President Trump declared Friday that “everybody” on the world stage has better health care than the United States, but suggested that the GOP’s health care plan will change that.
“Of course the Australians have better healthcare than we do –everybody does. ObamaCare is dead!” he exclaimed on Twitter. “But our healthcare will soon be great.”
Trump had raised eyebrows the day before, when he praised Australia’s health care model while meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York. The meeting was just hours after House Republicans pushed through Congress a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Prominent liberals, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., swiftly pointed out that the Australian health care model provides publicly funded health care with private sector options. In other words, something that more closely resembles the model of Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, than unencumbered free-market capitalism.
Earlier on Friday afternoon, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to downplay Trump’s comments to Turnbull.
“I think he was simply being complimentary of the prime minister, and I don’t think it was anything more than that,” she said.
But Trump’s tweet apparently doubled down on his original argument. It wasn’t immediately clear if “everybody” refers to all countries, representative democracies, developed countries or some other category.
Regardless, Trump is correct that the U.S. lags behind other countries in health care service among industrialized nations. But it’s somewhat ironic that the countries outranking the U.S. in general reports on this topic, such as the Commonwealth Fund, tend to provide health care for their citizens regardless of their wealth or economic status — Canada and Norway, for instance.
It’s also open for debate whether House Republicans’ health care plan will move the U.S. closer to countries like Australia. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reviewed an earlier version of the bill and found that it would leave 24 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under current law.
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