Trump's Most Troubling Tweet is About Healthcare, not Mika

It is Friday, and another whirlwind of a week has gone by under the Trump regime. Another week of racist rhetoric, attacks against the poor, attacks against the media, and attacks on American’s healthcare system by the Republican congress. On Thursday, Donald Trump tweeted about Mika Brzezinski’s supposed facelift and resultant bleeding, and the Mainstream Media had a field day.

Additionally, Republican congressional “leaders” submitted statements on how dangerous the tweet was and/or how it was unbecoming of a president. Unfortunately, missed by most, especially the Mainstream Media, was arguably a more dangerous and insulting tweet by the President of the United States. The tweet was in relation to healthcare and how his bill composed by the Senate, the Better Care and Restoration Act, commonly referred to as Trump Care, would not make cuts to Medicaid, a program relied upon by the nation’s poor so that they can receive health care services.

 

Flatly, this is a lie, and he lied in a way that showed his lack of respect for the people of the United States, and his lack of caring towards Americans that rely on Medicaid. Donald Trump hoped that people wouldn’t catch how misleading the graph was that he provided concerning the bill. From the tweets that followed, many knew it was a lie, but they didn’t explain why, or how, he was lying. I attempted to tweet a response regarding Donald Trump’s deception of the figure and misleading tweet, but my tweets did not gain any traction and was swiftly disregarded. Thus, I am utilizing a different forum to explain how Donald Trump’s tweet is misleading, with both intention and malice.

Figure 1: CBO Public Graph of Trumpcare compared to "Current Law"

Figure 1: CBO Public Graph of Trumpcare compared to "Current Law"

According to the non-patrician CBO, Trump Care would result in 22 million people getting removed from their insurance and nearly $800 billion cuts in federal outlays for Medicaid; which will reduce Medicaid spending compared to current law. (See figure from CBO).

This is an important point. All of these estimates regarding Medicaid spending are in relation to current law, which is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare. Under the ACA, Medicaid spending would increase, overtime, to help account for increased need for Medicaid due to a variety of factors that is out of the scope of this discussion. What is not shown on the CBO figure is Medicaid spending prior to 2017. Trump’s figure shows this information, which is accurate. Additionally, the Trump Care spending on Medicaid is accurate.

However, it is not accurate to claim that his bill makes no cuts to Medicaid, as these reductions in Medicaid are in relation to the money that would have been allocated to the program under the ACA. Donald Trump intentionally left this information out.

Figure 2: Zoomed view of Trumps "increased Medicaid spending"

Figure 2: Zoomed view of Trumps "increased Medicaid spending"

Figure 2 contains the information Donald Trump intentionally removed for the purposes of misleading the public, we clearly see that the cuts to Medicaid would be substantial, as the money allocated for the program under the ACA would be markedly reduced if Trump Care becomes law.

Donald Trump manipulated the CBO Figure in two ways. The first way was to manipulate the scale of the Figure by including years from 1960, which makes it appear as if a there’s a huge spike in Medicaid spending. That spike is less apparent if the data was mapped along the same scale as that provided by the CBO as seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3: The "Big Spike" is actually a "Big Cut"

Figure 3: The "Big Spike" is actually a "Big Cut"

Another way in which Donald Trump manipulated the data to fit an agenda is via omission. By removing the ACA data, the cuts in Medicaid are not apparent. Remember, these cuts in Medicaid are cuts made under existing law, the ACA. Therefore, omitting this information makes Donald Trump’s figure obsolete since the whole point of the CBO analysis is to compare and contrast laws, and law changes, as it exists under the current law.

Figure 4: Trumpcare spends significantly less on Medicaid than the current law

Figure 4: Trumpcare spends significantly less on Medicaid than the current law

Donald Trump’s behavior is more egregious than his comments towards Mika Brzezinski. The comment he made towards her doesn’t deal with the health, livelihoods, and deaths of American citizens. Conversely, Trump’s misleading tweet regarding Trump Care deals with all of these things, including the American economy. Trump’s goal here is to mislead Americans, and he is doing so with malice as this pertains to more than just “winning” a fight. In presenting this deceptive information, Trump has shown no respect towards Americans, as he assumes no one will notice the ways in which his information is misleading in nature.

The media, focused on coming to the defense of one of their own, is failing the American people by not holding Trump to account by explaining the ways in which he is lying to the people. It’s no longer good enough to say that he’s lying; we need to include the ways in which he is lying. Unfortunately, there have been no comments by Congressional “leaders” regarding the misinformation that the President of the United States has submitted to the public. This is dangerous and clearly demonstrates the degradation of the US political system when it comes to caring for the American people. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake, and instead of placing people over politics, Congress has decided that party allegiance outweighs the cost of people’s lives. Thus, when Congress fails, and our media fails, we the people must become the challengers. We must question the norms and information coming from this administration; it is the only way we can take our democracy back and obtain true freedom.

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Edit: for various typos and spelling. Also, a previous version of this article referred to the ACA as the American Healthcare Act incorrectly. The mistake was corrected to Affordable Care Act.

Amanda Cumming is a TIP contributor and a trained statistician. She is published in scientific research, and can be found on Twitter here: @Pandactivist