Sunday marked the second anniversary of the glorious day that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump promised Americans he wouldn’t cut Social Security, Medicare—or even Medicaid. That’s Republican heresy, especially the last part. Analyst after analyst who wanted to see economic anxiety, not just racial, ethnic, and cultural tribalism, behind Trump’s appeal put that promise forth as one key to his popularity among white working-class voters, who helped give him his Electoral College wins in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Here’s the Tweet.
I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2015
GOP leaders celebrated the second anniversary of Trump’s lie to his base voters by lying their way through the Sunday shows about Trumpcare. And why not? They’re taking a page from their president, believing they can hide the cruelties of their bill behind platitudes, self-righteousness, and outright misrepresentation. Still, while it’s satisfying to mock their lies, progressives also need to realize: We thought this bill was dead weeks ago. We didn’t stop it. It’s now going to the Senate, where we were sure, weeks ago, they’d stop any bad thing the House passed. Now that’s not so certain. I think we need to update our assumptions.
Republicans are lying so flagrantly because they know they’re doing something awful, and it looks that way even to their own voters. But we also have to realize: Somehow they’ve managed to shift the political dynamics from “My constituents will punish me if I take away their health care” to “My constituents will punish me if I break my promise to repeal Obamacare.” That’s why the GOP wants to lie, and claim the bill won’t take away anyone’s health care. The media is already covering it poorly; let’s hope we can change that. But this is a dangerous shift.
Back to the cavalcade of lies. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who recently admitted dreaming of cutting Medicaid over keggers in college, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the bill the House GOP narrowly passed protects people with preexisting conditions. “Under this bill, no matter what, you cannot be denied coverage if you have a preexisting condition.”
This is what moral people call a “lie,” Paul Ryan. The $8 billion the bill added for states who choose to let insurance companies opt out of their duty to cover people with preexisting conditions—to create the sorts of high-risk pools that failed in most states, and led to the passage of Obamacare—is a fraction of what full, affordable coverage would require.
Ryan also huffed about the “bogus attack from the left,” complaining that the House hadn’t waited for the Congressional Budget Office to lay out the impact of the new bill. He claimed it only represented minor changes to the one already scored by the CBO. That’s not really true: The CBO will also presumably tell us whether the added $8 billion is enough to cover everyone with preexisting conditions, and more about the other “minor” changes to the bill that passed. No wonder Ryan couldn’t wait.