When House Speaker Paul D. Ryan hauled out his Powerpoint presentation last week and began to hawk Trumpcare as a Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act, he was trying to appear with the mantle of the policy wonk. After all, Mitt Romney had declared Ryan the “intellectual leader of the GOP” back in 2012. But to me Ryan came off more as a late-night television pitch man — hurry! offer ends soon! The TV pitchman urges you to pick up the phone now! Don’t delay! Hurry! Have your credit card ready!
Or he could have been a grifter.
The grifter keeps the pressure on, pushing you to take the action he wants before you can think. For example, in the pigeon drop scam depicted in the beginning of the 1973 movie “The Sting,” Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) and Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones) keep the pressure on a courier for mobster Doyle Lonnegan’s organization so he doesn’t have time to think of alternatives. He doesn’t realize he’s been had until he is blocks away in a cab, thinking he just scored some easy money.
That’s what Ryan and Trump want. They want the Trumpcare plan safely enacted into law before Americans realize they’ve been had. After all, Trump has told us he would repeal and replace Obamacare with something cheaper and more effective.
But now we know the extent to which all this has been a classic Republican hustle. Today, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that the Trumpcare plan being pushed by Paul Ryan would raise the number of people without health insurance by 24 million within a decade. Some 14 million people would lose health insurance next year alone. Meanwhile, the wealthiest Americans would get a massive tax cut.
Yup, sounds like a Republican plan, right?
Ironically, many of those who would get thumped by this cruel Trump plan are the very people who voted for The Donald. Some of the biggest losers under Trumpcare — the ones likely to get hammered — are older, lower-income voters in the counties across America who supported him in 2016.
Pity the poor Trump voter. If I were a Trump voter, I might be having some second thoughts about my vote right about now. Unfortunately, however, Trump voters tend to be gullible, “low information” voters, so they may never realize what hit them. If they get their “news” and conspiracy theories from hate-talk radio or fraudulent right-wing websites, the only criticism of Trumpcare they’re likely to hear is that it’s too much like Obamacare and isn’t “conservative” enough.