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How Trump's tweets hide bad policy

E.J. Dionne Jr. on

If the Clinton-Trump contrast highlights Trump's pettiness, the striking difference in their approach to health care reminds us that the various circuses he is orchestrating -- around Corker, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and kneeling at NFL games -- are also distracting us from the profound day-to-day harm he and Congress are inflicting.

The two-decades-old Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was a genuine bipartisan achievement, championed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. One reason its renewal has been stalled is House Republicans' insistence on tying another five years of CHIP funding to cuts and tweaks in Medicaid, Medicare and the ACA.

As the fights over Obamacare have shown, many in the GOP seem willing to use any opportunity available to cut funding for health coverage. If you wonder why compromise is so hard to come by these days, notice that even long-standing cross-party efforts are encountering resistance and delays from the ideologues on the right.

In the meantime, Trump is doing all he can to reverse the victory of Obamacare supporters who saved the program this summer and again in the fall. Here again, bipartisanship is the loser. Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly favor making Obamacare better rather than repealing it. Democrats are game for this. But Trump still won't go there -- although he occasionally claims to be ready to work with "Chuck" (that would be Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer) on alternatives to scrapping the law.

In fact, Trump cares and thinks little about policy, and the big news this week may be that the Washington consensus is finally coming around to the obvious: that Trump is utterly unfit to be president, which is what a plurality of the voters thought in the first place. That's all very nice, but he's still there, and we can't lose track of all the damage he can unleash.

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E.J. Dionne's email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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