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Before taking office, Donald Trump repeatedly railed against the Affordable Care Act, saying on “Day One” he would repeal the act and replace it with “something great,” promising to “cover everybody.” Over and again, this was the campaigning and this was the promise. Perhaps second only to a xenophobic shutting out of Mexicans and Muslims, this was the draw that drew suffering whites to Trump’s camp.

Out of shape, overweight, southern and rust belt voters need health care and they need it now and for life. Many of Trump’s voters live in states whose governors shunned the ACA, intentionally exerting pressure on both the ACA itself and sadly, their own constituents. That’s offensively putting politics before people and rightfully, with the plan under attack by the leaders who could have funded it with Federal dollars, rust state and southern voters saw dysfunction and voted for the promise of “something better for everyone.” Indeed, that was Trump’s over and again promise.

But, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” said now President Trump. So much to learn in so little time, especially with so much time relegated to tweeting nonsense and insulting foreign leaders!

Sixty-four days Trump “worked hard” on the new “repeal and replace” legislation. For 64 whole days Trump worked on his “great” “coverage for everyone.” On day 64, this casserole of tax breaks for the rich, the new American Health Care Act, got aired out and blown out. Some Republican congressmen feared it too rough on their constituents, other from the Freedom Caucus thought it wasn’t nearly sufficiently mean spirited.

In the end, the Congressional Budget Office estimated a total loss of coverage for approximately 20 – 24 million people. This would be akin to turning back health care coverage 25 years and sending us permanently into the Stone Age among industrialized countries.

Worse, were the terms of the proposed AHCA. This permanently morphing “act” raised deductibles, lowered coverage, allowed exclusions, failed to reform Medicare drug purchases – but most importantly, potentially stripped coverage for pre-existing conditions and inclusion of kids out of school until 26 years of age – Obamacare benefits that have proven extremely popular and necessary. The public backlash would be foreseeable and brutal.

Trump was willing to sign off on this mish-mash, but even with all the slicing and dicing, the Republicans couldn’t muster up a simple majority in the House they own decisively – so bad was that bill.

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

Now comes the traitorous part, the truly mean part: After this debacle, after all the blame he spread around, Trump explains, “The best thing we can do politically is let Obamacare explode.” With that explosion, of course, would be the explosion of pain and suffering of millions of Americans who will certainly face more stress, more illness, more expense, as Trump works to inhibit and hurt Obamacare, rather than reform it and help it work efficiently.

This is traitorous behavior, mean spirited, and self-serving at its worst. Playing political football with tens of millions of lives is radically offensive.

A real president would have never rushed such a bill in the first place. But, having done so and faced defeat, a real president would offer olive branches all around and invite all parties to work together to solve the problems we know exist with Obamacare.

Last week I met with a man who re-encouraged me about the ability of government to function. Cameron Smyth took a trip to the infamous Starbucks at Granary Square and shared an hour with us. One thing of note: Cameron stressed “policy before politics.” Public office, he stressed, should be about crafting good public policy and action and not about political turf wars. What a breath of fresh air by comparison to the news out of Washington.

Meanwhile, back at the ever-murkier Swamp, complete with daughter and son-in-law as Imperial Swamp Prince and Princess, the President gave up on health care and promised to “move on to something great.” Next up: Tax reform. We’ll see how that goes. If his idea of health care reform was just tax giveaways in disguise is an indication, actual tax “reform” will be a doozy of a dagger to Middle America.

“Nobody knew tax reform could be so complicated,” we may well hear. Who knew the party promising to be the party of the little guy could be so brutally callous towards them.

Nobel Winner Paul Krugman summed things up nicely:

“Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.”

That’s what the AHCA was. That’s what “letting Obamacare explode” is. That’s what stripping environmental rules away from polluters is. And that’s what “tax reform” will almost certainly be.

Trump’s already historic low 39% approval rating may not be his floor – or even close. Sooner or later, his suffering white voters will feel like jaded players on some reality show from which they’ve just been “fired” by President Shuckster. More informed folks have already figured this out. When the suffering ones finally do, watch out for fireworks.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

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  • Gil Mertz

    Wow, so many lies, so little space to correct them. But let me start with your racist remarks about Trump’s “white voters” which you used multiple times. Shame on you, Gary. I thought you were better than this but bitterness and hate takes an ugly toll. If you’re unable to control your bitterness and hatred, you’re definitely headed for a stroke my friend.

    Now to temper your unfounded rants with some truth.

    “””Over and again, this was the campaigning and this was the promise.”””

    Why is it we never heard from you when Obama was campaigning and promising over and over again about keeping our insurance, our doctors, and that we would save $2,500 a year if we went along with his scheme? All of these “promises” were lies, Gary. Does having a (D) next to your name make it okay?

    “””Perhaps second only to a xenophobic shutting out of Mexicans and
    Muslims, this was the draw that drew suffering whites to Trump’s camp.”””

    You’re such a liar, Gary. It is not xenophobic to prevent illegal immigrants from entering America and only seven Muslim countries are being impacted by the vetting process to protect our citizens. And who identified these seven Muslim countries? Yep, Barack Obama. No wait, he has a (D) next to his name. Never mind.

    “””the Freedom Caucus thought it wasn’t nearly sufficiently mean spirited.”””

    Where does all your hate come from, Gary? Only a mind-numbing Democrat would consider improving health care for everyone while reducing costs for working families as “mean spirited”. Anything that the government doesn’t control is mean spirited, huh Gary?

    “””Nobel Winner Paul Krugman summed things up nicely:”””

    Except for Louis Farrakhan, could there be a more hopelessly left-wing nutjob and hate-monger than Paul Krugman? Nobel prize. Remember, Obama got one of those within weeks of his administration. Even wacko Al Gore got one of those trinkets. Reagan/Bush brought down the Berlin Wall and crushed the Soviet Union which brought about unprecedented peace and freedom to the world but because they were conservative Republicans, they didn’t qualify for a Nobel Peace prize. What a joke.

    “””More informed folks have already figured this out.”””

    Trump’s term is 1,460 days but after less than 70 days, you’ve already figured it out, right Gary? You’d be a defendant’s nightmare on a jury. “Your honor, after reviewing .05% of the evidence, I’m ready to make my judgement.” Are all Democrats this stupid?

    The rest of us “uninformed and out of shape white people” that you so despise will wait to see how the other 99.5% of the story plays out before we draw our conclusions.

    Gary…seriously….get help.

  • Jim de Bree

    Gary-despite Gil’s comments, I think on balance this was a pretty good column.

    While I loathe Obama for his deceitful lies about Obamacare and keeping your plan if you like it, that does not give Trump the ability to make untruthful remarks, or try to sell an even worse plan. As we used to say in kindergarten, two wrongs don’t make a right. I have been critical of Gary in the past for turning a blind eye toward Obama and giving Obama credit where none was due, but I find my friends on the right are more than willing to do the same with Trump.

    The repeal of Obamacare is a train wreck. I read the entire bill this evening and I cannot believe that, after six years of saying they were going to repeal Obamacare and make it better, this is all they can come up with. This bill clearly will not improve the quality of healthcare nor will it reduce the costs. As I said many times, we have the opportunity to create a world class healthcare system but we are missing the boat. In the past month, I have spent a significant amount of time with Australians, discussing the pros and cons of their system and those discussions clearly demonstrate how we could really improve our system.

    And yes, the Trump Administration has catered to xenophobia. I am aware of situation where consultants from London were meeting with a client in the US. They were in the air when Trump’s first executive order was released. One of the consultants was dual UK/Iranian citizen. He left Iran as a child in 1980 and grew up in the UK. He was taken off the plane when it landed and was detained. Our borders were no safer by this action. Yes Obama came up with the list of nations, but he did not act on it. Should Obama have done more? Of course he should have. But should Trump have thought through the consequences of his actions before undertaking them? Of course he should have. He is a showman not a problem solver.

    As to tax reform, a subject with which I am intimately familiar, the Republican plan is a gift to the rich and to corporate America at the expense of you and me. I wrote a column about that plan last July and I called it the greatest work of fiction since the original episode of Star Wars. My views have not changed.

    I am not a fan of Krugman and I disagree with much of what he says. I do not believe that the Republicans take glee in inflicting pain on certain classes of people. I just think that they have drank the Kool-Aid and truly believe that what they espouse is best for America. I don’t believe that they act with malice. But as usual, Krugman makes comments to stir up the Democratic base. Sounds somewhat like Trump if you ask me.

    • Gil Mertz

      Jim, what did I say in my comments that was not true? And if all true, how could anyone consider Gary’s hateful rants as “pretty good”?

      I thought it was his worst column yet and lately, that’s saying a lot.

  • Gary Bierend

    Horton: “Out of shape, overweight, southern and rust belt voters…”

    Seriously? What’s next, will you start calling those you disagree with poo poo heads? Besides being childish, it’s redundant, makes it hard to take you seriously.

  • Brian Baker

    I’m with Gil and Gary. This absurd column is full of hyperbole and hysteria, with a lot of ad hominem thrashing about thrown in for good measure. A return to your old “style”.

    That’s a shame, too, because your last few columns were pretty good. But those were on the topic of Measure H, on which you took an actual “conservative” position, so maybe what we’re seeing here is an illustration of how conservatism is easy to support rationally, while socialism
    needs wild-eyed ranting to seek its justification.

    As to the latest healthcare debacle, there’s a lot more blame to go around than just facilely throwing it at Trump, though I’m sure he’s the bogeyman you like to target. House GOPers have had over 6 years to come up with a viable plan, something that actually made sense and included realistic elements that would address the free-market shortcoming of the current wealth redistribution scheme in place. The “Ryan plan” was a non-starter from the jump; in reality just a place-holder they could point at when asking for votes in the past elections.

    Now that they finally had both chambers of Congress and the White House, to have seriously rolled out that tired piece of garbage as their offering was stupid beyond belief. There was NO WAY it was ever going to be passed, as bad as it was. It was hardly better at all than Obozocare. What would have been the point?

    They should have taken their time and crafted something that actually would have REPEALED AND REPLACED Obozocare, not just tinkered with it a little bit. And Trump’s biggest failure was in not making them do exactly that. Maybe due to his own political inexperience, I don’t know.

    As I’ve written before, we need to get government out of the healthcare and insurance equation. Government is the problem, not the solution.

    • Gil Mertz

      Brian, no matter what the GOP passes in the House, it will be DOA in the Senate unless they play by the same rules as the Democrats. It’s unfathomable to me that so many Republicans positioned this as a take it or leave it offering with only one shot at it. That’s insane. Despite Horton’s demented statements about the Freedom Caucus, the GOP owes them a debt of thanks for not supporting a bill that had less than 20% support of the American people. I’m hopeful after this humiliating wake up call that the GOP will start over and get it right.

      And by Horton’s own words, letting Obamacare unchanged will result in the pain and suffering of millions of Americans. So then, why are the Democrats celebrating?

      • Brian Baker

        Gil, I agree with everything you wrote, and the answer to your question is actually pretty simple. You even alluded to it yourself.

        I’ve been saying and writing for a couple of decades that we’re in the midst of a civil war every bit as profound as the one that took place in the 1860s, except without the body count. So far, anyway.

        The idiots in the Establishment GOP have been losing the war, primarily because they insist on playing patty-cake while the Dem/socialists have been playing tackle football. Now, all of a sudden, there’s a guy – Trump – who thrives on their own jungle rules, and they’re scared to death of him, and what he might accomplish. Like burning down their carefully constructed house of cards.

        That’s why you see this insane hyperventilation all the time from all quarters, stuff like this Horton column.

        • Gil Mertz

          Democrats, the media (sorry for being redundant) and the GOP elite are shell-shocked that we have a president who actually wants to follow through on his campaign promises. As Jim posted earlier, “Yes, Obama created the Muslim list but he didn’t act on it.” Much like the way Obama had access to live footage of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, but he didn’t act on it. We’ve gotten so numb to our dysfunctional and corrupt government that wanting to fix it is deemed as “crazy”.

    • Gary Bierend

      Baker: “That’s a shame, too, because your last few columns were pretty good. But those were on the topic of Measure H…”

      Something tells me it may have something to do with this:

      “My own company will pay at least $500,000 in Measure H taxes…”

      Gary Horton – SVC skin in the homeless game – The Signal, March 14, 2017

      Funny how politics change when it stops being other people’s money.

      • Brian Baker

        Yep. Funny, that.

  • Brian Baker

    A column by John Stossel that explains the failure of socialized medicine:

  • Gil Mertz

    Gary, you talk about out of shape, overweight, white voters who support Trump.

    Uhhhh…dude…have you taken a close look at your photo lately?

  • lois eisenberg

    “Trump’s already historic low it is 36% not 39% approval rating may not be his floor – or even close. Sooner or later, his suffering white voters will feel like jaded players on some reality show from which they’ve just been “fired” by President Shuckster. More informed folks have already figured this out. When the suffering ones finally do, watch out for fireworks.” BINGO,BINGO,BINGO !!!

  • gary

    Gil, Brian,

    Ok, so that picture isn’t very good. And yes, I’m carrying that darn 15 lbs I’ve promised to get rid of. That said, I am not the “overweight, out of shape, white Trump voter.” Hey, I think that’s a clever label, don’t you? And, it’s statistically true. Check out the demographics of the South and the Rust belt republican voters. It is what it is.

    Anyhow – hey, Brian, send me over your personal email so we can yell at each other directly, ok? Really.

    Hope all is well,


    • Gary Bierend

      Clearly, you are not a “overweight, out of shape, white Trump voter”, but only because you didn’t vote for Trump.

      I don’t traffic in labels, but since you do, in my opinion a more accurate label for you would be a “old, rich, overweight, out of shape, white voter”. The same label could apply to both Trump and Clinton as well.

  • Gil Mertz

    Brian, though Gary responded to both of us but only invited you to have a direct conversation, please ask him something for me if you talk to him.

    How would Gary feel if someone referred to minorities in the inner cities as “overweight, out of shape, black Obama voters”? Still feel that’s a “clever label”, Gary?

    When your in a hole, stop digging.

    • Gary Bierend

      That’s a great observation Gil.

      From what I’ve seen, Gary Horton has a hard time admitting when he has made a mistake. Ironically, he has more in common with Trump in that regard than he is willing to admit.

      • Gil Mertz

        Yep, as a true Democrat he blames being out of shape on just being a bad picture. Stupid picture! And as he criticizes Trump for not keeping his promise, he bemoans how he still needs to lose 15 lbs that he “promised to get rid of”. But I love how he calls for love, tolerance, civility, and acceptance….especially among you stupid, slack-jawed, overweight, white people! Gary’s become numb to his own hypocrisy. Repetition will do that.