Opinion: Our Andrew Jackson wannabe president

Donald Trump doesn’t give a damn about what’s in the GOP health-care bill. He doesn’t know, and he doesn’t really care. He has people who tell him what’s supposedly in it, and since those people tell him whatever he wants to hear, and since he wants to hear that the health-care bill covers everybody beautifully, that’s what they tell him: “The health-care bill covers everybody beautifully, Mr. President.”

And he smiles and believes it.

He believes it because what Trump really wants is to feel popular, loved and admired. He wants people to think that he’s a tough guy with a good heart, a great heart. That’s everything to him. His father, he says, was “a tough guy who had a good heart, a great heart.” His favorite president — great president, tough guy, Andrew Jackson, “a very tough person, but he had a big heart” — Jackson was so tough, Trump says, with such a great heart, that he could have stopped the Civil War (if only he hadn’t died 16 years before the war started).

Of course, a president with a heart as great as the Trump heart needs a health-care plan that protects the people who elected him. Who could be so heartless as to hurt his own people, those who invested so much faith in him? So Trump says that he has a health-care plan that protects the people that elected him. “The health care bill is going to help my supporters,” as he claimed to John Dickerson on “Face the Nation” over the weekend.

But it will not help his supporters. It will do significant, serious harm to many of those supporters, financially and health-wise. Those who have gained insurance through Medicaid expansion will lose that coverage. Older Americans who use subsidies to buy private coverage will see those subsidies shrink and their out-of-pocket cost of policies soar as rate controls are lifted, making their coverage unaffordable. As the Congressional Budget Office estimated, 24 million Americans, many of them older and in rural areas, would lose their coverage as a result of the GOP bill, and the latest version of that bill is even more punitive and restrictive than the version that was analyzed.

A tough president with a great heart would also fight to make sure that the bill guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions. Who could be so heartless as not to cover pre-existing conditions? So Trump claims that his plan guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions.

“Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, has to be,” he told Dickerson.

But it isn’t.

The bill significantly weakens coverage of pre-existing conditions. That’s the price that House conservatives demand in return for supporting the bill, and our tough president with a great heart, such a great heart, caved in and gave it to them, although he continues to claim otherwise. He gave it to them because he needs a bill to pass so that he can look productive and powerful, and he needs to look productive and powerful more than he wants to protect his supporters, so he agreed to provisions guaranteed to hurt those supporters as long as his aides keep letting him believe that it won’t.

But every nonpartisan expert in the field says otherwise.

For example, the American Medical Association strongly opposes the latest version because it significantly weakens coverage of pre-existing conditions. AARP also strongly opposes it, warning that under the bill, “Insurance companies would be able to charge you higher premiums if you have a preexisting condition such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.” According to the AARP, it would “end protections for 25 million Americans between 50-64 with preexisting conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes” and “represents a dramatic change from current law.”

But again, that’s not what Trump’s aides tell him.

Trump’s aides also tell him that the House plan lowers deductibles. As Trump told Dickerson, “We’re going to drive down deductibles, because, right now, deductibles are so high, you never — unless you’re going to die a long, hard death, you never can get to use your health care…”

That’s what he said. It isn’t true. It’s the opposite of true. Under the GOP health-care plan, deductibles will go up, probably by a lot. That is not a matter of dispute. They go up by design, on purpose, because that’s the way conservatives want it. Their one big idea is that making people pay more out of pocket makes them use less health care. Their plan is to ration health care by making it unaffordable, while claiming that they would never ever attempt to do such a thing.

And of course, let’s remind ourselves of the real game here. By kicking 24 million Americans off their insurance, Trump and his GOP colleagues will be able to finance an initial, massive $880 billion tax cut, most of which will benefit the wealthy. In addition, passage of the legislation would also set the stage for the even larger tax-cut package announced last week, again to the benefit of the richest of Americans.

That’s not the act of a tough president, a president with a good heart, a great heart. That’s the act of a populist charlatan out to benefit the very elites whom he pretends to condemn. Andrew Jackson was a man of many flaws, but he was right to warn that “the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes,” and to argue that when they use the law to “make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society — the farmers, mechanics, and laborers — who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government.”

Reader Comments 0

1242 comments
Dianne Moore
Dianne Moore

Since it's Bookman, I'll do myself the pleasure of not reading!

John Guzzardo
John Guzzardo

Do we live in Soviet Russia, because I'm seeing far right wingers wanting the AJC being shut down for writing an OPINION piece. Sheesh, go set up an alt right version of Pravda or better get, read Breitbart for your day dose of Infowars-style journalism.

Peachs
Peachs

I wonder what shutting down the federal government feels like when you really don't give a damn. It just means a few more unemployed Republicans!

Peachs
Peachs

Bruce Hampton went to Dykes High School, so did Mavin Jackson ,

not North Fulton High School.

Marc Chessler
Marc Chessler

Well I mean you agree with some things that you have written Lee I was wondering if you felt the same way about the petulant child boy King that just left office after 8 years of hearing yeses from everybody close to him? I don't like hip hop Chrissy and for people to think that this is something new is ridiculous. Obama got hurt by everybody but conservatives and the Republicans in Washington but it was still enough for him to feel empowered by the adulation. And although his words were more precise he's still got away with a lot of crap

Donald Pattillo
Donald Pattillo

So freaking get over it .There us not one president alive could tell you what was inside every bill that is being presented NOT EVEN DUMB A__ OBAMA .This man hasn't got a far shake since he has been office .I think the press should just leave him alone and let him get his job done. Only reason everyone is after his blood is because The Queen Hilary lost and Trump won cause America is tired of all the trash that has been in office and now the Clintons and the Obama's has hit's for blood for Trump

Dustin Abernathy
Dustin Abernathy

NO one can bash trump cause he's the beast president I ever have sawed.

Jakob Eliphas
Jakob Eliphas

Fascism is the forcible suppression of opposition... It appears leftists protest anyone that doesn't agree with their ideology and have been violently attacking those with different thoughts/beliefs than them.. so... the left fits the definition. Also, incidents/news/information that doesn't align with leftist ideology does not get reported... this equates to more suppression. Lastly, the left is for big government (= more control of the people), steeped in identity politics (your value is tied to the color of your skin, ethnicity, or gender v. your character... kind of like how Hitler managed people) and think the constitution should be interpreted like poetry, not law.. The left needs to stop their 'fascist right' rhetoric.. they just make themselves look more stupid.

Teresa Smith
Teresa Smith

Thank you President Trump keep up the great job 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Dustin Abernathy
Dustin Abernathy

He's only been In office a little over 100 days and he's already the bestest president I need the history of the whole world ever.

JackClemens
JackClemens

@OriginalProf Thanks, but I'm trapped here ... shouting now to no one. Fourth free article this month.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@JackClemens @OriginalProf 

Suggestion: check the date of the blog topic, and if it's yesterday then just wait and Jay will usually post something new. Sensibly, he seems to write his column in the morning while the news is fresh.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Is the healthcare bill passed yet. Or should I go-ahead and take my physical now?

gotalife
gotalife

We are getting closer to single payer to finally resolve health care.


We are getting closer to immigration reform to finally solve immigration.


It is painfully slow but we are inching closer.





gotalife
gotalife

After listening to all the arguments on health care , Jimmy Kimmel's was the best argument yet.

honested
honested

@gotalife @honested 

I totally agree.

I just can't fathom how we as a country decided that a system to cut the value of our premium dollars became 'moral'.

honested
honested

@gotalife 

What, that a new person born into one of the most medically advanced countries in the world should have access to needed medical care FIRST and worry about whether parasites could pad the bill by 20% later?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Finn-McCool 

 Sons of Confederate Veterans aka: Sons of the Losers

SOCV is a magical incantation like Hocus Pocus or Abracadabra that is supposed to bring about a new topic from our host. 

Doesn't seem to be working today....

honested
honested

@PaulinNH 

It's missing the hard 'yesses', which include the Georgia Crackpot Congressional Caucus.

honested
honested

@PaulinNH @honested 

There are some interesting folks in the 'no' and 'leans no' category (particularly in Florida).

However, it is disheartening that NONE of the GA delegation is anywhere but hard YES.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Serious question:  Is the Tea Party dead?

honested
honested

@gotalife @Nick_Danger 

The same people can spend the same money to wave the same 'big shiny' in front of the same deplorabillies that made it pop from the ground as the last time.

It was just a moron fad, like a new type of tennis shoe.

Peachs
Peachs

I was just thinking there's never been a New Yorker president in my life! Two Californians a lot of other places including Georgia but never a New Yorker until now! Maybe this is why.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Peachs 

If I had to guess, I'd pick Ohio and Virginia as giving us the most presidents.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Peachs  The last 2 NYers to be Pres had the same last name - Roosevelt

ByteMe
ByteMe

Trump to Air Force football team:


“And how’s healthcare coming, folks? How’s it doing? We’re moving along? I think it’s time now, right? Right? They know it’s time. Thank you for being here.”


Vote for Brains 2020!

honested
honested

@ByteMe 

Would that be "Vote For Brains" vs "Shzzzzt for brains"?

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Sons of Confederate Veterans aka: Sons of the Losers

skydog12
skydog12

Trump speaking/lying in front to Air Force football team. Totally embarrassing.


Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Poor poor besmirched Sean Hannity. 

Be gone you lying sack of dog poo.

mwuahahahahahahahahahaaa

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

More is going on here than hatred or defense of Thomas Jefferson.  Self-reflection is needed, imho.

honested
honested

@MaryElizabethSings 

Ever consider that the answer to every problem might not be 'self-reflection' and 'seeking higher consciousness' (whatever that might be)?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@MaryElizabethSings It's not hatred to point out that because he owned slaves he did not have a good heart and he was a slave owner.  That is not a character assassination against you unless you are he reincarnated.  

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Menace @MaryElizabethSings


At least you are making an attempt at real communication, Menace.  Thanks for that.


I am not trying to portray Thomas Jefferson as a "shining light."  I am trying to portray him as a three dimensional human being with strengths and weaknesses as we all have.


The facts you give above are true.  However, each of those facts you give has been analyzed in various ways, i.e., his leaving the Governor's Mansion rather than allow the British to capture him and hold him and his position prisoner is only one example analyzed in depth by thinkers.


As I have written many times on this blog, and not simply related to Thomas Jefferson:

I think we are all better off when we simply try to "see" others, the living and the dead, in as many dimensions as we are able without casting undue judgment on them.  That I think is what an enlightened mind would do.  Otherwise, we are just creating villains and heroes in our own minds of others, and too often we see ourselves as the "good guys" and the other as the opposite, which is dangerous thinking.  I am now going to post my essay on the dangers of stereotypical thinking that I wrote 5 or 6 years ago and I hope some will read it in depth.  It will be posted above.



Menace
Menace

@MaryElizabethSings  Doubt that self reflection is needed here.  Jefferson, like anyone had his good points and bad.  He was an influential member of the Continental Congress and an influential writer.  However, when puch came to shove, rather than fight he ran to the safety of his plantation (unitl the British came and he ran some more).  He was an effective ambassador to France (although he leaned towards France too much).  He also undemined President Washington while serving in his cabinet as SoS.  He was also a pretty poor president - his embargo of imports darned near ruined the country.  He was also a 45 year man having sexual relations with a 16 year old.  Know what that get him today?  Yes, MES the man did many good things, but he's not the shinig light you portray him as.