On a day when millions of Americans are suddenly facing the prospect of a Republican Congress scooping up their healthcare, sticking it a box, and then rolling out to their nearest legislative frat party, support for the concept of universal health care came from an unusual direction tonight: President Donald Trump.
Inevitably, though, it’s not entirely clear if Trump knew he was praising such a system; during a meeting today with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump started talking up his own healthcare “plan,” before giving props to Turnbull, saying, “I shouldn’t say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do.”
What Trump may or may not know—we’re going to put our money on the latter—is that Australia’s system is a universal one, offering government-subsidized hospital access and doctor’s visits to all its citizens, with the option for additional costs (dental, ambulances, other hospital services) to be covered by supplemental private insurance. (Oh, and its Medicare program is paid for by a small tax on the income of its wealthiest citizens.) It is, indeed, much better than our own, scoring far higher on wellness and service ratings than America’s well-intentioned, ugly, and now lethally imperiled American Care Act.
It’s seems depressingly likely, given both the circumstances, and the core of his fugly, orange-colored soul, that Trump might have just been indulging in his usual love of hyperbole and Obamacare-directed shit talking. (After all, you can’t make America great again if you don’t devote a certain amount of time each day to talking about how it sucks right now.) Or, hey, maybe he’s actually super-well-informed on the vagaries of international health care, and a comprehensive, universal system that won’t kill America’s sick, old, or poor is coming down the pipe this very second. Oh, whoops, we made ourselves sad.