obamacare tax reform Trump

Trump Ready To Sign Executive Order On Obamacare Mandate, But Will Wait And See If Republicans Screw Up Tax Bill With It First

"The Trump administration has prepared an executive order that would unravel Obamacare's individual mandate, but"...

Oh, good: Trump is going to go ahead and undercut the nation’s health care system some more.

At this point, it is abundantly clear that this administration’s entire raison d’être revolves around erasing Barack Obama’s legacy.

To be sure, it was always about that to a certain extent, but it kind of feels like the more desperate Trump gets, the more he resorts to spiteful efforts to unravel Obama-era policies without regard for the consequences. It’s almost as though he believes the propaganda that Obama is running a shadow government that’s in on some kind of conspiracy to undermine the current administration and so Trump is now tilting at windmills in a Quixote-esque effort to gain the upper hand in an imaginary struggle.

This dynamic is supercharged when he thinks undercutting an Obama-era policy might do something (or as he would put it: “DO SOMETHING!”) to advance his own stalled agenda. Witness this, out this morning from the Examiner:

The Trump administration has prepared an executive order that would unravel Obamacare’s individual mandate, but has put it on hold to see whether it might be included in the Republican tax bill instead, a GOP senator told the Washington Examiner.

According to the senator, an executive order is sitting with the Office of Management and Budget waiting for approval. President Trump decided to delay the executive order after Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., pushed for the inclusion of the individual mandate repeal in the tax bill, and has been supportive of its inclusion in statements he has made on Twitter.


Including repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill instead of through executive order would create billions in budget savings that Republicans need to pay for tax cuts. According to a Congressional Budget Office report published in December 2016, repeal of the individual mandate would save $416 billion over a decade, since it would mean fewer people would be enrolled in Medicaid and fewer subsidy payments would go to people who sign up for private coverage. A new CBO report is expected Monday.

The repeal is not currently in the tax bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but House Speaker Paul Ryan said this weekend that it was on the negotiation table among House Republicans.

“We have an active conversation with our members on a whole host of ideas on things to add to this bill and that’s one of the things being discussed,” he said.

The senator who spoke to the Washington Examiner, who asked to remain anonymous, thinks colleagues could embrace repeal in the tax bill, because the revenue generated “pays for so many tax cuts.”

Got that? They’re going to repeal the individual mandate so they can give tax cuts to the rich.

Obviously that’s an overgeneralization and it’s certainly not the most generous interpretation, but give me a break – this is just another example of undermining something before you have a solution. It’s myopic – the GOP is chasing short-term legislative wins with no regard for the long-term consequences. If you want to get rid of Obamacare that’s fine, but you’ve got to figure out how to do it right because after all, one of the main criticisms of Obamacare was that it wasn’t done right in the first place.

Of course if they try to attach this to the tax bill, it will invariably complicate things further and make it less likely that the GOP can cram something on taxes through by the end of the year.

That right there underscores the absurdity inherent in this whole thing. They are now trying to attach something they failed to get done earlier this year onto something they’re trying to get done now, and in doing so they’re making it more likely that they’ll fail again.

And, if they don’t include it in the bill, well then Trump will just sign an executive order and make the whole thing even more chaotic.

Summed up…



6 comments on “Trump Ready To Sign Executive Order On Obamacare Mandate, But Will Wait And See If Republicans Screw Up Tax Bill With It First

  1. I will lose all hope in Americans, if Trump is voted in for a second term. Looking at his support base, it is a possibility as they seem to enjoy being taken advantage of.

    • He won’t make it through the first term……

      • I really would love to see him in handcuffs leaving the WH but his life’s behavior is to run and let anyone else take the fall. I got a gut feeling he will resign and blame everything on all the people who failed him. My hope is that Mueller will have enough evidence that trump was directly involved in treason. I think that connection is his lawyer Cohen and Mike Flynn.

    • The unpleasant truth is that today’s white non-college educated working class person is not your grandfather’s white non-college educated working class person.
      Eighty years ago, there were many very intelligent people who did not attend college because of financial circumstances or because of discrimination against their race, religion or gender. Henry George, arguably the most brilliant American economist of the 19th century, left school at age 14. President Harry Truman was not a college graduate.
      Today, with many exceptions, someone under the age of forty who was never interested in college probably is not very smart. That makes them vulnerable to the lies that got Trump elected. Even some with college educations are not able to understand that NAFTA and trade agreements in general increase employment and standards of living and that immigrants are not responsible for slow economic growth. Democrats can never hope to lie better than Trump.

  2. Communism which once prevailed in the entire “second world” persists today only in North Korea and Cuba. Communism failed because of the basic laws of supply and demand which form the basis of economics. Among developed nations, market-priced medical care persists only in the USA. It is those same fundamental principles of economics, not humanitarian concerns, which will eventually end market-priced medical care in the USA. Investors who ignore this do so at their peril.

    For 75 years, it was said that Roosevelt’s New Deal saved capitalism. By softening the rough edges of the free market capitalism with reforms such as social security and unemployment insurance, FDR may have prevented adoption of much more radical changes.

    75 years from today it is unlikely that anyone will think Obama saved market-priced medical care. Rather, he only prolonged it, and that will not be thought of as a good thing. In the developed world, market-priced medical care still exists only in the USA. It is only a matter of time until market-priced medical care joins communism, slavery, racial segregation and fascism as systems that no longer exist in developed nations.
    The USA is the last holdout with market-priced medical care not only because of any inherent conservative or free market ideology. Rather, as the wealthiest nation that ever existed we are the last ones who can afford it. Switzerland was one of the last advanced economies to abandon market-priced medical care. It is arguably a greater bastion of conservatism than the USA. Switzerland’s women were not granted the right to vote until 1971.

    During the debate as to whether Switzerland would abandon market-priced medical care there was considerable concern about how it would affect the major Swiss pharmaceutical giants such as Hoffmann-La Roche (RHHBY) and Novartis (NYSE:NVS) which was Sandoz prior to the merger with Ciba in 1996. However, it was then realized that the Swiss pharmaceutical giants made much of their profits in the American market.

    The reason that no nation, including the wealthiest can allow markets to set the prices of medical care indefinitely is that demand for medical care is inelastic. Demand for a good or service is inelastic if a percentage increase in price results in a smaller percentage decrease in the quantity demanded. Basic economics tells us that sellers facing inelastic demand will continuously raise prices until prices reach the elastic portion of the demand curve. Consequently in every developed country in the world, all goods or services with inelastic demand have their prices regulated by government. Medical care in the USA being the only exception.

    Health care is one of the very few things for which the sellers face inelastic demand. The prices of all other goods and services facing inelastic demand in the USA are regulated by government. Retail electricity service providers face inelastic demand. Consequently, their prices are strictly controlled by all governments worldwide, including the USA.

    The inelasticity of retail electricity is obvious. If Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED) or any other electric utility were to triple retail service prices, people might be a little more careful about turning off the lights. Turning off their refrigerators? Watching less television? Not likely. Thus, tripling the price would result in only a small reduction in kilowatt-hours sold. Almost all other goods and services are price elastic. That includes non-medically necessary elective cosmetic and lasik surgery whose prices have actually relatively decreased over time. Medical care in the USA is the only instance in any developed country where any product facing inelastic demand is not substantially price regulated.

    Medical prices are controlled in various ways in the rest of the developed world. In Japan, the land of $100 melons and tiny $10,000 per month apartments, all medical care prices are listed in a book, thicker than the Manhattan telephone directory. The prices set in the book are usually less than a third of those in the USA. An MRI that costs $1,200 in the USA costs $88 in Japan. Japanese insurance companies are private as are most doctors. Japan spends less than a third per capita on medical care than America. However, the Japanese are greater consumers of medical care than Americans. They visit doctors and hospitals more often, have much more diagnostic tests such as MRIs. They also have better health outcomes as measured by all metrics such as life expectancy. They also wait less for treatment than Americans do as Japanese doctors work much longer hours for their much lower incomes.

    Japan’s explicit price controls are roughly emulated in other countries via the use monopsonistic systems. Monopsony, meaning “single buyer” is the flip side of monopoly. A monopolist sets prices above free market equilibrium. A monopsonist sets prices below free market equilibrium. It does not matter if there is an actual single payer or many buyers (or payers) whose prices are set by the government or by insurance companies in collusion with each other. More competition among sellers generally leads to lower prices. However, more competition among buyers leads to higher prices. In the health insurance industry the beneficial effects of more insurance companies competing for patients are far outweighed by the adverse effects of insurance companies competing for doctors and hospitals in their HMO plans. This was completely misunderstood during the recent debate on health care reform. With health care, more competition among insurance companies on balance results in higher prices…”

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