Trump's elusive health care plan will apparently have to wait

If you were waiting to see Trump's elusive health care plan before Election Day, I have some bad news for you.
Image: President Donald Trump walks off stage after speaking during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport
President Donald Trump walks off stage after speaking during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz.Evan Vucci / AP

Former Sen. Al Franken joked this morning that there's a clear downside if Joe Biden wins: "We may never see Trump's health care plan."

It's funny because it's true. Donald Trump has spent literally years telling Americans he has a terrific health care plan, which will deliver better results at a lower cost, and this reform miracle is nearly ready for its unveiling. But as the 2020 election season progressed, the president's assurances seemed to come into sharper focus.

It was on July 17 when the Republican incumbent sat down with Fox News' Chris Wallace and made a rather specific vow.

"We're signing a health care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health care plan... We're going to sign an immigration plan, a health care plan, and various other plans. And nobody will have done what I'm doing in the next four weeks.... You're going to find it to be a very exciting two weeks."

As we've discussed, two weeks went by, and the "full and complete" health care plan was nowhere to be found. On July 31, pressed for some kind of explanation, the president told reporters, "We're going to be doing a very inclusive health care plan. I'll be signing it sometime very soon. It might be Sunday [Aug. 2], but it's going to be very soon."

On Aug. 3, Trump presented a new timeline: "I do want to say that we're going to be introducing a tremendous health care plan sometime prior -- hopefully, prior to the end of the month. It's just about completed now."

August, naturally, came and went without the emergence of the elusive plan. In mid-September, the president balked at the idea that he was failing to follow through on his promise. "I have it all ready. I have it all ready," Trump told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, adding, "I have it all ready."

He did not have it all ready.

A month later, the president told CBS News' Lesley Stahl his health care blueprint would be "announced very soon." After Trump abruptly ended the interview, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany handed the "60 Minutes" anchor a thick binder that she said included the president's health care plan. It didn't.

In fairness, it's worth emphasizing that the president claimed in September that he was unveiling a "plan" to improve health care and to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, but what Trump actually signed were some executive orders that literally didn't do anything.

Those who thought it was at least possible the president would follow through on his commitments, and present voters with something to scrutinize ahead of Election Day, find themselves empty handed. I'd add just one thing to Franken's joke, though: even if Trump wins, we'll still never see his health care plan.