Donald Trump, Canadian health care, and the public option.


OK, let’s walk you through this one.  Here is a piece of that ruthless anti-Trump ad that’s running right in Iowa right now:

trump single-payer 1

“Universal, single-payer, government-run health insurance forced upon Iowans that the ‘government is going to pay for.'” That is the quote from the ad: it references this CBS interview.  Pay attention to the actual language: it will be important later.


Scott Pelley: Universal health care?

Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.

Scott Pelley: The uninsured person is going to be taken care of how?

Donald Trump: They’re going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably–

Scott Pelley: Make a deal? Who pays for it?

Donald Trump: –the government’s gonna pay for it. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.

I will forestall objections by agreeing that the quote oversells, a little. What Donald Trump is describing here is his support for either a public option (government-run health care insurance company), or something like a drastic national expansion of Medicaid (“free” public health care).  Neither of which is really compatible with his stated support for ‘repealing and replacing Obamacare,’ given that the former goes further to the Left than even Obamacare did, and something like the latter was part of Obamacare until the US Supreme Court backhanded the Obama administration at the same time it was backhanding the administration over disrespecting the limits of the Commerce Clause. And I say that it oversells by only a little because everybody reading this knows perfectly well that the long term objective of either the public option, or drastic Medicaid expansion, was to weaken private health insurance to the point where ‘universal health care’ became the only way to keep the entire edifice from collapsing.


In other words: a single-payer, Canadian-style health care system.  So, now that we’ve got that set up: George Stephanopoulos brought this up with Donald Trump in a phone interview – I can’t really blame Trump for continuing to only do phone interviews, but I can blame Stephanopolous for not having the guts to make Trump show up in person – and this was Trump’s response:

“Look, Ted Cruz is a total liar. I am so against Obamacare. I’ve been saying it for two years in my speeches I’m going to repeal and replace Obamacare. I don’t even know where he gets this but he’s a liar…” [What follows is an accusation against Cruz, a sneer against Cruz’s endorsements, a bunch of words about how all those Senators will be endorsing Trump soon, bragging about Trump’s own endorsements, and eventually Stephanopolous manages to drag it back to Trump’s past endorsement of single-payer health care] “…we have to help people, but that doesn’t mean single payer, that means we have to help people…”

Well, as the Right Scoop notes: it’s very possible that Ted Cruz believes that he got it from, well, Donald Trump.

“The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans… We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.”


That’s from a 2011 article on, in part, the never-went-anywhere Trump 2000 Presidential campaign (where Trump was running to get the Reform Party nomination). Now, you may feel that the man has legitimately changed his opinion on the subject since then, and that’s fine. People do change their opinions. Except that Donald Trump hasn’t.  Donald Trump advocated either a public option, or federal Medicaid expansion, earlier this year.  We have long known that the Left considers both to be useful stepping stones on the path to a Canadian single-payer health system.  I don’t blame Ted Cruz at all for not believing that Donald Trump has really given up his love of the Canadian health care system, largely because I don’t think that I particularly believe Donald Trump, either. I certainly don’t think that the man’s made things clear.

At any rate: there is no call for Trump to call Cruz a total liar. At absolute worst Ted Cruz simply isn’t sure what Donald Trump is trying to say, largely because Donald Trump keeps saying different things that contradict each other.  Which is nobody’s fault except Donald Trump’s.

Moe Lane

PS: A Trump supporter reading this may decide that all of this is irrelevant. That is his or her privilege. But the rest of us would love it if those particular Trump supporters at least admit that to them, their support is based on the principal, and not the principle. Every so often an occasional 2008 Obama supporter would at least cop to that



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