Someone needs to bait Trump on his "repeal and replace OmabaCare on day one" promise. Instead Democrats are looking at ways to soften the blow of a repeal for him.
January 8, 2017

I know the D.C. Democrats are busy running around trying to find their next job and tickets to concerts but Christ on a crutch why isn't anyone baiting Trump about his "repeal and replace" ObamaCare promise?

Credit: Neil Tackaberry, Creative Commons license

At least get some people out there who can tell us what a straight up repeal would mean and what's going to happen next. Give us some scenarios like my hero Wendell Potter did here

Explain that what Americans faced before Obamacare will come rushing back, the insurance industry abuses, the crummy coverage, the out of control prices.  That's what repeal is. "But, but the law!" Well tell us exactly what can't be done and what CAN be done.

The problem is that the media lets Trump and his spokespeople off the hook time and time again for not having a plan and how they are making promises they can't keep..

DJT Tweet found using great new tool of Trump tweets, interviews, videos, transcripts and offical statements.

Why are the democrats giving him more time? He has had over a year to come up with a replacement plan. Stop cutting him slack damn it! Every day they delay lets him prepare and lets the industry help him to the soft landing they want.

 "But but he's not even in office yet!" So what? Is he going to do in two weeks what he couldn't do in 18 months? No. He's going to ask for an extension and get it. Do we wait for the extension? Hell no! People need to stop moping around.

It's not really that hard to get under Trump's skin. And, for all I know there are a bunch of unemployed Clinton healthcare strategists planning a big push back to be unleashed Tuesday morning.  If so, great, I want a cookie if I predicted it. But I don't see anything yet.

This week I've been listening to Sam Seder and Cliff Schecter talking about how Trump won't be able to really repeal ObamaCare, how he'll declare a win and kick the can down the road till 2019, 3 years away.  Any problems in the continuing system will be blamed on Obamacare.  He'll blame Democrats for all the bad stuff still there and if he is forced to keep any good stuff, that's because he negotiated a great deal with the industry.

Taking credit for other people's success and avoiding blame: a perfect Trump "win." And he'll get away with it too because there are no "meddling kids" pushing him to overreact and tear off his mask.

Credit: NOBama NoMas Creative Commons license
On the other hand, the healthcare industry does have a strategy and a narrative. In this insightful piece last month from Joey Rettino he explains what they are doing.

Repeal Obamacare? GOP Should Be Careful What They Wish For

The PR shops will help Republicans convince the public they’ve repealed and replaced the law when all they will have done is tweak it to the satisfaction of a few lobbyists — in particular, lobbyists for the health-insurance industry. So much for draining the swamp.

We are already seeing this in the form of comments from KellyAnne Conway.

The reason Republican leaders have called in the PR pros is because of what they undoubtedly have been hearing from my former colleagues in the health insurance business: If they rush to repeal ObamaCare and think they can replace it with a plan based on those ideas, they’ll have a PR nightmare on their hands in no time flat. And it won’t help to postpone the replacement for a couple of years. The uncertainty created would lead insurers to abandon the ObamaCare exchanges well before two years had passed.

As that reality sinks in, party leaders will draft legislation that will be based on the insurance industry’s wish list and try to sell it as making good on their repeal-and-replace campaign promise. Among the items on that wish list: allowing insurers to once again charge people in their 40s, 50s and 60s far more than younger people for the exact same coverage, letting them once again take the status of an applicant’s health into consideration when pricing their policies and making it legal again for them to sell inadequate or even worthless coverage to gullible Americans.

This scenario makes sense to me, because the lobbyists and the Republicans are expected to act as they always act. But nobody seems to get that Trump can't be counted on to play the same game. 

Everyone is assuming that he'll listen to reason. They also don't want to be the one who pushes him into doing something rash. So now people are helping him soften the blow--for various reasons ranging from noble: saving lives, the overall good of the people, to the more craven: their career or the bottom line.

Nobody wants to be the one who forces Trump to actually do what he promises because they know real people will die if that happens. I can't tell you how many times I hear people say that "somebody" will stop him.

BTW, Trump was never a governor in a death penalty state. He has had no military service leadership where a mistake means people die.
Has Trump ever been personally responsible for people dying? What about people he liked dying?  Has he ever ordered people to their deaths? Ordering someone to kill "the enemy" or "bad dudes" is different than being responsible when the good guys die because of your actions. 

 Americans aren't very good at "Imagine this terrible thing happening. Now do something about it so it doesn't happen." Remember, "Osama determined to strike...?" We are better at, "Holy CRAP! That terrible thing happened, why didn't we do something? Never mind, we need to fix this, right now!"

Right now insurance industry lobbyists are trying to keep the "good stuff" (aka profits) from ACA while their PR people are trying to make Trump look like he's doing what he promised. There are other groups that are helping to keep things running the same, they range from doctors worried about patients to Pharma worried about patents.

For this to work smoothly it requires Democrats to play along. And they will, because they hope the "good stuff for the people" won't be taken away. The don't want to use the leverage of people who will die as a negotiation tool (damn guilty conscience!).

Can someone please call Trump on his bullshit and describe what an actual "repeal without replace on day one"would mean? It would be a shitstorm of death and financial chaos.  Actual people would die. Instead Democrats are looking at ways to soften the blow of a repeal for him.

This is all doable, and we saw a bit of it in Joe Biden's interview with the PBS Newshour's Judy Woodruff (story here)

There are multiple reasons the Democrats won't push Trump and will allow him to position Democrats as the bad guys because they are trying to keep the health care insurance industry happy. A big one is they don't want to piss off future donors.

I describe how to bait Trump and make the healthcare insurance industry the bad guys in part two of this post at Spocko's Brain. I detail what kind of info and from whom it would take to work. (See sub head, Out of sight, out of your mind

I'm all for telling powerful stories. The problem here is that most people think that telling stories of Trump voters losing health care will touch him. Appealing to his empathy for poor uninsured won't work. You have to appeal to his winning/losing side with people he wants respect from.

You have to use the right bait for the right kind of fish. You don't use a Neilson ratings book as bait for a shark. Real sharks don't care about inedible, meaningless sheets of paper.

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