Republican presidential frontrunner and reality TV star Donald Trump spoke with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos by phone on Sunday morning. During their conversation, the two talked about a new ad by Ted Cruz in which he says that a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Obamacare.
The ad also states that Trump as recently as the last few months expressed support for single-payer, government-run health care. Trump called Cruz a total liar and denied any support for Obamacare or single payer. There’s just one problem.
Donald Trump has advocated for a single-payer government-run health care system as far back as 1999 and as recently as September 2015.
In a 1999 interview with on Larry King Live, Trump advocated for universal health care, saying he is very liberal on that topic.
“I said I’m conservative, generally speaking, I’m conservative, and even very conservative,” Trump told King in response to a question about a “patients’ bill of rights. “But I’m quite liberal and getting much more liberal on health care and other things. I really say: What’s the purpose of a country if you’re not going to have defensive and health care?’”
“If you can’t take care of your sick in the country, forget it, it’s all over. I mean, it’s no good. So I’m very liberal when it comes to health care,” he said. “I believe in universal health care. I believe in whatever it takes to make people well and better.”
In his 2000 book entitled The America We Deserve, Trump continued the push for universal healthcare.
The Canadian plan also helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans. There are fewer medical lawsuits, less loss of labor to sickness, and lower costs to companies paying for the medical care of their employees. If the program were in place in Massachusetts in 1999 it would have reduced administrative costs by $2.5 million. We need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan, as many individual states are doing.
For those who would say that was a long time ago and he simply changed his mind, let’s go back to the GOP Debate in September 2015. In that debate, Trump again discussed his belief in and support of a single-payer health care system.
As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here. What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands and thousands of employees. And if I’m negotiating in New York or in New Jersey or in California, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid.
You know why?
Because the insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians, of course, with the exception of the politicians on this stage.
But they have total control of the politicians. They’re making a fortune.
Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have…
TRUMP: — yourself great plans. And then we have to take care of the people that can’t take care of themselves. And I will do that through a different system.
Health care policy expert Avik Roy had this to say about the Donald’s stance.
Trump’s policy pronouncements are rarely coherent. But what he appears to be saying here is that he supports a privatized version of single-payer health care, in which perhaps a single private company has a monopoly with which to negotiate contracts with hospitals and doctors. Gone would be companies like Aetna, Anthem, UnitedHealth, and Blue Cross—or perhaps they would be merged into a single entity.
This is hardly a superior outcome to single-payer health care: an unaccountable, trillion-dollar private insurance monopoly.
Some of Trump’s aides attempt to backfill the Donald’s ideas by claiming he really wants to “repeal and replace Obamacare” with something more consistent with conservative principles. But Trump himself has never backed off from his support for government-run health care. Indeed, Trump believes that the problem with Obamacare is that it doesn’t go far enough.
Late in September 2015, Trump discussed health care with Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes. While he did say that Obamacare needed to be repealed and replaced, he did not argue that America needed to go back to a free market system. Instead, he argued that he is going to take care of everybody through government.
Donald Trump: “Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private.’ But…”
Scott Pelley: “Universal Healthcare?”
Donald Trump: “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”
Scott Pelley: “The uninsured person? They’re going to be taken care of how? How?”
Donald Trump: “I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And you know what, this is probably..”
Scott Pelley: “Make a deal? But who’s going to pay for it?”
Donald Trump: “Government’s going to pay for it!”
So, when it comes to Trump’s stance on government-run health care, exactly who’s lying?