Trump-Care Newspeak

Republican Inversion of Truth


Image via Jaymes Grundmann

Collage titled “Waffle House Mentality” compiled by Jaymes Grundmann

Jaymes Grundmann, Reporter

In President Donald Trump’s USA Today op-ed, “Democrats ‘Medicare for All’ Plan Will Demolish Promises to Seniors,” he argues that Medicare for All would both destroy healthcare and cost too much. Besides some misleading and outright false statistics, his only evidence is red-scare fear mongering rhetoric like “…every single citizen will be harmed by such a radical shift in American culture and life. Virtually everywhere it has been tried, socialism has brought suffering, misery and decay.”

In reality there are 58 countries with universal healthcare and the United States is the only first-world nation without it.

Trump’s purpose is to equate public utilities with Stalinism to further deregulate the private health insurance industry. In theory, his audience is the American people, but since his evidence is so flimsy he’s just hoping to rile up his dedicated Republican base.

Right off the bat, Trump’s entire argument begins with a flat-out lie: “Throughout the year, we have seen Democrats across the country uniting around a new legislative proposal that would end Medicare as we know it and take away benefits that seniors have paid for their entire lives.” Here he’s making a false equivalency, arguing that changing this policy it will ruin it for senior citizens.

The new Democratic proposal wouldn’t take benefits away from anyone. In fact, it would expand those benefits and make them available to everyone. It’s called Medicare for All, not No Medicare for Seniors. This makes it clear that he’s manipulatively trying to stretch the truth to frighten elderly voters who desperately depend on their Medicare.

President Trump’s first misleading use of statistics is when he cites a Mercatus Center report on the cost of Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Bill: “The Democratic proposal would establish a government-run, single-payer health care system that eliminates all private and employer-based health care plans and would cost an astonishing $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years.”

While the $32.6 trillion estimate is an accurate calculation, Trump fails to mention that the cost is much less than our current healthcare system. As Matt Bruenig points out in his People’s Policy Project article, “…the same estimate with the scary $32.6 trillion figure they were promoting to all the journalists in the country also said that the US could insure 30 million more Americans, virtually eliminate out-of-pocket expenses, and cover dental, vision, and hearing care for everyone all while spending $2 trillion less over the next 10 years.”

Clearly, Trump is trying to deceive the reader, hoping that the shock value from seeing such a large number will scare them away from further research on the subject.

Throughout the op-ed, President Trump claims that the Medicare for All proposal will outlaw all private insurance. This just isn’t true. According to Dr. Abdul Al-Sayed from Current Affairs, “Current versions of the proposal only prohibit sale of private plans that offer duplicate coverage of services already covered under Medicare-for-All.”

Once you take into account how excellent Medicare benefits are compared to the astronomical deductables and unclear benefits of private plans, private insurance would become unnecessary if the policy was implemented. People would still be able to purchase high-end specialized plans to cover things like breast augmentation and acupuncture but most Americans would be satisfied with Medicare. There’s no need to ban something when people have access to a safer and more inexpensive alternative.

Towards the end of the article, Trump’s argument devolves into sheer nationalist dog whistling. “Indeed, the Democrats’ commitment to government-run health care is all the more menacing to our seniors and our economy when paired with some Democrats’ absolute commitment to end enforcement of our immigration laws by abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That means millions more would cross our borders illegally and take advantage of health care paid for by American taxpayers. Today’s Democratic Party is for open-borders socialism.”

This is nothing but a slippery slope argument and a far-reaching exaggeration of the Democratic Party’s platform on immigration law. There isn’t a single Democratic politician who has advocated the end of immigration law enforcement and there are only a handful who are pushing to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While Trump would like you to think of immigrants as a parasitic drain on societies’ resources, the opposite is true. According to economist Max B. Sawicky from the Economic Policy Institute, “Immigrants pay taxes: payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, user fees, lottery tickets. Adding insult to injury, if they are undocumented, their return on payroll taxes is a big fat zero: their earnings do not qualify them for Social Security. That actually means more for the rest of us, inverting the typical prejudice.”

Clearly Trump’s only reason for bringing up immigration is to throw a bone to his xenophobic base.

Critiquing our President’s views on healthcare is uniquely challenging. Every argument produced by his fast food fueled, TV addled brain is either devoid of fact, or an inversion of truth. He lies so frequently and with such impunity that it’s dizzying trying to keep up with all of it.

Rather than make any form of compromise or grow as a human being, Trump chooses to craft his own reality. This is incredibly dangerous when it comes to something as important as healthcare. We live in the richest country on earth, yet a surprise illness or medical condition can bankrupt an entire family People consistently die of treatable causes because they just couldn’t afford to see a doctor. We’re the only developed nation where this regularly happens. This is morally repugnant. It’s time that we decide to put the health of the American people over the wealth of a handful of fat-cat billionaire oligarchs.