Major news organizations have been quick to examine and critique the policy, and have noted that requests for further details from Trump headquarters have so far gone unanswered.
The Los Angeles Times reported March 3 that, to date, the ACA “has expanded coverage to about 20 million Americans, driving the largest decline in the uninsured in at least half a century. It is unclear what would happen to these people if Obamacare were repealed. …Trump has not specified how he would help these people, beyond promising that his plans would make healthcare substantially more affordable. That is disputed by many experts. Interstate sale of health insurance, for example, might slightly lower premiums, but would not address the much larger issue of high prices by hospitals and other medical providers, which are increasing their market power by consolidating in communities across the country.”
CNN.com also picked up on the lack of language pertaining to universal coverage. The news outlet reported, “Trump called in his healthcare plan for eliminating the individual mandate, which under Obamacare requires all Americans to have health insurance and which Trump suggested he was in favor of less than two weeks ago.” CNN quoted Trump’s words from a Feb. 20 interview with Anderson Cooper during a televised town hall event: “I like the [individual]mandate. Here’s where I’m a little bit different. I don’t want people dying in the streets.”
Trump’s earlier, more liberal, stance on healthcare raised the ire of the GOP when he told the CBS program “60 Minutes,” “…everybody’s got to be covered. …the government’s gonna pay for it.” CNN made the point that Trump’s plan now makes no such promise that every American will be insured.
Forbes.com, while not opposed to some of the planks of Trump’s plan, also noted the inconsistency in Trump’s changing position, “The Donald has previously insisted that he likes the individual mandate, and that he is opposed to Medicaid reform. If he has changed his mind in the last week, great, but we have no assurance that he won’t change his mind again.” Forbes also pointed out that the plan does not deal with pre-existing conditions, a concept that was central to the ACA and generally heralded as one of its better tenets.
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One New York Times commentator noted that the plan, overall, is sketchy: “It is possible that Mr. Trump’s document, now a sketch, will be filled in later with a plan to help people with pre-existing conditions, or with some new financing system to provide health insurance for poor Americans. But, for now, the policies he has chosen to highlight won’t help them. He may describe himself as more compassionate and generous on healthcare than his rivals, but there’s a huge gulf between that rhetoric and the practical consequences of his policies.”
The most meaningful assessment of Trump’s healthcare reform plan ultimately will be revealed at the polls, as voters determine if his proposals reflect their best interests and warrant his selection as the next Republican presidential candidate.