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Trump defends Obama’s legacy?

November 14, 2016

The fight over Obamacare was about one thing more than anything else: universal access to health insurance, regardless of the current state of one’s health. For liberals, that was the goal. For the right, that was the chief thing to oppose, because they realized that universal access necessarily brings with it significant political infrastructure. Either individual mandates and bounds on premium variation, as Obamacare does, or a public option, or single-payer, or a national health service. Universal access with pre-existing conditions simply isn’t possible without that kind of public commitment. Obama’s historic achievement was to get that public commitment, for the first time in this nation’s history.

When Trump says he likes that particular aspect of Obamacare and wants to preserve it, he is falling on the liberal side of that fight. And promising to cement Obama’s legacy, whether he realizes it or not. The mechanism to achieve that — so long as it does so — is secondary. Most Democrats weren’t much fond of the particular way Obamacare does so.

The interesting political question is whether Trump really means that, and whether he understands what that entails. If so, he essentially has told Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to accept defeat on the war they have fought for eight years. If. He may be blowing smoke. He may not understand.

Interesting times, indeed.

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