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Donald Trump Finally Released His Health Care “Plan” and It’s Totally Meaningless

Donald Trump delivers remarks on his healthcare "policies"

Leading up to the November election, as he works to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Donald Trump has been promising us that he has a great health care plan on the way. He wouldn’t say what’s in it, when it’s coming, or who’s been working on it, but insisted it was going to be great, way better than Obamacare. Recently, though, voters and reporters have been getting impatient waiting for this mystery plan, especially with a global health pandemic wreaking havoc on the country.

Trump has now unveiled his plan … sort of. More accurately, he performatively signed an executive order that gives the appearance of unveiling a healthcare plan that, in reality, does absolutely nothing at all.

“Under the America First Health Care Plan, we will ensure the highest standard of care anywhere in the world, cutting edge treatment, state of the art medicine, groundbreaking cures, and true health security for you and your loved ones,” he said in a speech in North Carolina Thursday. “And we will do it rapidly, and it’s in very good order, and some of it has already been implemented.”

That all sounds great. His “America-first healthcare plan” executive order claims to offer protections for people with pre-existing conditions, an end to surprise medical billing, and better healthcare at lower costs. Again, all great! Or it would be, if it actually did any of those things.

Here’s an example of the kind of statement made in the executive order that sounds meaningful to your grandparents when they hear it on Fox News but doesn’t actually do anything:

It has been and will continue to be the policy of the United States to give Americans seeking healthcare more choice, lower costs, and better care and to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.

The thing is, calling something “policy” is meaningless. It doesn’t make it law. It doesn’t require any change at all from the healthcare and insurance industries. Also, guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions actually is currently the law under the Affordable Care Act, which Trump is trying to have overturned, and now he’s telling us his replacement for that law will be a declaration of should.

Here’s another worthless statement:

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Administrator of CMS, shall maintain and build upon existing actions to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the healthcare system.

Neat! Except if it were that easy to “reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the healthcare system,” why hadn’t he or literally any other president before him signed that into effect before? The same goes for pre-existing condition protections and every other claim made in this fake “plan.” All Trump’s doing is making a bunch of statements about what our healthcare plan should look like, while actively implementing roadblocks to making that reality (like attacking Medicaid and trying to overturn the ACA.)

This entire stunt is meant to sound good while delivering nothing and what’s really depressing is that it will probably work on a lot of people.

(image: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.