Politically speaking, one of the most glaring problems with the American Health Care Act, the Republican Party’s proposed Obamacare replacement bill, is that its Medicare cuts and changes to insurance regulations would hammer older, rural, working-class Americans—aka the group that you might call Donald Trump’s “base.” (If you’re being generous. If you’re not, his base is “Nazi losers.”)
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson asked Trump about this problem on his show last night, and Trump … seemed to admit that he knows his bill screws over his voters. Video above; here’s the transcript:
CARLSON: This bill has, as once of its centerpieces, tax cuts for investors that would primarily benefit people making over $250,000 a year, who’ve already done pretty well in the past 10 years, as you know. A Bloomberg analysis showed that counties that voted for you, middle class and working-class counties, would do far less well under this bill than the counties that voted for Hillary, the more affluent counties.
TRUMP: Yeah, Well I know that. I know—
CARLSON: It seems like well, maybe, this isn’t consistent with the message of the last election.
TRUMP: A lot of things aren’t consistent. But these are going to be negotiated. We’re going to go to the Senate, we’re going to see what happens in the Senate. Now, right now we have five or six senators who look like maybe they’re not gonna, I’m talking about Republicans. Cause we’re not going to get one Democrat to vote for us. Again, if this bill were perfect, if it was the greatest thing for Democrats and Republicans, we would not get one Democrat vote. They’re going to vote against it. Because of selfish, because of stupidity, because it’s politics. It’s really bad for our country, what’s going on. I mean, what’s going on, for years, but it’s really bad for our country. We will take care of our people, or I’m not signing it.
(Here’s the Bloomberg article cited.)
What’s going on here, it seems, is that Trump is trying to paint the AHCA as a rough first draft that he doesn’t care about one way or another and to blame the problems with it on Paul Ryan. In reality, of course, the bill was put together with consultation from the Trump administration and endorsed by Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price at a White House press conference the day after it was introduced.