Trump: Letting Obamacare implode on its own ‘certainly an option’
President Donald Trump on Monday warned that Republicans “are putting themselves in a very bad position” by repealing and replacing Obamacare and said that letting it “implode” is still an option.
Trump blasted Obamacare on Monday morning, telling so-called “victims” of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act that “a lot of people in the Senate and a lot of people in the House are committed to repealing and replacing this disastrous law with a health care plan that lowers cost, expands choice and ensures access for everyone.”
“The Republicans, frankly, are putting themselves in a very bad position — I tell this to Tom Price all the time — by repealing Obamacare,” Trump said during a White House listening session. “Because people aren’t gonna see the truly devastating effects of Obamacare. They’re not gonna see the devastation. In ’17 and ’18 and ’19, it’ll be gone by then. Whether we do it or not, it’ll be imploded off the map.”
Trump, who referenced the law as “the very, very failed and failing Obamacare law,” maintained his position that Obamacare is “imploding” and suggested it would cease to exist if Republicans simply did nothing.
“I’ve been telling you why don’t we wait, just let it implode and let’s not take the blame,” Trump said to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who along with Vice President Mike Pence attended the listening session and made brief remarks. “I’ve been telling you that as an option. It’s not an option I like, frankly, but it’s certainly an option.”
Trump’s comments echo one aspect of a tweet published by both his personal and presidential Twitter accounts.
“ObamaCare is imploding,” Trump said from both accounts in a tweet that came via iPhone, indicating that a staffer actually sent it. “It is a disaster and 2017 will be the worst year yet, by far! Republicans will come together and save the day.”
At the White House, Trump accused the media of undermining the GOP’s repeal effort by misrepresenting the health care law, which he slammed for its premium hikes and limited insurers.
“The press is making Obamacare look so good all of a sudden,” Trump said. “They’re showing these reports about this one gets so much and this one gets so much. First of all, it covers very few people, and it’s imploding. And ’17 will be the worst year. And I said it once; I’ll say it again: because Obama’s gone.”
Defending the president’s criticism, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that Obamacare is failing on its own. But media coverage, he argued, “makes it seem like it’s all rainbows and puppies.”
“At the end of the day, if you have a card and you’re getting a subsidy but you’re not getting care, you have nothing,” he said.
Contrary to Trump’s comment that Obamacare covers few people, 20 million Americans gained coverage under it. Millions, however, could lose coverage under the Republican replacement plan, which hasn’t been scored by the Congressional Budget Office to estimate its cost and how many people could lose coverage.
Trump last week also claimed Obamacare was a ticking time bomb set to detonate in 2017, once he was no longer in the White House.
“Things are gonna be very bad this year for the people with Obamacare,” he added Monday. “They’re gonna have tremendous increases.”
Likening favorable coverage of Obamacare, which surveys show has become increasingly popular, to Obama himself, Trump blamed the media for “making it look so wonderful.”
He suggested that the media narrative is favoring Obamacare so that if Republicans repeal it, people will remember how “great” and “wonderful” Obamacare used to be.
“It’s a little bit like President Obama. When he left, people liked him,” Trump said. “When he was here, people didn’t like him so much. That’s the way life goes. That’s human nature. The fact is Obamacare is a disaster, and by — and I say this to the Republicans all the time — by repealing it, by getting rid of it, by ending it, everyone’s gonna say, ‘Oh, it used to be so great.’ But it wasn’t great.”
“And I tell Tom Price and I tell Paul Ryan, I tell every one of them, the best thing you can do politically is wait a year because it’s gonna blow itself off the map, but that’s the wrong thing to do for the country,” he continued. “It’s the wrong thing to for our citizens.”
Trump has endorsed House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, but even as it advances through committees en route to the House floor, some GOP members of Congress have said they can’t support it while others have warned it won’t pass the Senate.
“The House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare will provide you and your fellow citizens with more choices — far more choices — at lower costs,” Trump promised Monday. He said the embattled House legislation will allow Americans to pick their plan and doctor.
“They’ll be able to do a lot of things that the other plan was supposed to give and it never gave,” he said, pointing to Obama’s claims that people could pick their plan and keep their doctor. “We’re not going to have one-size-fits-all. Instead, we’re going to be working to unleash the power of the private marketplace to let insurers come in and compete for your business. And you’ll see rates go down, down, down, and you’ll see plans go up, up, up. You’ll have a lot of choices. You’ll have plans that nobody’s even thinking of today. They will have plans that today nobody has even thought about because the market’s going to import that with millions and millions of people wanting health care.”