Time for #Amendment25: Steve Mnuchin Is Not Doing His Proper Job

Donald Trump Is Incapable of "Recommend[ing]... Measures... Necessary and Expedient" to Congress. #Amendment25. Now.

Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Sarah Kliff: Donald Trump has no idea what health insurance costs: "The Economist asked the president about the fact that many Americans are expected to lose coverage... https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/11/15624328/trump-health-insurance-costs

...This was Trump’s response:

The state governments are in much better position to, you know, help people. In terms of, you know, just the size, the mere size of it. But we’re putting in $8bn and you’re going to have absolute coverage. You’re going to have absolute guaranteed coverage...

Trump makes a promise of “guaranteed coverage.” But the Republican bill doesn’t deliver on that. When the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the last version of the American Health Care Act, it estimated that 24 million fewer Americans would have coverage.... The more recent iteration of the bill adds an additional $8 billion to fund high-risk pools... not nearly enough....

There’s also this other line in the response that caught my eye, where Trump discusses how he thinks health insurance ought to work.

Insurance is, you’re 20-years-old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance...

The fact that Trump settles on $15 as the appropriate amount to pay for health insurance betrays a lack of familiarity with the actual cost of coverage. You do not have to be a health policy expert to get this—just someone who has ever purchased a health plan.

Most voters I talk to don’t have this expectation.... They know, from their experience, that health coverage is not as cheap as $15, and have more realistic assumptions than the one Trump makes....

There is a lengthy exchange in the Economist interview over the future of Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies.... This is a huge deal for insurance companies... the thing that keeps them up at night, deciding whether or not to sell Obamacare coverage in 2018. Trump’s answers here certainly won’t give the industry a better night’s sleep. Here is the exchange:

TRUMP: We’re subsidizing it and we don’t have to subsidize it. You know if I ever stop wanting to pay the subsidies, which I will.

ECONOMIST: You’d pull the plug on that? If this bill doesn’t go through you’d stop those subsidies?

TRUMP: No, this bill only gives them one month. They don’t realize that, that’s another thing. Good point. This bill gives them one month, it gave, you know the subsidy…

ECONOMIST: The continuation of the subsidy?

TRUMP: The subsidy to the insurance companies, yes. Anytime I want because actually.

ECONOMIST: But my question is if the bill doesn’t pass.

TRUMP: In actuality Congress has to approve it. Congress…

ECONOMIST: If the bill doesn’t pass would you cut the subsidies?

TRUMP: If the bill doesn’t pass, I’d be in a different position. Because, if the bill didn’t pass the Republicans would have let me down. And then I’d have to decide what I want to do because I want people to have health care.

Within the span of a few sentences, Trump seems to hint that he is ready to stop paying the subsidies—but that his course of action may be tempered by what Congress does on the Obamacare repeal strategy.... White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus made reassuring calls to legislators that reportedly put Democratic leadership at ease. Trump, however, wants to make it clear that these payments are not a done deal[:]... he could end the subsidies “anytime I want.”... Trump is destabilizing the Obamacare marketplaces and raising the possibility of collapse. Whether he understands that is an open question...

No, Sarah, whether Trump understands it is not an open question. Trump does not understand it. Trump does not understand it any more than he understands that he did not invent the phrase "priming the pump", that his plans do not do what people mean when they say "prime the pump", nor that steam-driven catapults are not a realistic design choice to launch modern fighter jets off of Ford-class aircraft carries.

Amendment25. Please. Now.