Donald Trump: I Have Been Consistent, Will Repeal Obamacare Mandate

<> on February 18, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump addressed critics of his Thursday remarks on Obamacare’s health insurance mandate, saying he remains committed to repealing that part of the Affordable Care Act–and the rest of the law.

On Friday afternoon, the Republican presidential primary frontrunner tweeted: “I will repeal all of #ObamaCare, including the mandate, period.”

“I like the mandate,” Trump said of Obamacare during a Thursday-night CNN town hall. The remark led to massive backlash in conservative media. The Weekly Standard said that Trump would have difficulty running on “support [of] the hated cornerstone of President Obama’s signature legislation.” The blog The Right Scoop remarked: “that’s about as anti-freedom as you get.”

National talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said Trump told conservatives “that we have to support” Obamacare’s mandate, then passionately argued against the idea. “I don’t know how you say you’re going to repeal this and start over and at the same time, keep the mandate,” Limbaugh said.

On Friday, Trump continued to defend himself via Twitter, saying he “was referring to a backstop for pre-existing conditions.” He vowed to replace the Affordable Care Act with private plans and health savings accounts, then alleged that his rivals were in the pockets of insurance companies and put John Roberts on the Supreme Court.

Trump’s full answer to the Obamacare mandate question, as transcribed by CNN, is as follows:

COOPER: I got one question about it. If Obamacare’s …

TRUMP: Thank you …

COOPER: Repealed and there’s no mandate for everybody to have insurance, what’s to – why would insurance company (sic) not have a pre-existing – insure somebody who has a pre-existing condition …

TRUMP: Well I like the mandate. OK. So here’s where I’m a little bit different. I don’t want people dying on the streets and I say this all the time. And I say this – look, I did five speeches, maybe six speeches today. We had a lot of rallies. We had of thousands and thousands of people. We get big crowds.

Every time I talk about this I get standing ovations. The Republican people, they’re wonderful people. They don’t want people dying on the streets. Sometimes they’ll say Donald Trump wants single payer because there’s a group of people – as good as these plans are and by the way your insurance will go way down, you’ll have better plans, you’ll get your own doctor which Obama lied. Remember this …

COOPER: Will people with pre-existing conditions be able to get insurance?

TRUMP: Yes. Obama lied when he said you’re going to keep your plan, you’re going to keep your doctor, you got to – it was a pure lie. And frankly, many Democrats went along only because they believed him. He lied 28 times he said it. Twenty-eight times. 

If that were in the private sector you’d be sued for fraud, OK? He lied to get the plan through. He got it through and it’s turned out to be a disaster. The wrong people are buying it, you know what’s happening. It’s dead. It’s going to – look, Obamacare is dead.

It’s going to be repealed, it’s going to be replaced. But I will say this, Anderson. If we don’t do something quickly you’re going to have a health care that you – like you’ve never seen before in this country.

Now, the new plan is good. It’s going to be inexpensive. It’s going to be much better for the people. But there’s going to a group of people at the bottom – people that haven’t done well. People that don’t have any money that won’t be able to be care of. 

TRUMP: We’re going to take care of them through maybe concepts of Medicare. We have hospitals that aren’t doing well, we have doctors that aren’t doing well. You cannot let people die on the street, OK? 

Now, some people would say, “that’s not a very Republican thing to say.” Every time I say this at a rally, or even today, I said it – once, it got a standing ovation. 

I said, you know, the problem is everybody thinks that you people, as Republicans, hate the concept of taking care of people that are really, really sick and are gonna die. 

That’s not single payer, by the way. That’s called heart. We gotta take care of people that can’t take care of themselves. But the plans will be much less expensive than Obamacare, they’ll be far better than Obamacare, you’ll get your doctor, you’ll get everything that you want to get. It’ll be unbelievable. 

But you’ve gotta get rid of the lines. You gotta have competition. Those people that are left – we’ve gotta help them live. And everybody likes it when I say it, and that includes Republicans. And it’s not single payer. 


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