Donald Trump Now Says Health Insurance Costs $12 a Year

This is the man urging Senators to repeal Obamacare next week.

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Jul 21 2017, 3:25pm

Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images


Back in May, President Donald Trump made a lot of people scratch their heads when he suggested that health insurance costs a $15 a month, or $180 a year. It was unclear at the time if he was conflating health insurance with life insurance (scarily wrong), if he thinks health insurance really does cost $15 a month (extremely false), or, finally, if he thinks that's how much health insurance should cost.

But now, in an interview with the New York Times, Trump has presented us with an even bigger head-scratcher. He said young people pay $12 a year for their health insurance:

So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you're 21 years old, you start working and you're paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you're 70, you get a nice plan.

Trump has no idea what he's talking about. Health insurance plans are not investment accounts; their value does not increase over time. Plus, older people can be charged up to three times more than younger people. But the scary thing is that he thinks he gets it. He told Time on May 8: "in a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about health care." Even after he was widely panned for saying insurance costs $15 a month, he didn't learn how it actually works and he doubled down by saying he's very knowledgeable on the topic:

You know, a lot of the papers were saying — actually, these guys couldn't believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care.

Trump making false statements isn't anything new, but it's frightening that he's advocating to repeal Obamacare without knowing how health insurance really works. He's going along with it all because of politics and with complete disregard for policy. And, despite what you may have heard earlier in the week, the effort to repeal Obamacare isn't dead yet.

The Senate bill to replace Obamacare failed in dramatic fashion on Monday when two Republican Senators issued synchronized statements that they would vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act, bringing the number of "nos" to four when the bill could only lose two. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately shifted his strategy to repealing Obamacare with no replacement, a move that the Congressional Budget Office said would lead to 17 million more uninsured people next year and 32 million more in 2026 compared to current law. That's because the bill is only a partial repeal: While it would end the mandate that all Americans buy insurance and nix the funds for the Medicaid expansion and for subsidies that help people pay their premiums, it would leave in the requirements on the types of health plans insurers can sell. So way fewer people would be able to afford the plans, or qualify for Medicaid. It's a mess.

On Tuesday, three Republican Senators (all women) said they would vote against repeal-only, which many thought effectively killed the bill. But McConnell and Trump still want to hold a vote on the apparently still-living replacement bill next week; Trump was trying to convince people to vote for it at a lunch this week. If you don't want the Senate to repeal Obamacare, you can call your Senator and urge them to vote no. The number is 202-224-3121 and here's a script from Indivisible.

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