8 Claims From Trump's Op-Ed About "Medicare For All" That Are Straight-Up Wrong

by Seth Millstein
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On Wednesday, USA Today published an op-ed by President Trump in which he argued against the single-payer health care system that some Democrats have endorsed. Single-payer, also referred to as "Medicare for all," is a system in which the government funds health care for all of its citizens, and a handful of Democrats have recently endorsed it. But there are quite a few inaccuracies in Trump's USA Today op-ed, regarding not only single-payer but his own administration.

It's worth noting off the bat that before he entered politics, Trump supported single-payer health care. In a 2000 book, he wrote that he proclaimed that America "must not allow citizens with medical problems to go untreated because of financial problems or red tape" and heartily endorsed Canada's single-payer system.

"We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing," Trump wrote. Needless to say, something clearly changed, as he's now a staunch opponent of single-payer.

Conversely, a lot of Democrats who had long opposed "Medicare for all" now support it. Many credit Bernie Sanders for this. The Vermont Senator ran for president in 2016 on a platform that included single-payer; since then, over 60 percent of House Democrats and many high-profile Democrats in the Senate have embraced single-payer as a health care system to strive for.

Trump has not. However, his reasoning is riddled with errors, and many statements in his op-ed are flat-out false. Here are eight of them.

Single-Payer Won't "End Medicare As We Know It"

Trump writes that Democrats have been "uniting around a new legislative proposal that would end Medicare as we know it." Single-payer, however, would expand Medicare's benefits to all U.S. citizens, not end it.

Trump Hasn't Set Out To Protect Pre-Existing Condition Coverage

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In his op-ed, Trump claims that he "promised that we would protect coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions," and that he "kept that promise."

But although he did pledge to protect people with pre-existing conditions, he then supported several Republican health care plans that would have abolished protections for people with pre-existing conditions. To the extent that he's kept his promise, it's only because the proposals he supported failed to pass Congress.

Insurance Premiums Aren't Going Down

Trump also claimed that "we are now seeing health insurance premiums coming down." In reality, average health insurance premiums are increasing.

"Medicare For All" Won't Lead To Rationing

Trump illustrates a nightmare scenario in his op-ed, writing that single-payer health care would lead to "massive rationing of health care," long wait lines for appointments and denial of previously-covered care.

As The Washington Post notes, these were the exact same arguments Republicans made in the 1960s to justify their opposition to the creation of Medicare. To cite just one example, Ronald Reagan warned in 1961 that the creation of Medicare was "a short step to all the rest of socialism," and that if the program was created, "we are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free."

Single-Payer Won't End Seniors' Control Over Their Health Care

Trump says that "the Democrats' plan also would mean the end of choice for seniors over their own health-care decisions." This is false, as seniors already receive their health care through Medicare. The "Democrats' plan" to which Trump refers would expand Medicare to non-seniors.

Democrats Don't Want To Turn American Into Venezuela

Trump writes that Democrats want to "model America’s economy after Venezuela." No elected Democrats have said that they want to do this, however. One reason for this may be that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves of any country on earth, and its economy is almost entirely powered by profits from oil sales. Modeling America's economy after Venezuela's is a geological impossibility.

Seniors Haven't Paid For Their Entire Medicare Coverage

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Trump writes that "Republicans believe that a Medicare program that was was created for seniors and paid for by seniors." However, current seniors receive more money from Medicare than they paid into it, according to the Urban Institute.

Democrats Aren't "Radical Socialists"

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Lastly, Trump claims that "the new Democrats are radical socialists." Socialism, in the proper sense, refers to complete government control of the means of production and the entire economy; although Republicans have often referred to left-of-center politicians as "socialists," it's simply not true, and neither is Trump's characterization of single-payer proponents.

To be fair, there are strong arguments against single-payer. Trump's op-ed in USA Today, however, had many pointing out that he failed to make any of them.