epa06169232 US President Donald J. Trump attends a joint news conference with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland in the East Room of the White House in...
MICHAEL REYNOLDS

It looks like Trump was for single-payer before he was against it

Updated

Donald Trump has heard about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” plan, and he turned to Twitter yesterday to assure Americans the progressive proposal isn’t going anywhere.

“Bernie Sanders is pushing hard for a single payer healthcare plan - a curse on the U.S. & its people. I told Republicans to approve healthcare fast or this would happen. But don’t worry, I will veto because I love our country & its people.”

It’s an odd message. The president is prepared to veto a single-payer bill if it’s approved by a Republican-led House and a Republican-led Senate? Thank you, Captain Obvious.

But what stood out for me as interesting in Trump’s statement is the idea that single-payer would be a “curse” on Americans. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters something similar on Wednesday, arguing, “I think that the president, as well as the majority of the country, knows that the single-payer system that the Democrats are proposing is a horrible idea.”

And that reminds me of the many instances in which Trump has said the exact opposite.

As recently as May – four months ago – the president said he believes Australia’s single-payer system is “better” than the U.S. system. (When MSNBC’s Chris Hayes aired the clip for Bernie Sanders, soon after Trump made the remark, the senator nearly jumped out of his chair.)

As the Washington Post reported a couple of months ago, it wasn’t the first time. The president’s comment in May, the article noted, was “merely the latest evidence that Trump, in his heart of hearts, wants single-payer health care.”

Back in 2000, he advocated for it as both a potential Reform Party presidential candidate and in his book, “The America We Deserve.”

“We must have universal health care. Just imagine the improved quality of life for our society as a whole,” he wrote, adding: “The Canadian-style, single-payer system in which all payments for medical care are made to a single agency (as opposed to the large number of HMOs and insurance companies with their diverse rules, claim forms and deductibles) … helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans.”

Just before the 2016 campaign, Trump appeared on David Letterman’s show and held up Scotland’s socialized system as the ideal.

What was that he saying about “a curse”?

Donald Trump and Health Care

It looks like Trump was for single-payer before he was against it

Updated