What Trump Is Learning From His Presidency

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

It is now clear that Donald Trump had never cared about public policy except to the extent it affected his own bottom line as a businessman, and that he’s only now starting, as the U.S. President, to think about ideology, and about public policy, and about what the functions of government are and what they ought to be, and how they can most efficiently be carried out in policy. He’s in a learning-mode, now, more than a doing-mode. So: what is he actually learning?

Back on 27 February 2017, after already more than a month as President, he said “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” and that “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject.” For him, as someone who never had really thought about it before, this fact (the need for authentic expertise in the interests of the public, not of himself) came as an unpleasant shock — after already several weeks in the White House.

He has made clear that he’ll be happy to sign anything that Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House can have enough agreement with each other about so as to get onto his desk for him to sign into law.

The latest iteration of this is that Trump, it has recently become clear, would even be delighted to sign into law a healthcare bill that would strip away almost all regulations — almost all legal limitations — on what health insurance companies are allowed to do in the insurance policies they sell. Philip Klein, in the Washington Examiner, on the morning of Wednesday July 19th, headlined “Trump calls Mike Lee in attempt to revive Senate healthcare bill”, and reported that Trump had just spoken with Senator Lee — who along with Rand Paul is one of the Senate’s two libertarians (believers in eliminating all economic regulations) — and Klein reported there that:

Trump reached out to Lee, R-Utah, on Tuesday afternoon to take his temperature and, according to a spokesman for the senator, Lee reiterated his position that he wanted to free the market from Obamacare’s regulations in an effort to drive down premiums and provide more choices.

Trump, according to the spokesman, seemed receptive.

In other words: Trump is “receptive” to eliminating almost all of the Obama regulations on the insurance policies that insurance companies can sell. Lee, who is a sincerely committed libertarian, has demanded that Obamacare be eliminated altogether before it is replaced, and the reason he has required this is that Obamacare has placed legal limitations upon the insurance policies that are allowed to be sold in the United States, and that Lee wants to get rid of all of them.

Almost everyone in Congress is either an ideologue or else corrupt, or else both (which combination is possible if corruption is acceptable within that person’s ideology). Mike Lee is specifically a libertarian ideologue, and no one has been able to corrupt him to violate his ideology, which, one can reasonably infer from this and other examples, excludes him from corruption — from selling it out.

Klein’s news-report stated, however, that Lee was willing to compromise it, just a little, if the Republicans can strip out all but the most popular Obamacare regulations:

Lee has indicated that he would be inclined to support the bill if it included a provision that he helped write with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to offer plans that do not have to abide by Obamacare’s regulations as long as they offer plans that meet all of the requirements. Cruz eventually agreed to a compromise that would allow insurers to get around most of the regulations, but that maintained Obamacare’s requirement that all insurers operate a single risk pool in a given state. That means that as written, insurers would be governed by two drastically different regulatory regimes within a single risk pool, which Lee determined would put upward pressure on premiums.

Lee, it is clear, believes that regulations “put upward pressure on premiums.” Reduce the regulations and the cost of “premiums” would go down, he believes. But what about the costs that health insurance isn’t even covering? Just forget about that, is the attitude. The obsession is: “premiums.” What a consumer gets for those premiums, most members of Congress don’t even care — they don’t think it’s their business to be involved in that. Certainly, most of the Republican ones don’t. To be involved in that would be “regulation” — and anyone who is even just partially libertarian is against “regulation.” The very concept has a bad odor to them.

However, that view, libertarianism, is exactly the opposite of the true understanding not only of health care, but even of just health insurance, because all international experience has made unequivocally clear that in order to drive down even only “premiums,” libertarianism is actually poison: libertarianism actually drives up both health-insurance premiums, and uncovered healthcare costs. Libertarians — even people who are only partially and not exclusively that — ignore the total picture (which includes both premiums and what’s not covered by premiums). But when premiums are being driven down by means of driving up what consumers pay out of their own pockets (i.e., by means of reducing insurance-coverage), consumers tend to put off or delay care until their healthcare-problem becomes very expensive or impossible to treat — and that’s not at all the efficient way for a healthcare-system to function. It reduces instead of increases health. The obsession of politicians, who don’t want to draw attention to the broader picture of driving down all healthcare-costs (while increasing health), including not just “premiums” but out-of-pocket (uncovered) costs, is “premiums,” but premiums don’t by any means include paying for everything in health care. See the link at the phrase, “quality of care; and the U.S. quality of care is low in comparison to other advanced nations,” in this article, wherein America’s unique combination of low quality and astronomically high cost is documented and is also placed into its broader perspective so that it can also be understood, not be at all confusing. This is what public-policymaking is really all about: it’s about the entire system, if it’s public-policymaking in an authentic democracy. An incomplete view of the system — such as libertarianism demands — is toxic to the public. If politicians don’t care about the public but only about their big campaign-donors, then calling the holders of public office “Representatives” of the public is a lie, that’s not a real democracy but only a fraudulent one. The U.S. has both the least regulated, and the most expensive, healthcare in the world, and it’s inferior even to that in many countries where healthcare costs-per-capita are less than half as high as in the United States. Moreover, America’s healthcare also costs twice as high a percentage of GDP as in those other countries. That fact (America’s having by far the costliest, and also one of the lowest quality, healthcare-systems of all industrialized countries) is too “complicated” for the neophyte policy-thinker Trump to grab hold of (he doesn’t really care about it), or for the libertarian ideologue Mike Lee even to care at all about (since it contradicts his false theory, libertarianism); but it’s undeniably true, nonetheless: America is the corrupt laughingstock of all other countries, when it comes to healthcare. Ideologues such as Lee, and also plain psychopaths such as Trump, have made it become that way; but, still, it’s not yet enough “libertarian” to suit them. They want even more of it. (Certainly their megadonors do.)

Libertarianism is actually chaos, and that’s what America now has in its healthcare; and it’s both very expensive and very inefficient. Chaos is unregulated, but it is “unbelievably complex,” because the options and sub-options in a chaotic social system regarding healthcare or anything else, are so numerous and so incompatible with one-another, so that the less regulated the system (that’s provided under the law) is, the more numerous the regulations themselves must necessarily be. There must be exceptions all over the place — and this frees up anyone who wants to get an edge on the ‘free market’, to do whatever he or she wants to do — thus it’s ‘libertarian’, such as the U.S. is famous for being: ideologically committed against socialism, no matter how democratic, how anti-authoritarian, that socialism may, in fact, be. It’s all ‘communism’ they say: Denmark has it, so does Sweden, so do many countries, but did we oppose them during the Cold War? Of course not! That type of thinking is for idiots, but plenty of them exist. And both Lee and Trump want them to wade through all those choices that, even Trump himself now admits, are “unbelievably complex.” He thinks it’s “complex” for him, but not too complex for ordinary hardworking Americans to study fully and carefully enough so that they can intelligently choose the optimum insurance-policy to meet their own actuarial probability of this disease or that disease, or this type of accident, or that type of on-the-job health-risk? Really?

Trump is running into this same learning-curve when it comes to international trade; and, like with healthcare, he’s not learning.

Also on July 19th, Shane Savitsky and Jonathan Swan at Axios headlined, “Trump’s own words put his trade policy in jeopardy”, and they wrote:

President Trump wants to invoke a national security provision to stop the “dumping” of cheap steel into America, but trade lawyers believe Trump’s public statements — and dubious legal reasoning — could expose the administration to significant legal problems.

The White House’s rhetoric: The administration in April identified dumping as the impetus for Trump “standing up” for the steel and aluminum industries.

Trump last week on Air Force One:”They’re dumping steel and destroying our steel industry, they’ve been doing it for decades, and I’m stopping it.”

Why it matters: International trade experts, including NYU Law professor Robert Howse, told Axios that Trump made a big mistake by identifying “dumping” as his basis for imposing retaliatory tariffs on national security grounds. There are already laws on the books to remedy dumping, and if Trump invokes the national security provision to impose new tariffs, other nations will immediately challenge him because they’re operating under a World Trade Organization agreement that has no national security exceptions. …

… The Trump administration has launched an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to explore how to stop foreign countries “dumping” artificially cheap steel into the U.S. market. The Trump administration labels this a national security threat because it undermines American manufacturers. Trump’s team would likely try to justify its actions to the WTO by citing Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which allows countries to make trade decisions based on “the protection” of “essential security interests.”

But the White House might never be able to use its preferred defense for steel tariffs using the GATT because the WTO already has a superseding Anti-Dumping Agreement that specifically disciplines such cases — and it doesn’t allow for a dumping case based on “national security” or contain any national security exceptions. Given that the administration has been clear that dumping is a centerpiece of its Section 232 investigation, a WTO member could choose [to] bring a legal challenge under the Anti-Dumping Agreement to preempt the administration’s Article XXI plan.

The approach has other problems: Trade experts view Article XXI — designed for emergencies or wartime — as a third rail in international trade law. If Trump invokes it he would threaten the WTO’s legitimacy and potentially spark a global trade war. The U.S. also has domestic laws surrounding dumping that were recently expanded by Congress early last year, and White House could face a domestic legal challenge to any action against steel dumping — for example, from an auto manufacturer or a foreign exporter — before it has to face down the WTO.

What trade lawyers are asking: Is this the strategy of a nationalist administration set to paint either an international trade organization or the judicial branch as diametrically opposed to its America first policy or, similar to the roll-out of the travel ban, is the administration not prepared for the impact of the president’s public statements?

This displays from Tump the same incompetency at systems-thinking that he displays in regards to healthcare. He doesn’t really “give a damn” about public policy.

The best thing that can be said about Trump as President is that, unlike his political opponent Hillary Clinton, who had an extensive track-record proving her commitment to overthrowing every head-of-state that is at all friendly toward Russia, and was so determined to do it as to be willing to bring about nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia, Trump just doesn’t care at all, except about himself and his family. He had no track-record at all in public life, and, fortunately, had no “regime-change in Syria” commitment at all (though America’s neoconservative ‘news’media still grasp at the straws of hope for him to change on that and thus for him to become even more similar to his opponent than he already is turning out to be). His psychopathy gives the world at least a possibility it’ll survive his term in the White House. Thus, if Clinton were the President, I’d be even less optimistic than I am, about the next few years. Furthermore, there is now the possibility of massive political gridlock in Washington. That could be a great relief. Sometimes, incompetency in a person is a gift to be treasured, to ward off that person’s becoming really dangerous — or, at least, more dangerous than he/she would otherwise be. But, of course, the same would have been true regarding Mrs. Clinton. And, either way, it was a con, not a functioning democracy. That’s the first thing to understand about America, regardless who won the White House.

UPDATE: Just as this article was being completed, on the evening of July 19th, the neoconservative Washington Post headlined the most important breaking news story thus far in Trump’s Presidency, “Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow”, and reported, “President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials. The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside, but even its backers have questioned its efficacy since Russia deployed forces in Syria two years later.” Obama Administration officials, and other neocons, were quoted there saying such things as, “This is a force that we can’t afford to completely abandon. … If they are ending the aid to the rebels altogether, then that is a huge strategic mistake.” These ‘moderate’ ‘rebels’, as the U.S. regime and its ’news’media called them, were overwhelmingly jihadists, whom Obama had been using as cheap boots-on-the-ground — proxies for far costlier American corpses — so as to overthrow Assad and install a pro-Saud Islamic Sharia-law regime to run Syria instead; Hillary Clinton had been intent upon finishing that job — even if it would mean war against Russia. This action by Trump is a sea-change for the better. It is a heroic act by a U.S. President whom the U.S. aristocracy have been trying to oust (in favor of the committed neoconservative Mike Pence) so as to overthrow Assad and any other head-of-state who is allied with Russia. Maybe Trump is learning something important, after all. And maybe he is starting to care, finally, about the welfare of the American public. The present observer, at any rate, is again in a wait-and-see mode, about him.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • kimyo

    because all international experience has made unequivocally clear that in order to drive down even only “premiums,” libertarianism is actually poison: libertarianism actually drives up both health-insurance premiums, and uncovered healthcare costs.

    which countries are you basing your ‘all international experience’ claim on?

    • zartan

      America is a den of thieves!

      The only reason “America” ( the only civilized nation fails) cannot have universal coverage is because you have 20 or 30 mafia organizations ( Lobbies and BIG Pharma) that extort orders of magnitude over cost for mega profit. God could not afford healthcare in America.

      Try paying your own bill in cash and stop relying on socialism (aka corporate health insurance), and medicare, More Socialism, which is nothing but stealing from the young and giving to the old.

      None of you can afford healthcare, I am a healthcare professional and I know.

    • Sister Jane

      Good point, the article states, “Mike Lee is specifically a libertarian ideologue, and no one has been able to corrupt him to violate his ideology, which, one can reasonably infer from this and other examples, excludes him from corruption — from selling it out.” So in effect the article uses Lee as an example of Libertarian thinking, yet the article stated this early. Lee is a Republican and a statist his views lean libertarian only at times. (Or perhaps just an old time Republican that truly believes in a limited government, that differs from today’s Republican and Democrat, as they no longer believe in a limited government, they all see it as the cure to everything under the sun. I digress, he’s no libertarian.) It also must be noted that even among Libertarians there are those that are Statist and those that lean against the federal governments involvement in most things, so it’s not libertarianism so much but Statist or authoritarian beliefs. Once one adds in the political pay off system, the revolving doors, the political buddy system, and their insider knowledge, the whole thing starts to appear as corrupt and complicated. Once one enters into the realm of National Healthcare and commits themselves to it in the belief that it’s the only cure, they can no longer claim to be anything other than pure Statist.

      The article seems out of touch in many respects, after all premiums have sky rocketed now, not because of any libertarian ideas or beliefs, but by progressive beliefs and law, not only have the cost skyrocketed, but those company’s even offering healthcare in many states have fallen to one or two companies, meaning the State has forced people into a box with no way out. (Eric is aware of Obamacare as he’s written stuff on it.) There is little doubt that Statism is a disease, and if it spreads any further there will be no escape for anyone, the State wants to know every detail about you not to help you, but to put you in their box. There was a joke stating that all we really have to do is be born, die, and pay taxes. Actually that last one should be controlled by the State whenever, wherever, and however it chooses, because that tax part is only a small part of control. Someday we will wake up one morning and find that before we even make our first cup of coffee, we have committed a few felonies and the State should or can just take us away.

      Eric here has a few misconceptions I believe, but at least he’s looking at the problems and at times even has suggestions to improve the system, for that I appreciate it. As for the libertarian rant, I can ignore that, it’s not like it’s fake news, it’s just opinion, and just like ass holes, everybody has one, you and I, everyone.

      • kimyo

        it’s not like it’s fake news, it’s just opinion

        i disagree. just like rachel maddow, zuesse’s positions BLOCK discourse and fan the flames of enmity (ex: conservatives are more bigoted than progressives). this is the desired outcome of fake news, the two-minute hate, delivered 24/7, 365 days a year, on every single channel and handheld screen.

        zuesse is rabidly anti-3rd party. he is rabidly pro-voting. he is an establishment shill in pseudo-progressive clothing.

        ‘libertarianism actually drives up both health-insurance premiums, and uncovered healthcare costs.’ is quite a strange claim. what country has ever tried a ‘libertarian’ health care system? for that matter, what is a ‘libertarian’ healthcare system?

        The question libertarians just can’t answer
        If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?

        Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?

        • Sister Jane

          Well we are both of the same opinion actually, other than I don’t take it as fake, it’s just that he’s wrong that’s all, I took the entire article as it being the writers opinion that he’s just throwing out there. I’m not going to psychoanalyze (no Doctor Phill here.) the guy on why he has this narrow opinion of something that’s much more complicated than his simple article states. You could also be correct about the writer being against 3rd Parties and all the rest, but I really don’t care, although I will say his establishment views do seem different than the average statist. As I said, you made an excellent point about this so called libertarian health care, that part did give me a chuckle when he wrote that.

          You do not need to repeat the libertarian thing, I agree, good point as I said. If he’d said almost anything else it made sense, socialist, communist, Statist, even Democratic, but libertarian, that’s silly. There is no way that statement could inflame tensions or bring forth hate, because it’s wrong. It gave me the impression he does not care for libertarians even though he has no idea obviously of what it stands for.

    • cstahnke

      Go to the OECD site and read the comparative analysis of various systems. The rest of the world sees health-care as a public utility primarily. In the U.S. the system exists primarily to maximize the wealth and power of the industry. I don’t even think the industry is interested in the health of the citizen as a system.

      • kimyo

        indeed, it is rather the opposite – sicker ‘health-care consumers’ generate more revenue for the industry. (three words which should never be seen together: health, care & industry)

        then again, you don’t even have to be sick: Michigan doctor accused of giving patients false cancer diagnoses

        Kaley is now among the scores of other patients who are shocked to learn Dr. Fata was arrested last week on charges of not only falsely telling patients they had cancer, but also giving them unnecessary chemotherapy treatments.

        Fata’s motive: pure greed, according to federal prosecutors.

        Fata allegedly misdiagnosed his patients so that he could submit false Medicare claims, stealing $35 million over a two-year period, according to a federal complaint.


    • cettel

      Just click on the link at the relevant point in the article. That’s what a link is for — to provide the relevant documentation.

      • kimyo

        neither link in your paragraph of extreme size provides any data on libertarian healthcare premium/uncovered costs.

        international experience = ‘Gallup Finds Americans Are Ideological Suckers About Healthcare’ or ‘Republicans Issue Good News About Obamacare’?

        what a strange fellow you are.

        • cettel

          I’ll summarize, then, from the links that are found in the links to the articles that I linked-to:

          The bureaucracy on health care is higher here than in UK, where there’s socialization not just of the health-insurance but of the health-care system itself, and they have higher quality health care overall than the U.S. and at less than half the price (and the percentage of GDP) that we do. You are telling me that theirs isn’t socialized, but ours is?
          Look at the data: We’ve got the costliest and one of the worst healthcare of all industrialized countries:
          We’ve got a bunch of libertarians here, who refuse to face the data (and that’s the only way a libertarian can be one). And the U.S. has the most libertarian healthcare system, with the greatest number of options to choose from, the most libertarian a healthcare system:
          Socialized is best, in healthcare. It is the least bureaucratic, the best care, at the lowest price. But libertarians prefer the most corrupt healthcare, instead. And that’s what we’ve got. It’s not because of the American public; it’s because they’re fooled, by the aristocracy; and it’s because the aristocracy bribes the ‘people’s representatives’ to avoid socialization of the healthcare function.

          • kimyo

            ah, now i see. the u.s. healthcare system is libertarian because you say it is.

            in fact, anything bad is libertarian. gorilla ate your grandma? obviously must have been libertarians.

            stepped in a puddle? fly in your coffee? those damn libertarians.

            describing our system as ‘the greatest number of options to choose from’ is delusional. the vast majority of americans have at most 2 options.

            describing our system as libertarian is also delusional. it was written by insurers and big pharma, then submitted/signed by both republican and democratic crony criminals. libertarians had nothing whatsover to do with the process.

            the libertarians didn’t block socialized healthcare. the guy YOU voted for, the democrat, obama did.

  • Zartan

    None of the Idiocies described about regulations applies in a world where Asparin is billed $80.00, or so, for its administration costs. Governments that are smart know that they can control costs by the size of their represented constituents covered in universal plans. You cannot have thieves running healthcare. Healthcare requires disciplined, moral people or it goes straight to hell.

    I am so sick of the embarrassment of America, a nation that spends TRILLIONS on buffoonish wars on idiocy and cannot even do healthcare for its citizens like CUBA! Hey, anyone proud to be an American … I will FLOOR YOU!

    • Jed Grover

      I’m proud to be a human …… American not so much. Pride in America must be earned and stealing or extorting tax dollars to be utilized in ruthless often murderous acts is nothing to be proud of. The final curse to the womb for me was 9/11. My pride and “liberty flame” got flushed and was never suspicious for too long. Controlled demo was my conclusion. Those at the helm of this demonic, devouring ship are the aggressors.

      • Zartan

        America is a Wasteland. Americans are proud to be slaves and there is no hope. I want a lifetime refund, plus penalty, and then I am leaving this godforsaken land. I will not patronize that which will destroy me! Americans would be wise to revolt but they are too lost to understand. God cannot even help America.

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        • cettel

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          • andrew1212

            I FLAG these spammers every time I see them–Discus (?) seems very slow in removal…Seems to be an organized attempt at Trolling the comment section of Washington’s Blog to Disrupt/Degrade the natural flow of conversation.

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  • oncefiredbrass

    Health-care should only cover catastrophic illnesses. Check-ups, sinus infections, MRI’s, etc should be paid out of pocket – then doctors will start lowering prices to compete for business, people will call around for the cheapest prices – the $80 aspirin will disappear. people with so called preexisting conditions that can’t obtain coverage should be made to pay to have Medicaid and means checked. Without true competition, tort reform, selling policies across state lines nothing will change. Right now everything is hidden from the consumer by insurance companies that work out sweet deals with doctors, all we know is there is a copay and a deductible – throw all the cost out into the open and competition will start. Cancer, heart transplants etc will fall under catastrophic.

    • Holleytfulford

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      • cettel

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    • cstahnke

      That’s all theoretical and not very likely. We have overwhelming evidence that good low-cost health-care is possible. Why do you ignore the reality of the rest of the developed world who have solved the health-care problem by designating it as a public utility. Most systems out there are NOT single-payer but a regulated system that has as its goal a healthy nation and not profits–our system is an industry that thrives on disease not health.

      • oncefiredbrass

        Can you point to a system that has 350 million people on it?

        • cstahnke

          A system is a system–besides one would think a larger system would be able to have the economy of scale to make it cheaper instead it’s almost twice as expensive as the OECD average. Why? Because it is a racket where everyone vested takes a cut.

          • oncefiredbrass

            The problem with single payer is there is no incentive for a Doctor to waste 8 years of Medical School to be paid a government salary. On the scale of the 350 million people in the US, a doctor shortage would immediately emerge. before the program was even launched. The problem with every Government run health program is waiting lists because of doctor shortages, this is an easy fact for you to verify. There are already many doctors in the US that won’t even take Medicare patients because the reimbursement is so low…….That is amplified at a higher rate for Medicaid patients because that is even lower!

          • cstahnke

            The U.S. deliberately limits the entry of doctors within the system. Frankly, I’m unimpressed with normal MDs. A lot of their work is being done by nurses who are often better at healing but that’s another story. My experience of those who have received medical care abroad show me that care is quick and inexpensive or free. Waiting lists depend on the urgency of he surgery. To put it another way, again, in every other developed country the systems are relatively rational and focus on health-care as a public utility not a source of outrageous profits and, frankly, waste, fraud and abuse that appears “normal” because everyone form docs, hospitals, insurance companies, and drug companies each try to gouge the system which accounts for its irrationality. Doctor are 2.56 doctors per 1,000 people in the U.S. while northern Europe ranges between 4 and 5 per 1,000 people so you are just wrong on that. My point always is that health care can be rational and for all the people or irrational and rationed according to wealth. I believe the right supports our system because it finds a wasteful and irrational system has one advantage that all the other developed countries lack, i.e., that it punishes poor people which they believe is essential to force people to put up with increasingly lower-pay and increasingly shittier working conditions.

    • cettel

      So, all poor people should just die?

      So, all preventative health care should be only on an ability-to-pay basis?

      So: all emergency-rooms should be overloaded, overpriced, and the public should be very very sick?

      • oncefiredbrass

        Poor and people with preexisting conditions will be put on Medicaid, but means tested as to what they have to pay. Read before making progressive statements! Last i looked we are 20 trillion in debt. Emergency rooms don’t stay open if they don’t get paid. If you want the poor to get free preventative healthcare, stop letting them buy all junk food with their EBT card. Nutritional food only – no candy bars, soda, etc…..after all we are printing money to pay for all that stuff!

        • cettel

          But you said “Health-care should only cover catastrophic illnesses.” That means you want all health insurance to pay only for catastrophic illnesses; and this means that Medicaid should cover only catastrophic illnesses. And that means: Poor people should pay entirely out-of-(empty)-pocket for all healthcare except catastrophic illnesses. And this means: Poor people — but also the middle class who don’t have catastrophic illnesses — should be paying 100% out-of-pocket for all health-care they get. And this means: Only the rich will be able to afford health-care that’s not for catastrophic illnesses. And this means: Virtually everyone except the richest 5% will receive no health-care at all unless and until the person gets a catastrophic illness, when it’s already too late to do much (if any) good. And this means: very short average life-span for residents in the U.S.

          • oncefiredbrass

            When you buy car insurance do they cover oil changes? new brakes? They cover when the car is smashed in an accident. The poor with no money will be means tested to pay little or none. The problem is we have people making $80K a year that are on Medicaid, do you think maybe they should contribute something towards their coverage? It’s the Politicians that keep raising the poverty line to unreasonable amounts that are bankrupting the system, all to buy votes! WE ARE BROKE……..we owe $ 20 Trillion Dollars, if interest rate normalize to 5-6% it will take all the revenue the government takes in just to make the interest payment on the National Debt, that means no money for anything else unless we borrow. If you have a friend that borrows $10 every week off you but never pays you back, is there a point where you won’t lend him the money anymore? What if other countries don’t buy our debt? Who do we borrow from to keep the Ponzi Scheme running?

  • andrew1212

    Donald Trump shows traits of being a Malignant Pathological Narcissistic Psychopath…

    “Do you see Donald Trump disrespecting social, political, emotional, and inter-personal boundaries regularly?”



    “Trump possesses every well-established, core personality trait of psychopaths, and he possesses them at high levels—take, for instance, manipulativeness, pathological lying, callousness, deficient empathy, unconscionableness, grandiosity, [antisocial forms] of stimulation-seeking from boredom (see his bellicose, provocative tweeting compulsion as an example), impulsivity, shallowness and superficiality.”


    • kimyo

      every moment we spend talking about trump’s personality is a moment we could have spent talking about the real issues we face.

      the media would much prefer to have us talk about his hair or hands rather than facts like: 51 percent of american workers make less than $30,000 / year

      • andrew1212

        Understanding Trump’s personality disorder allows one to see the patterns of his behavior and know what to expect. I do agree there are thousands of more important things to discuss than Trump–but this article is specifically about Trump (please READ the Headline if you didn’t notice).

        • kimyo

          but this article is specifically about Trump

          and thus my complaint. zuesse falsely portrays trump as if he’s in charge, taking decisions.

          did trump arrange the saudi arms deal? the yemen one? did he give the go-ahead to bomb the syrian runway or was that someone else? did he write trumpcare? sitting in front of a chessboard, in deep thought, did he just move another pawn into afghan territory? is he overseeing the nafta overhaul?

          zuesse (and maddow and brianwilliams) would have us believe that trump is the ceo when in fact he’s just head of p.r.

          the only thing trump is in charge of is his twitter stream.

          his ‘personality disorder’ is just the construct of the day. if it suits those directing this worst of all reality tv shows, tomorrow his personality disorder will morph into some other monster as needs be.

  • cstahnke

    Health care is complicate only because we don’t (yet) recognize it as a public utility that all other developed countries do recognize. There are cultural reasons for that. First, unlike Europe, our working class tends to be fatalistic and “guilty” of being “losers” since our society values money as a sign of worth. Thus, they often oppose policies that would benefit them since, deep down, they feel they don’t deserve them. Of course this is tragic–but I’m not sure, considering our culture’s value system there’s anything to be done for that. This is why I’m not so quick to dismiss the libertarian position. In this country that is no longer a Constitutional republic with democratic institutions but an inverted totalitarian society, any action by government has to be suspect due to the extraordinary corruption at every node of our political economy. Corruption is not always a bad thing as long as it is at the margins but when it is central to the functioning of the system then we have to distance ourselves from government.

    Obamacare was never intended to benefit the people–it was an attempt to rationalize an already fairly oppressive system that threatened to come apart. The idea is to provide a framework that would force citizens to throw money into the system so that it could remain exactly as it was but with a few cosmetic and rational reforms to guarantee income to the industry and, as a bonus, stop people from seeking relief from alternative medicine. For example, the expansion of Medicaid would put more money into the system and cover people who would never have a chance at getting care who otherwise would have spent their money on illegal drugs or other forms of health-care.

    A fully libertarian system would allow all forms of medicine not just the very expensive “heroic” medicine of Big Pharma and surgery by allowing alternative practitioners to compete with official state-sponsored medicine.

    • cettel

      This comment is full of unsupported (and some false) preconceptions.

      • cstahnke

        Like what? That’s strictly ad hominem. The things I write are based on my research and my experience. If there’s specific things I mentioned let me at least explain what I meant and what is involved in my thinking. Instead you’re just blowing air.

  • Zartan

    The Medical Industry in America is akin to the Military Industrial Complex. You idiots allowed lobbies to corrupt and fornicate with your politicians and now you have nothing! Healthcare is a Necessity, Wars on Terror ,and the Demonstrated Stupidity of the American Military, Costing TRILLIONS, is not! Almost every civilized nation has universal healthcare and education for its citizens. Only America, wastes Trillions “Shooting holes in the SAND” with its loser military, (and it is Histories Largest Loser by Cost and Record losses) while the American people GET FKED By Sick Demonic Banker Orgies!

    Americans are too dumb to know they are Being Raped.

    Healthcare in America is used to keep “slaves in bondage” to their masters, which is the real reason you will never have healthcare! However, you idiots pay for the military to have universal coverage, while they fight banker wars and plunge the nation into hopeless levels of Trillion Dollar Debt!

    Hey … DOPES … GD CUBA can do universal healthcare and education, but YOU have given MEGA Trillions to Banker Welfare and Illegal Wars!

  • ICFubar

    Not being able to view the operation of Trump’s mind who knows what already exists in there as axiom other than the bottom line or what if anything he has learned. What many know for a fact is that the left – right paradigm is an orchestrated play to keep the little people at each other’s throats so that they can never unite to form a common front.

    This is what I know ; That the Democrats and their hard core supporters hate the Republicans as warmongers, police state champions under the ‘law and order’ or ‘security – safety” issues, and their complete obsequious affinity to big corporate capitalism while the Republicans in their many forms hate the Democrats for their gender identity politics, as bungling warmongers, big government advocates and their obsequious affinity to big financial capitalism. Neither hate the other for championing the plight of the little people being squeezed and or squashed by their own or the other’s policies, which they really both share in common minus the issues which don’t amount to a hill of beans in the larger scheme of things. Neither club ever questions the Continuity of Agenda agencies such as the DHS, CIA, NSA, ESF (within Treasury) or the Fed Reserve system which actually run the country by self instigated law and decree. This despite any new administration seizing the brass ring and the largess that comes with it. Put another way the State serves a plutocracy and the plutocracy takes care of it own personnel and interests. They have complete disdain for the herd of ‘cattle’ they manipulate with lies, propagated myths, theft and violence and who get what they deserve for being ‘cattle.’

    • cettel

      This comment is irrelevant. It is also full of unsupported assumptions.

  • RobertRoddis

    Mr. Zuesse and the commenters are purposefully misrepresenting libertarianism. Libertarianism prohibits the initiation of violence and promotes the protection of private property in possessions and bodies of all humans. This would put an immediate stop to war, theft, pillage, rape and murder. Further, relationships would be by way of voluntary contracts ACCOMPANIED BY STRICT ENFORCEMENT AND PUNISHMENT FOR FRAUD. What exactly is a “lack of regulation”? It may mean a lack of third party interference in the drafting of the terms of a contract. As far as libertarianism goes, it certainly does not mean that an insurance company or drug company or whatever company can defraud their customers. Contracts are to be strictly enforced and fraud is to be strictly proscribed.

    In fact, there is no lying allowed with contracts. EVER. That certainly cannot be said for political promises and the war, theft, pillage, rape and murder that goes along with political solutions.

    • cettel

      You’ve got your preconceptions about ‘libertarianism’, and they’re shaped by the propaganda you’ve soaked up. They are obviously immune to the data.

  • RobertRoddis

    To call our government bureaucratized health care system “libertarian” is nothing but a monstrous lie. Try selling drugs without FDA approval. Try opening a hospital without government permission. Try practicing medicine without a license. Libertarianism concerns only the prohibition on the initiation of violence and fraud. Calling a statist mess like the US health care system “libertarianism” is a monstrous lie without basis in fact or analysis.

  • iseeit

    I appreciate your passions. Your ignorant wailings against “libertarianism” make me feel compassion for you.

    With respect and hope….

    May you continue this journey till the end.

    • cettel

      You ignore the evidence. Do you even click on to the links?

      • kimyo

        i did click on the links. they offer no support for your arguments.

  • awb22

    The only thing that has been clear all along is Zuesse is a never Trumper.

    You lost, Eric. You don’t get to now whine until the second coming of Christ about it.

    Get over it.

    • cettel

      You understand nothing, then put it on me, on this person who explained many times why I voted for Trump. You might as well not read at all — you understand nothing that you read. You’re too full of preconceptions, which are false and which you won’t change, because obviously your preconceptions are immune to evidence — you probably don’t even click onto the links to see the evidence. You read only to confirm your prejudices.

  • Zartan

    Healthcare is being regulated for profit by criminals and this is why it is so complex.

    The United States Military, a Special Interest Group Entitlement Program, takes advantage of universal healthcare at the expense of the citizens who go without. Trillions are spent on foolish wars for special interest groups, while the treasury is plundered. Healthcare can be simplified and made more affordable by making it universal with rules that benefit the people not Corporations. The US military budget can be cut in Half ( easy) and this will pay for Universal Healthcare and Educational benefits that American slaves lack. America cannot compete with nations that take care of their slaves (I.e. all other nations). Requiring slaves who have ZERO savings ( statistical data finds 50-percent of the population, or more, have zero savings) to pay for an Insanely Priced Education to be a slave is “gross stupidity” at incredible levels beyond human description.

    How Americans put up with it?

    The Missing Link has been found … It is the American!

    Oh, and with Americas new found “freedom” should such be done, employers would no longer be required to pay for employee ( slave) healthcare, which would free them up to pay more for labor.

    Simple Stuff, people, it took me all of 3-minutes, now, what is wrong with your government?

  • Zartan

    You know, Americans, and especially those who call themselves Christians … “There is Right and there is Wrong.” You people are so brainwashed, by government, that you would ask GOD for a Link. Now, If you are so lost that you do not comprehend that GOD requires people to take care of one-another, Healthcare, then you will never see JESUS. You better think, because I have been praying that GOD take away the health of those who are against universal healthcare. Since you are so Selfish, Why should HE take care of YOU? I even leveraged the fact that YOU would rather tax monies go to carpet bombing His POOR all over HIS Creation.

    You do not stand a chance with me, Christians, so How do you intend to FOOL JESUS?