the national interest

Trump Budget Director ‘Not Yet Ready to Reveal’ Obamacare Replacement

Russell Vought. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Donald Trump ran for office promising a health-care plan that would cover everybody, cost less money to individuals and the government, and provide superior coverage. It turned out he had no such plan. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” he quickly admitted.

Since 2009, Republicans have been promising that they can design health-care plan that can do all the things Obamacare does without costing anybody anything, if only we scrap Obamacare and start over. When Obama was in office, they used Obama’s refusal to go along with this strategy as a reason not to produce their plan to do it. When Trump took office, their bluff was called.

Through a year of feverish efforts to design something that would carry out at least some of his promises, Trump never developed a plan that would do any of the things he said. The closest they came was a Senate bill that would have repealed Obamacare and left the replacement plan to be determined at a later time. In the meantime, the administration is pursuing a legal strategy to repeal Obamacare, which would throw millions off their coverage and allow insurers to charge higher prices or refuse coverage to patients with preexisting conditions. Trump’s 2020 budget proposes an additional $844 billion in cuts to health-care subsidies.

Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought testified about Trump’s planned cuts. A Democrat asked Vought how Trump plans to protect patients with preexisting conditions when he is fighting in court to remove those protections, has no alternative means to protect them, and wants to cut nearly a trillion dollars in funding to cover people. Vought explained there will be a plan to do all those things. Trump just didn’t include it in the budget for some reason.

“The president is working on his own plan that we’re not yet ready to reveal,” Vought said. “It will be fully reflected in what he comes forward with.”

Just wait! The terrific plan is coming! Trump has only had three years to design it — don’t rush him. Why the plan has to remain secret, Vought did not say, but probably Trump just loves surprises and doesn’t want to spoil the look of wonder on the faces of the American people when he finally comes forward with his Obamacare replacement.

Trump ‘Not Yet Ready to Reveal’ His Obamacare Replacement