Well, America's finally getting to see the great negotiator in action, the art of the deal in real life. How, you might ask, is the president putting his business talents to work in the world of politics? Don't think that it's in attempt to benefit you — instead, President Trump is trying to end key Obamacare subsidies, according to a POLITICO report, in what amounts to an attempt at sabotaging the health care law to force Democrats to negotiate on a replacement.
Trump is reportedly telling advisors that he wants to end crucial subsidies that allow insurers to charge less for people making less than 250 percent below the poverty rate, and then be reimbursed by the government. But if the government stopped funding those subsidies, then insurers would be forced to raise the premiums, potentially pricing millions of vulnerable Americans out of the health care coverage that they require.
To Trump, of course, this isn't about making sure that as many people have health insurance as possible; he admitted as much to aides when he said that he gains nothing by continuing to pay the subsidies. Instead, it's all about ending Obama's health care plan and trying to blame the Democrats for its failure. The president believes that if he sabotages the law, then this move will force Democrats in Congress to start negotiating on a new one — his so-called "Trumpcare" replacement.
Trump's problem, besides the fact that he evidently doesn't care if millions of people lose their health insurance, is that he doesn't quite seem to understand how politics works. With two GOP-led chambers of Congress and a GOP-controlled White House, Republicans in Congress worry that they'll get blamed for any problems with Obamacare, and a number of them don't want Trump to cut the subsidies for this reason. Killing the subsidies would be an assault on health care, and would lead to Obamacare to fail. And Democrats could use it against the GOP in the future.
As the opposition party, Democrats are essentially off the hook. While Trump's base might support him no matter what and listen to him whine about how the Democrats refuse to work with him, there's likely a large segment of independents whose votes Trump — and his party, because of him — will lose.
At the heart of this proposal, of course, is its callousness. People who rely on these subsidies to cover much of their health care costs will find themselves left without a way to pay for their coverage. Perhaps this is just another part of the art of the deal — it doesn't matter who loses out, as long as Trump wins. Even so, this seems like a far cry from a winning proposal.