October 25, 2016

During an interview on Fox News, Donald Trump proved he has absolutely no idea what the ACA is, what it does, or what "Obamacare" actually is.

"Well, I don't use much ObamaCare personally, I must be honest with you, because it is so bad for the people and they can't afford it," he began.

That simply makes no sense, as any of us who have actually bought a policy on the exchange know. But wait, there's more. Because there's always more.

"I'm at the Trump National Doral in Miami, and we don't even use ObamaCare," he went on.

Well of course he doesn't use exchange policies, which is what I'm assuming he means by ObamaCare, since he's a large employer and is expected to provide health care for his employees through an employer plan. According to an article on the Huffington Post, the full-time employees at Trump National Doral have pretty good health care plans, but part of the reason they're as good as they are is because of the consumer protections baked into the ACA.

Trump blathered on, "I spend more money on health coverage, but we don't use [Obamacare]. So you know, when they interviewed those people, they're happy with their health coverage -- that's because they work for me."

They like their coverage because it conforms to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which lifted lifetime coverage limits, ended pre-existing conditions exclusions, and requires minimum levels of coverage. He forgot to mention that part.

Adding icing to the ignorance cake, he said, "I take care of my employees but the people that have to use -- they're forced to use ObamaCare -- it's catastrophic. It's a disaster. It's a disaster for them. They can't afford it."

It's true that the ACA needs some tweaking. I've written about this before. The subsidy levels need to come up for single people, the markets overall need a national public option, and people over 55 should have some sort of option to buy into Medicare early. These are all things that would help force costs down and keep Americans healthier.

But with all of that said, it's hardly a disaster. Hardly. People's lives are being saved. Dying is a disaster. Paying for health insurance, often with government assistance, is not a disaster. It's a necessity.

Trump did finally get to his main point in this little monologue, when he said, "The country can't afford it. Believe it or not, it's on both ends. The country can't afford it, and the people can't afford it."

He concluded by comparing the defense budget to the health care budget. The two are not comparable on any level. And yes, the country absolutely can afford it. The only issue here is keeping it affordable for people who need it.

By the way, even though the double-digit increase in premiums isn't pretty, they're falling in line exactly where the CBO predicted they would in 2017, and the increases overall are about half of what they would have been without the Affordable Care Act and the consumer protections it locked into place.

We would be paying more for far, far less. Even if we don't expect Trump to be dealing in facts, the rest of us should be.

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