Donald Trump is getting ready for another healthcare push, and his fellow Republicans are unthrilled. Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “we already have the concept of the plan” for “phenomenal health care” that will be “less expensive than Obamacare by a lot.” This plan will be announced in “about two months. Maybe less,” he told Stephanopoulos at one point, or “a month,” as he told him a few sentences later.
What has Republicans nervous here is that their past efforts to overturn Obamacare and pass their own plan haven’t gone so well, on policy or politics, and there’s no reason to believe that’s going to change. “The president has repeatedly promised something better than the A.C.A. but has never come up with a plan himself, and the congressional plans he endorsed were definitely not better for everyone,” as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt very politely put it. Not only that, but “the challenge has been that the president has not only avoided proposing a specific plan, but has made promises that no plan could ever fulfill.”
Once Trump comes out with an actual plan, Democrats can highlight the distance between it and the promises he’s been making all along. So, as The New York Times puts it, “nervous Republicans worry that putting out a concrete plan with no chance of passage would only give the Democrats a target to pick apart over the next year.” That’s after health care was a key issue that helped Democrats win the House in 2018—and as Democrats now organize around the issue: “Over the weekend, 140 House Democrats, more than half of the party’s caucus, held events or online town halls to talk about health care, their largest coordinated action in districts since winning the majority.”
As long as Trump is supporting a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, Democrats will have an easy way to demonstrate to voters that he still opposes protecting health care. But one way Trump could make it even easier to show how bad he is on the issue would be to put out his own disaster of a plan.