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Trump aides 'aren't sure' about real-world impact of repeal bill

Congressional Republicans and Donald Trump have something in common: collectively, they have no idea what would happen if their health care plan becomes law.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington Va., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes...

When House Republicans first tried to pass a far-right health care plan in the spring, it enjoyed Donald Trump's enthusiastic support. When House GOP officials tried again two months later with a slightly different proposal, the president endorsed it, too.

In the Senate, Trump quickly threw his support behind the Republican leadership's plan. When it failed, and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) pushed an alternative approach, Trump endorsed it. When it failed to garner support, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) unveiled a related bill with several key changes, Trump endorsed it, too. When it fell short, and Republicans pursued "skinny repeal," Trump, once again, backed the plan.

The various GOP health care proposals have varied in important ways, but they've all had one thing in common: the enthusiastic support of the Republican president who appears to be hopelessly lost about even the most rudimentary details in this debate.

Now, with congressional Republicans making one last regressive push to uproot the nation's health care system, Trump has -- you guessed it -- endorsed the Graham-Cassidy plan. But as Politico noted, the White House has no idea what would happen to Americans if the proposal were actually imposed on the public.

One official said the concerns from governors have alarmed some in the White House -- and that "we really aren't sure what the impact will be" of passing the bill.

At least we've achieved some degree of unanimity on this: congressional Republicans who are eager to pass the bill have no idea what would happen if it's implemented, and the president who's eager to sign the bill is similarly clueless. None of these GOP officials has the foggiest idea how many Americans would lose coverage, how unstable the markets would become, how states would respond, or how much more consumers would pay for care -- but it might pass next week anyway.

Have I mentioned that we're talking about a life-and-death debate about one-sixth of the world's largest economy?

Vox's Tara Golshan explained three months ago, "Trump doesn't seem to have a policy preference: He has been in favor of every iteration of Congress's health bill plans -- no matter how much or little it differs from the last version, or how much it breaks the many campaign promises he made last year."

That's as true today as it was at the time.