Trump Admitted The AHCA Will Hurt His Supporters

by Seth Millstein
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On Thursday, while discussing the effects that his health care bill might have on everyday Americans, President Trump admitted that an Obamacare repeal would hurt people who voted for him more than people who didn't. That's right: The president freely admitted that the people who stand to lose the most under the GOP health care bill are his own supporters.

"This bill has as one of its centerpieces a tax cut for investors that would primarily benefit people making over $200,000 a year, [who've] already done pretty well in the past 10 years, as you already know," Tucker Carlson said to Trump during an interview. "A Bloomberg analysis showed that counties that voted for you, middle-class and working-class counties, would do far less well under this bill than the counties that voted for Hillary —"

"Yeah," Trump interrupted. "Well, I know that. I know."

"It seems like maybe this isn't consistent with the message of the last election," Carlson continued.

"No, a lot of things aren't consistent," Trump said. "But these are going to be negotiated."

Carlson was correct: According to the Bloomberg analysis in question, counties that voted for Hillary Clinton would receive $21.9 billion in tax cuts under Trumpcare, while counties that voted for Trump would only see $6.6 billion. This is because the tax cuts in question would almost entirely benefit wealthy Americans, and there are more rich people in counties that voted for Clinton than in those that voted for Trump.

The most charitable interpretation of Trump's remarks are that, while the bill in its current form doesn't help Trump voters, it will eventually be negotiated into a form that does. But the White House said Thursday that the president is "100 percent committed" to the bill, and Sean Spicer has called it "the Obamacare replacement plan that everyone has been asking for." Oh, and according to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump himself helped write the bill.

In other words, Trump has so far given every indication that he supports the bill in its current form. His comments to Carlson suggest that this isn't true — or, alternatively, that Trump does support the House bill, but understands that his supporters won't benefit all that much from it.

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That said, the bill will almost certainly undergo revisions as it trudges through Congress. It's unlikely that the regressive tax provisions in the legislation will be placed on the chopping block, though, as they've drawn relatively little criticism amongst Republican lawmakers. Far more contentious is the bill's Medicaid cuts, which various Republicans have attacked as too severe, or alternatively, not severe enough.

Still, Trump seems awfully cavalier about the fact that his health care plan would help Clinton voters more than his own, and that isn't exactly a great selling point for rank-and-file Republicans.