This is clear to you and me -- but clearly not to Robert H. Frank of The New York Times. Frank tries to imagine what's going to happen to Obamacare in Trump's all-GOP Washington, and he preposterously asserts that Trump might want to be Bernie Sanders.
Bad times are looming for health insurance. If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a political buzz saw, what might he do? Unlike Republican congressional leaders, he seems to have no ideological commitment to a largely unregulated, and hence untenable, private health insurance system. And he has already demonstrated that Republican base voters will side with him rather than their congressional leaders.(Emphasis added.)
The upshot is that, unlike President Obama, he may actually have the political power to enact the most sensible system for providing basic universal health coverage: the single-payer approach taken by most other developed countries. Older Americans have been covered under a single-payer system since the 1965 enactment of Medicare, which delivers basic health coverage more cost effectively than private insurance plans can, and which they are of course free to supplement with private insurance.
But having just announced plans to phase out Medicare, Republicans are extremely unlikely to voluntarily embrace a single-payer insurance option for all Americans, and Mr. Trump’s true intentions are, to say the least, unclear.
Trump has "no ideological commitment" to a for-profit market in health care? Trump's intentions are "unclear"? Has Frank looked at Trump's Cabinet? The plutocrats, the privatizers (Betsy deVos, Ben Carson, Rick Perry), the Ayn Rand fans (Rex Tillerson, Andy Puzder, Mike Pompeo), and, of course, Tom Price, the Obamacare scourge who's going to be health and human services secretary? Is Frank seriously arguing that Trump might put together this Kochite dream team and then say, "Y'know, what I really want is Medicare for All"?
At least Frank doesn't expect the GOP Congress to magically turn into the reformed Scrooge on Christmas morning, although the way Frank words this -- "Republicans are extremely unlikely to voluntarily embrace a single-payer insurance option for all Americans" -- suggests that he thinks there's a nonzero chance. In fact, there's no chance whatsoever. Jeff Sessions is more likely to lead a Black Lives Matter protest that Republicans are "to voluntarily embrace a single-payer insurance option."
Will media dupes ever stop predicting that Trump might govern as a non-conservative? Trump may throw in a touch of paleoconservatism or "national greatness" conservatism (the infrastructure promises), but that's as eclectic as he's going to get. Mostly, he's going to govern from the rightmost point of the mainstream right. Please stop imagining otherwise.