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Trump betrays those who believed his health care promises

Many Americans actually believed Donald Trump's promises about health care. Now, the president is betraying them.
Image: President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office
President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order establishing regulatory reform officers and task forces in US agencies in Washington, DC on February 24, 2017.
In the first 24 hours after House Republicans unveiled their new health care reform plan, one of the unexpected mysteries was whether Donald Trump liked it. Mixed signals from the White House raised the possibility that the Republican president might not endorse his own party's legislation.A written statement from the White House on Monday night, for example, expressed lukewarm support and notably did not include an endorsement. The next morning, however, the president himself referred to House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) plan as "our wonderful new Healthcare Bill." (Trump occasionally capitalizes words he thinks are important.)HHS Secretary Tom Price endorsed the GOP's "American Health Care Act" in a letter to Congress, but a few hours later, he hedged during a press briefing. Vice President Mike Pence backed the bill, but Press Secretary Sean Spicer was more circumspect.It's likely much of this is the result of a dysfunctional White House, which often struggles to keep its stories straight, but it's possible Team Trump is struggling because it's aware of a broader problem: by embracing this Republican plan, the president is doing the opposite of what he told Americans he would do for them. The New Yorker's John Cassidy explained:

The bill aims to take a wrecking ball to the principle of universal coverage. If enacted, millions of Americans would end up without any coverage. For many people who purchase individual policies, especially older people, it promises fewer services for more money. And it also proposes a big tax cut for the rich, which would be financed by slashing Medicaid, the federal program that provides health care to low-income people. [...]Back in January, Donald Trump promised that the replacement for Obamacare would provide "insurance for everybody." By endorsing the American Health Care Act, on Tuesday, Trump has broken his pledge.

That's no small development for a president who hasn't yet been in office for seven weeks.As recently as January, Trump took pride in making bold boasts. "We're going to have insurance for everybody," he said. "There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us." He went on to point to some fairly specific benchmarks: universal coverage, "much lower deductibles," and a simpler and less expensive system in which all Americans are "beautifully covered."Those comments, from January, followed similar assurances Trump made during his candidacy, when he told voters, "I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now."All of those promises, we now know, had no basis in reality. The new Republican plan doesn't cover "everybody," doesn't lower deductibles, doesn't ensure that all Americans are "beautifully covered," and doesn't guarantee that "everybody" is "taken care of."Meanwhile, Trump also vowed, repeatedly, that he'd introduce his own "wonderful" health care reform proposal. As of yesterday, apparently that wasn't true, either.To be sure, this isn't the first time the new president has broken a promise, but it's almost certainly the most dramatic example. For Americans who believed Trump's rhetoric about health care, this is an extraordinary betrayal.