During his appearance with Anderson Cooper last night, Donald Trump spoke about Obamacare. His discussion was barely coherent. Streiff at Red State correctly describes it as “a dumpster fire of nitwit-ish blather.”
But Trump did manage one straightforward, on-point declarative sentence. He said: “I like the mandate.”
As Streiff says, it is “hard to get any further from the mainstream of conservative and Republican philosophy or the national mood than supporting the ObamaCare mandate.” Indeed, Trump has ripped Ted Cruz for backing the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts, whose main “sin” was casting the decisive vote to uphold the mandate.
Why does Trump like the mandate? Because, he says, “I don’t want people dying on the streets.” Trump doesn’t explain the relationship between the mandate and the prevention of death on the streets.
Judging by his rant, Trump believes the mandate prevents “the bottom people that haven’t done well, people that don’t have any money” from dying due to lack of health insurance. But these people are covered by Medicaid (and were pre-Obamacare). Moreover, people in danger of “dying on the streets” have access to treatment, mandate or not, in emergency rooms.
Some have explained the rise of Trump on the theory that Republicans made promises about what they would accomplish in Congress that didn’t keep. Foremost among the promises cited is the repeal of Obamacare.
Yet Trump supports the main and most coercive feature of Obamacare — the individual mandate. Apparently, he just wants to do Obamacare better, in a way that, as he puts it, will be “inexpensive” and “much better for the people.” Presumably, he will find “great people” to implement his statist project.
The good news is that Trump’s position on health care is probably to the right Bernie Sanders’ approach. The bad news is that it seems to be to the left of Hillary Clinton’s.