Trump

President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Evan Vucci

Having repeatedly declared that Obamacare is “exploding,” President Donald Trump is evidently eager for vindication.

The plan must be to set the program up for failure and then say, I told you so.

Whatever the implications nationwide, such a poor state as Louisiana would pay a heavy price. If Obamacare were to go belly-up, the numbers of uninsured would shoot back up while jobs would disappear and productivity plummet. The numbers would depend on how a post-Obamacare insurance market operated, but we can say for certain that GOP reform would never provide the broad coverage currently mandated.

It is clear that Obamacare is not going quietly, however, since Congress could not be bludgeoned into a repeal, or, as Trump prefers to put it, could not “get its act together.”

A piecemeal dismantling must be the summit of GOP hopes, and the best way to achieve that is through presidential sabotage. Trump duly broached the idea of undermining Obamacare by executive order, vowing, by way of the traditional tweet, that he would be “using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare (sic) to many people — FAST.”

Although we are long past tut-tutting over untruthful Trump tweets, the promise in this one was more than usually realistic. Trump's plans would allow reduced insurance coverage, which may be in line with GOP principles, but clearly cannot improve the quality of medical treatment.

A few hours after sending out that tweet, Trump was again touting his supposed magical powers, assuring reporters at the White House that he had found the secret to “great competitive health care, and it will cost the United States nothing.”

It is not clear whether our president believes all the balderdash he speaks and writes, but an alternative fact he trotted out at the same session has been refuted umpteen times. America is not the most “highly taxed” country in the world by a long way, but, by claiming that it is, Trump presumably thinks he bolsters the case for reducing the alleged burdens of Obamacare.

Premiums have risen markedly in some states, partly because GOP hostility to Obamacare has destabilized the market, nowhere more than Arizona, which Trump cited in the course of his White House remarks. This year brought a premium increase of 116 percent in Arizona, although federal subsidies mean most people didn't see much difference.

Sitting next to Trump was former Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger, who was at the White House to provide counsel on North Korea and China, but got roped into the Obamacare imbroglio. Trump declared he was eager to spare Kissinger a 116 percent hike in his health insurance premiums.

If Trump thought Kissinger faced any such risk, he was alone. Kissinger is immune because he became eligible for government-run single-payer insurance coverage way back in 1988. Call it socialized medicine and red-blooded Americans will abhor it, but the vast majority of Medicare recipients profess themselves highly satisfied.

For Trump to believe his efforts to undermine Obamacare will do Kissinger any favors, he would have to be what current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly called him. But that was in the arena of foreign affairs, where we may hope that Kissinger will restrain Trump's wilder impulses. It is unlikely that Kissinger believes Trump's belligerent pronouncements are prudent.

Meanwhile, Trump responds to the slur on his brain power with an assurance that he would beat Tillerson in an IQ contest. Trump has obviously risen too high in the world to be as dumb as he appears in his public pronouncements, but the smart money in a brainy game would probably be on Tillerson.

Still, whatever ruination Trump can single-handedly rain on North Korea, annihilating Obamacare might prove beyond him. It has introduced so many previously uninsured millions to the benefits of health care, not least in Louisiana, that the power of public opinion might prove too much for the presidential pen.

Email James Gill at Gill1407@bellsouth.net.