President Trump sat down Wednesday for an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, and Carlson asked him to respond to criticisms that the Republican health care plan favors the wealthy and hurts most of the voters who supported his election. Trump didn’t hesitate to agree that that is exactly what it does.
Here’s the full exchange, which speaks for itself:
CARLSON: This bill has as one of its centerpieces a tax-cut for investors that would primarily benefit people making over $250,000 a year. They’ve already done pretty well in the past ten years, as you know.
CARLSON: A Bloomberg analysis showed that counties that voted for you — middle-class and working-class counties — would do far less well under this bill —
TRUMP: Yeah. Oh, I know.
CARLSON: — than the counties that voted for Hillary, the more affluent counties.
TRUMP: I know. It’s very preliminary.
CARLSON: It seems like maybe this isn’t consistent with the last election.
TRUMP: No. A lot of things aren’t consistent. But this is going to be negotiated.
From there, Trump went on to merely complain that Democrats “hate the Republicans so badly that they cannot see straight, so they’re always going to vote against us.” He never said anything more to address the actual substance of the legislation and the impact it’ll have on the many Americans who depend on the insurance they can access through Obamacare, which they would lose.
The Bloomberg analysis Carlson referenced found that taxpayers in counties that voted for Hillary Clinton in the election would receive a disproportionate share of the tax cut compared to those in counties that voted for Trump. That’s because the plan cuts an additional Medicare tax that generally only more wealthy people, like those who live in or near the cities that voted for Clinton, have to pay. There were, in fact, several hundred counties that voted for Trump in which not a single person paid the tax, so literally nobody in those counties would benefit from the tax cut.
That’s beside the fact that things would actually get worse for many Americans. Under the Republican health plan, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026, and the White House’s own analysis put that number at 26 million. Premiums would ultimately go down, but only because older people would no longer be able to afford insurance, so insurance companies would no longer be on the hook for covering their expensive treatments. As a result of all this lost coverage, approximately 17,000 people could die next year who’d otherwise live, and that number would climb to 29,000 people dying per year in 2026.
Trump knows this. He openly admits that this plan does the exact opposite of what he promised voters during the campaign. And he supports the plan anyway.