After being told to judge Trump based on his actions when he’s in office, I’m doing so, and I’m incredibly concerned with what I’m seeing thus far as a voter and as an American. Throughout his campaign, Trump consistently acted in a manner that was off-the-cuff, to say the least. It seems to me that he constantly reacted to what was said about him without careful consideration of the consequences. Whether it was through Twitter, or the manner in which he contradicted himself over and over to try to appeal to everyone, Trump’s mode of operation was to act or react first and think about the consequences later. Many of those who supported him thought that he would cool it down when the campaign ended. After all, the presidency is not the campaign trail and it calls for cooler heads and more judicious actions. Yet, what we’ve seen so far from Trump is anything but judicious actions and a cooler head if his executive orders, particularly the executive order related to Obamacare, is any indication.
It took a day or two for it to come out, but we now have details on what Trump’s executive order related to Obamacare actually was (it was not immediately disclosed to the public, or at least not reported on). The executive order states that federal agencies are to grant relief to constituencies affected by the Affordable Care Act. What does that mean, exactly? In short, it means the equivalent of a nuclear bomb has been thrown into healthcare in the United States. The executive order instructs federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay” any portion of the law that places a financial or regulatory burden on anyone affected by it, whether those are consumers, doctors, hospitals, insurers or drug companies. So what will federal agencies do now with this executive order? What can consumers expect from hospitals, insurers, and drug companies? Can those of us who have insurance, whether it is through our employers or through the insurance marketplace that was created through the Affordable Care Act, expect changes to our insurance plans? What about those on Medicaid and Medicare? All of those questions are unanswerable; they’re unknowns. Even politicians cannot say for sure what will happen because of this executive order. As Governor Kasich from Ohio said so eloquently when he was asked whether he could guarantee that no one in his state would lose their health benefits, “I can’t guarantee anything.”
Some of us, upon hearing Trump’s rhetoric during the campaign and at the debates, expressed concern about his stance on and willingness to use nuclear weapons. It turns out we should have feared this instead – Donald Trump has dropped a nuclear bomb of a different kind on the American people now. Did he have the country’s best interest at heart when he issued that executive order? As much as I don’t trust our current president to have anyone’s interests but his own at heart, I’d like to believe he did, that he was trying to deliver on a campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. But whether he did or not, having the country’s best interest in mind isn’t good enough anymore, not for the President of the United States – careful action in the country’s best interests is the only thing that will suffice. And this executive order, from where I sit this evening writing this blog post, as a consumer of health care through my employer, as one who cares a great deal about this nation’s future and someone who believes that access to healthcare is a basic human right, is anything but a careful action.
Since analogies can be useful, I think any action the president takes in this country is like a move in a game of chess. When playing chess, each potential move by one’s opponent must be weighed. The net gain or loss of each move and what possibilities open up because of it need to be at the forefront of one’s mind before making the move. Granted, there is a limited time to make a move, so all of this must be weighed very quickly. In chess, there is a move that is referred to as a pawn grab. What happens is a player makes a pawn available to be taken in order to capture whatever piece takes the pawn, or to achieve a better position somehow on the board. If the opposing player takes the bait, the player has “grabbed the pawn” and might be called a “pawn grabber,” someone who is so eager to try to capture his opponent’s pieces that, without fully considering the consequences of the move, will take the pawn any time he’s presented with one to take, and will lose other pieces or his position on the board every time. This executive order by Donald Trump shows him to be a pawn grabber of the most dangerous sort. The best case scenario: Being so eager to fulfill a campaign promise (or perhaps, so eager to make the mess so others can clean it up), Donald Trump placed this executive order without considering the consequences of his actions, looking at only the benefit but not the costs of doing so – in short, he made a stupid move. The worst case scenario: Donald Trump, as the conspiracy theory goes, is a Russian pawn intentionally destabilizing the nation he is currently president of for another country’s benefit. What’s a good way to do that? Screw up the health care system by creating instability and chaos. This move reveals our president to be at best incompetent and at worst a Russian plant.
Either way, stay healthy, America. It seems an infectious agent has been introduced into our healthcare system when Donald Trump dropped a nuclear bomb of a different kind on this nation.