Having staked his reputation on his ability to negotiate and close deals, it was no doubt embarrassing for Trump to have to cut bait and pull his healthcare bill this past Friday. As the vote approached, Trump seemingly did everything he could to woo potential votes short of popping Tic Tacs and taking them furniture shopping.
But while Trumpcare’s failure may be a blow to the president’s ego, it will end up helping Trump in the long run. The only thing worse than having the media calling something “Your-Name-Gate” is having them call something “Your-Name-Care.” You want your brand to be associated with the Miss Universe Pageant – not medical care in the United States.
Healthcare has always been a mess, and Americans are only getting fatter and lazier. At a time when Taco Bell is releasing a taco with a fried chicken shell, the last thing Trump should want is his name to be attached to healthcare.
It is much smarter to force Obama’s legacy to remain tied to medical insurance. That way when premiums rise, hospitals get more crowded, and care goes down, Americans can curse Obamacare as they spend hours in the waiting rooms reading old Highlights magazines (where Gallant goes to Mar-a-Largo to play golf, while Goofus tries to fix the healthcare system).
It should surprise no one that Trump was unfamiliar with the bill he was promoting. Apparently as time dwindled, he kept asking his staff, “Is this really a good bill?” – which is not the sort of question you want someone to be asking as they re-engineer medical care for 300 million people.
But it wasn’t a good bill. The Republicans had almost a decade to come up with an Obamacare replacement, and their best idea was basically “Obamacare 2: This Time More Money For the Rich!” Trump had promised to replace Obamacare with something great, but if he truly thought Obamacare was a disaster, then this plan was replacing a Sharknado with a Piranhaconda .
The lesson from this failure should be that Trump can no longer trust Paul Ryan. If rule one is to never get into a land war in Asia, rule two should be to never voluntarily try to fix a broken healthcare system with a fat, aging population. Trump could’ve focused on simple things to fix his approval rating – like building infrastructure and sitting in the front of a truck – you know, things that won’t end up sending sick Americans into bankruptcy.
It seems unlikely that in the future Trump will initiate, draft, or even read legislation – but this is a wake up call that he needs to find someone more competent than Paul Ryan to do it for him. Ryan spent 7 years coming up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, and his bill was received about as well as Charlie Sheen proposing a blood oath. It was hated by liberals, conservatives, and the people who pretend to be moderates.
But the silver lining is that in the end, Trump didn’t even have the option to follow Paul Ryan’s terrible idea into a healthcare quagmire. Trumpcare died this week, which means that Obamacare will continue to be the scapegoat when unhealthy Americans wind up dead. Now Trump needs to find a new initiative, and a new person to lead it.