Somebody do something!
“You can rely on the Americans to do the right thing after they’ve exhausted all alternatives,” the line attributed to Winston Churchill. Is this the time to fulfill the prophecy? Is President Trump the somebody to lead the way? It makes sense to me.
In 1948, England established its National Health Service, the largest and oldest publicly funded universal health system in the world. Ever since, it’s been the ogre for our derision as socialism and socialized medicine.
Since it began, efforts have been underway here, led by both Republicans and Democrats, presidents and in Congress, to develop a similar version that fits our culture. Every advance towards providing universal health care has met with kicking and screaming about gloom, doom and socialism.
Nevertheless, in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid legislation. In 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Modernization law that included a prescription drug benefit. And in 2010, President Obama signed The Affordable Care Act: Obamacare.
Continuing the rumble, Republicans have been relentless in pitiful attempts to repeal Obamacare. Depending on how you count, the House of Representatives has voted between 6 and 50 times to repeal it. Repealing Obamacare was the central focus of the 2016 Republican presidential and congressional electoral campaigns.
It was the first order of legislative business following President Trump’s inauguration. The proposed Republican Obamacare replacement bill was a massive tax cut for the super wealthy vaguely camouflaged as a health care bill. It would have taken away health insurance for 24 million poor and near-poor people and raised costs for many others.
It met with immediate disapproval in and outside of Congress. Attempts to sweeten it for extremists resulted in making it even less popular. Finally, when there was no hope for approval, it was withdrawn. Obamacare stands as the law of the land.
So where has all the ruckus over health care since 1948 gotten us? England’s health care costs today are slightly less than half of ours. In a recent survey of health care satisfaction in thirteen socio-economically advanced nations, England was first. We were last. And in the latest World Health Organization’s ranking of nations’ health and health care systems, we rank 37th, just below Costa Rica and just above Slovenia.
Clearly, someday somebody will have to do something to rescue us from ourselves regarding health care. Is this the day? Is President Trump the person? Let’s look at that possibility.
We know that Mr. Trump considers himself a shrewd deal maker. He concentrates only on winning. He seems little interested in abstract principles like establishing a perfect world. He’s charismatic and expects to be the center of attention.
He’s like the old-time “Come to Jesus” tent-revival preacher. Amping up public support for something called “Trumpcare” would be like a day at the beach for him.
We know Democrats want to get some form of universal health care with public funding passed. And we know Republicans haven’t figured out how to let go of being an opposition party and embrace governing. They are humiliated by failure of their health care proposal.
If President Trump gets ideas and builds on support from Democrats, he can probably get enough Republicans in Congress to buy into putting together a new, better health care law.
If that happens, he becomes the new Mohammad Ali, “the greatest,” of politics. He will have eclipsed Obamacare and won’t have to hope it explodes. He will have established Trumpcare’s prime place in U.S. history.
I bet all of my 50 cent maximum he’s already thought of that.