On Monday, the White House released a report estimating that Affordable Care Act premiums will go up by an average of 25 percent next year in what some pundits are describing as another “October surprise.” The GOP now has an opportunity to undermine what is one of President Barack Obama’s crowning achievements, delivering a hit to his high approval ratings and his ability to campaign on behalf of the Democratic ticket.
But instead of empathizing with those affected by the hikes and proposing a solution, Trump hailed it as an I-told-you-so moment:
I think [Obamacare is a] disaster and I’ve been saying it from the time before they even voted for it. I said this plan can’t work, it’s going to be a disaster, it was a big lie, that is how he got it passed.
He also gave a press conference in which he claimed that all of his employees are having “a tremendous problem with Obamacare,” which is blatantly false. The Trump Organization engages in the commonplace practice of providing health benefits to its full-time employees. That statement shows just how little he understands the existing health care system, and undermines his assertion that he’s going to create “something much better, much better and much less expensive.”
As demonstrated repeatedly in his debate performances, Trump stumbles as soon as he is forced to discuss substantive policy. Though today’s Obamacare revelation may help down-ballot Republicans, Trump frittered away a rare chance to seize an issue that actually matters during the last 14 days of the campaign.