Trump could find himself in a tricky political situation if he pushes a health care overhaul while trying to win re-election next year. House Democratic candidates across the country hammered GOP lawmakers last year for votes to repeal the ACA.
For example, Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., defeated Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur, who authored a divisive House amendment that would have allowed states to get waivers allowing insurers to charge some consumers more. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-N.Y., defeated then-GOP Rep. John Faso in a swing district race in large part by drilling into the Republican’s vote to get rid of Obamacare.
Those candidates and numerous others won House seats and governor’s offices using health care as their primary issue.
Democrats spent elections from 2010 to 2016 defending against Republican attacks on Obamacare. As they saw last year, it’s often better politically to be in the position of criticizing their opponents’ actions than defending their own.
Trump could fare better next year if he chooses to frame the health care debate in terms of some Democrats’ plans to transition to a government-run system, rather than making the election about his own proposals. In a statement Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders signaled the administration could do just that.
“We will protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower prices for care and prescription drugs even further, end surprise medical bills, and make sure Americans get the absolute best quality of care. Our Nation deserves a great healthcare system that puts American patients first and puts people — not the government in control of their healthcare,” she said in a written statement.
Of course, following through on those promises involves crafting a specific plan. That could prove to be the biggest headache for Trump.
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