Trump trips over his own ignorance on health care

Image: Members of the United States Congress are hosted by US President Donald J. Trump at the White House
epa06097248 US President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks on health care and Republicans' inability thus far to replace or repeal the Affordable Care Act,...

A couple of months ago, Donald Trump sat down with Time magazine and boasted that once the debate over health care started in earnest, "In a short period of time, I understood everything there was to know about health care."

He didn't appear to be kidding. In fact, after meeting with Senate Republicans yesterday to urge them to pass some kind of health care bill, the president told the New York Times, "[T]hese guys couldn't believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care."

I wish that were true. It's not.

During the public portion of yesterday's White House meeting, Trump made a series of bizarre claims about his party's proposal, making clear that he had absolutely no idea what he was talking point. He said the Republican proposal would offer "better coverage for low-income Americans" than the Affordable Care Act, which isn't even close to being true. Trump added that the GOP plan is "more generous than Obamacare," which is bonkers.

Towards the end of his public remarks, the president added, "Your premiums will be down 60 and 70 percent. People don't know that. Nobody hears it. Nobody talks about it." In reality, people don't know that or talk about it because it's spectacularly untrue.

At a meeting among federal policymakers on overhauling the nation's health care system, the most ignorant person in the room was also the one leading the discussion -- which generally isn't a good sign.

In the New York Times interview that soon followed, Trump offered this gem:

"So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you're 21 years old, you start working and you're paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you're 70, you get a nice plan. Here's something where you walk up and say, 'I want my insurance.' It's a very tough deal, but it is something that we're doing a good job of."

Huh?

In context, it's not at all clear that the president understands the difference between health insurance and life insurance. Or put another way, Trump isn't just confused about the plan he's eager to sign into law, he's also confused about the concept of coverage in general.

Yesterday morning, Vox's Ezra Klein wrote, "The core problem is Trump has no idea what he’s talking about on health care and never bothered to learn.... When Trump does weigh in, it’s often a disaster."

The president then spent the day proving Ezra right.