soon enough. Not after this current blue landslide--shaping up to be far more mammoth than even I feared in my most histrionic moments--because Trump will still be President, nor for the four years after that, because for some dumb reason even now I think Trump will win re-election, but after the Democrats' permanent majority is firmly in place a few years after that, and they get their first trifecta.

    In any case Obamacare is certainly not going anywhere because of Trump's or any other Republican's political will. They obviously have none, and will not be pushing it out the door even if they do manage to regain a trifecta in 2020 by some miracle.) The status quo will change because someone is going to have to do it; it is not a sustainable system. Not too damn likely it is going to be scrapped for something more free-market.

  • BYODB||

    Sounds like Trump has Suderman's vote since he's a big fan of socialized medicine, right?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    midget bbw dashboarding

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Oh fuck wrong tab

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Orange man bad

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You owe us an explanation. Was that a search query to expand your horizons, were you logging into an account or answering a security question, chatting with an Amazon customer rep, typing up a dating profile, or something else? Come on, man, we gotta know.

  • Dillinger||

    image search

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Dashboarding. I'm hoping it gets as big as planking or dabbing. It involves a woman (or whoever) lying (naked, or otherwise) across the dashboard of a vehicle, so that she's all smooshed up against the glass of the windshield. I guess it's a stationary activity but I'm sure you could put it in D and ghost ride the whip down the block with your main bitch wedged up against the windshield. It works better with more voluptuous figures and smaller cars present more of a challenge. It's definitely a thing that I absolutely cannot back up with any links or pictures. Coming soon to a Drake video.

  • Nardz||

    Umm... dashboarding?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    See above. Incredibly erotic.

  • Mr. JD||

    Free market > ObamaCare > Socialism

    It's not that hard to understand.

    And Trump has it right.

  • John||

    No it is really not.

  • ||


  • ||

    Reason may have to rethink the 'free market' part of their branding because if they support Obamacare what's the point?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Is that a timeline progression?

  • ||

    I'm having a hard time following Reason/Suderman's take on Obamacare. Of the many publications that covered it from the beginning, Reason has probably done the most.

    Almost regularly Reason reported, explained, debated and revealed the law's shortcomings and ugly political machinations. It rightly warned of all the bad parts and possible negative long-term consequences of such a law. We learned that Obama lied about keeping the doctor and that premiums would be lowered, that Speaker Pelosi made the claim you 'have to pass it to know what's in it', that we discovered that miscreant Jonathan character and so on.

    We learned all this. Here.

    Now they're pulling the rug from under readers and saying, 'never mind! We learned to love it!'?

    Enjoy single payer. One of the first comments I ever made here about this subject (given I'm Canadian and know all too well how fast the public comes to love universal services) was 'you're fucked' and 'enjoy single payer because it's coming.'

  • DiegoF||

    Now here is a man I can reason with! Everyone here is sinking deeper and deeper into delusion, and I am sinking deeper and deeper into annoying the fuck out of everyone. Help us gentle neighbor to the North!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Meesa so confused.

  • DiegoF||

    Rufus is the key to all this.

  • ||

    /waves key around.

  • ||

    What's to be confused about?

    Quenneville paid the price for bad management. The coach always has to pay the price!


  • Dillinger||

    Jason Garrett *tries* to get fired and can't wtf

  • BYODB||

    Enjoy single payer. One of the first comments I ever made here about this subject (given I'm Canadian and know all too well how fast the public comes to love universal services) was 'you're fucked' and 'enjoy single payer because it's coming.'

    Yeah, that's what plenty of us have been saying for quite some time. People will be happy enough ignoring the horror stories so long as they can feel good about theoretically expanding access to an incredibly scarce good.

    The real question for investors will be 'what nation will American's flee to for healthcare'.

  • ||

    Mexico. They already have super-clean hospitals just on the other side of the border for procedures that people in the US really want but for which they don't qualify as a candidate (while the US government will pay for GI Joe to match his exterior anatomy to the doll, other bits are still a no go). It is can also be something like 20-30% of the cost of having the same surgery in the US. I have a friend who had gastric sleeve surgery somewhere near Tijuana. She said it was the most incredible medical office she had ever seen.

    Of course, a Mexican judge will just point at you and laugh if you try to sue your doctor when you sneeze and rip your stitches.

  • Milo||

    I also know someone who died in Mexico from liposuction, so YMMV.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    More TDS from Suderman.

    I cant wait to see which Reason staffer will be crying the most after election 2018 devastates the Democratic Party.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||



  • loveconstitution1789||


  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This is one area where Democrats are winning-- and have been for a long time.

    When you up the chocolate rations to two oz from one, people learn to really appreciate the 2 oz.

  • DiegoF||

    Progs I talk to are ever more openly and honestly actually starting to praise Obama for his cleverness in setting up a system that would be doomed to collapse, but in doing serve as a gateway drug to Single Payer so that that became the reductio after everyone admits ACA does not work. He will be remembered as the real hero of socialized medicine no matter if Moses could not get us all the way to the promised land. To nicen up the narrative a bit, make it more noble, Obama's promises made people demand and expect more of their health coverage, what they actually deserve as a human right, and when it then became obvious that there was no way the private system on the free market could provide these standards, they realize government had to do it itself.

    Single Payer is worse than Obamacare, but it is more viable. Other countries show there are ways to have a highly regulated "privately owned" universal healthcare system, but Obamacare ain't it; it was just a sloppy Frankenstein abomination. One thing the government can do is impose its own healthcare on us all; what it could not do is force extant private industry into this mold for its charade of "markets." This is why we will have Medicare for all.

  • DiegoF||

    ...What American libertarians don't seem to want to understand or face is that a society can survive and thrive and be stable for quite some time on a much higher level of socialism and lack of freedom than we do. It will not be anywhere near as good as it would have been under freedom, but whatever limited capitalism and freedom it does let in will allow it a lot of progress. Just look at the other countries. Also they think Americans will never stand for being made unfree. Well, again, all the world's other peoples stand for that level of unfreedom; and we are becoming more and more like them each day. America was the anomaly. It was tried; it could have thrived even more than it did, had we kept to it. But we did depart from it, more and more as time went on (even as we became better and better off, which in fact is probalby not incidental to our lack of hunger for freedom anymore); and now we are on its last legs. This experiment could have succeeded; perhaps one will in the future. But this one is drawing to a protracted close.

    (This was all supposed to be a reply to Rufus.)

  • ||

    Progs I talk to are ever more openly and honestly actually starting to praise Obama for his cleverness in setting up a system that would be doomed to collapse, but in doing serve as a gateway drug to Single Payer so that that became the reductio after everyone admits ACA does not work.

    Which is ironic given that Obama initially opposed the ACA and resisted having his name attached to it. It was only after it became clear that Congress was going to pass it whether he approved or not that he decided to take ownership of it rather than stand up to them.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    It is more than generous to give Obama this much credit. Remember, ACA went through so much revision in the last days before it passed Obama himself didn't even know what was in the law. Ultimately all he did was propagandize for the notion of such a law, not even really understanding that he was arguing for something he was originally against. My greatest hope is that someday someone will actually look at his campaigns and his presidency with something vaguely resembling a jaundiced eye and speak the truth instead of fawning over him as even Reason is now prone to do

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Journalistic standards need to be relaxed during the Most Important Election In American History.

  • KevinP||

    Agreed that the Republicans failed to put together a coherent plan to replace Obamacare.

    So what is Suderman's suggested plan? Surely, as the subject matter expert on health care, he should have a list of one or more free market reforms?

    Right? Right?

  • Daniel||

    "Agreed that the Republicans failed to put together a coherent plan to replace Obamacare."

    Why did something have to replace Obamacare? This is the myth that prevented repeal in the first place.

  • ||

    Why did something have to replace Obamacare? This is the myth that prevented repeal in the first place.

    Yet that is where the Republicans were with it. People forget that the ACA was an imitation of a plan that came out of the Heritage Foundation in the first place, and was originally pejoratively referred to as "RomneyCare."

    It is very similar to the Democrats with the Iraq invasion in 2003. They understood that there were enough people angry about it that there were votes there. But they didn't understand why.

    The Republicans knew there were votes to be had in the anger over the ACA, but they didn't seem to understand why. The ACA's sudden flip from "one of the most hated government programs ever" to "keep your hands off of it" was exactly when the Republicans were hemming and hawing over what they would replace it with. The American public seems to have collectively decided "just stop - we'll try to work with the fucked up thing we already have."

  • BYODB||

    The Republicans knew there were votes to be had in the anger over the ACA, but they didn't seem to understand why. The ACA's sudden flip from "one of the most hated government programs ever" to "keep your hands off of it"

    Which, by the by, many here on these very boards pointed out would be the inevitable result. Democrats put impossible programs in place, while Republicans try to figure out how to make them theoretically solvent and cement them in place.

  • Idle Hands||

    It really is something that the very same people who call out trump for being totally clueless on policy and uncareful with his words are parcing out a single sentence of his campaign word salad of vomit to divine a meaning.

  • Idle Hands||

    The Democrat plan would obliterate Obamacare. It will also —which is good but leave the bad parts behind.

    emphasis mine. Suderman is such a mendacious twat. Trump is such a colossal ignorant douchebag, why do you have to lie about how he sucks?

  • blitzstrasse||

    "But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

  • Tony||

    Republicans are hypocrites, story at every hour of every day till the end of time, which they will cause.

  • ||

    RepublicansPoliticians are hypocrites.


  • Tony||

    "Everything sucks. Government sucks. Politicians suck. Might as well vote for Republicans!"

    --Republican messaging for my entire life. Sell it to someone dumber.

  • ||

    Sell it to someone dumber.

    Once I find someone, I'll try. Until then, I'll continue voting for Libertarians, thank you very much.

  • Tony||

    Do they ever win?

    Whom are you really voting for?

  • ||

    You voted for HRC, right?

    Who won?

    So who did you really vote for, hmmm?

  • Tony||

    Yeah, like them. I've always dreamed of dating someone I could have a real conversation with, but I'm too shallow and always go for looks.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    so you're saying the toothless hobos won't have you

  • DesigNate||

    That quote isn't that hard to parse Peter. Jesus Christ

  • Jessi||

    Grasping at straws much?

  • Rockabilly||

    L :^) L

  • No Yards Penalty||

    Most likely scenario: Trump is a fucking retard.


    Interesting article. Another hypothesis: Trump simply doesn't know what "obliterate" means.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    "If all this sounds somewhat muddled and confused, that's probably because, when it comes to health care, Republicans don't really know what they think."

    Do Republicans really know what they think about almost anything?


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online