What Is an Architect of Obamacare Doing Advising Trump on Health Care?

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Zeke Emanuel, brother of former Obama advisor and current mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, was one of the architects of Obamacare. Many of his ideas on health care ended up being made into law — much to the detriment of the American health care system.


So it’s come as something of a surprise that twice in the last 10 days, Emanuel has shown up at the White House advising President Trump and his staff on…health care. The man who wrote that he hoped to die at 75 — and urged the rest of us to follow suit — has met with President Trump at least three times since December.


Multiple sources tell me that former Obama adviser Zeke Emanuel was at the White House Thursday, meeting with staff about what comes next on health care. I’m told the meeting included a discussion of funding for reinsurance — one of the programs that protects insurers against exceptionally large financial losses if they have a handful of really high-cost medical claims to pay out. This is not the first meeting Emanuel has taken at the White House; he met with Trump about 10 days ago too.

A White House spokesperson confirmed the meeting.

That meeting was a top-level pow wow with congressional and cabinet members:

Emanuel was seen meeting with Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday in a confab that reportedly lasted 40 minutes, the Washington Post reports.

Also attending the meeting with the President were Vice President Mike Pence, Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, presidential adviser Jared Kushner, White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Emanuel, the brother of Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, seems to be one of the few liberals advising the Trump administration as the party wrangles over its plan to attack Obamacare. Emanuel was a top adviser to Obama and helped formulate the law.

Even as he confirmed the meeting, Trump Press Secretary Sean Spicer was quick to note that the president and Emanuel have major differences of opinion.

“Obviously, [Emanuel] and the president have some differing views on the best way to make health care affordable and accessible,” Spicer said. “But the president also strongly believes that the health and well-being of the American people shouldn’t always be a partisan issue,” he added.

In an interview from last weekend, Emanuel said he thinks he is “the only person on the Democratic side who, for crazy reasons, they’ve agreed to talk to.”

But Emanuel also revealed that Donald Trump had asked him for a meeting some time ago, even before the inauguration. Indeed, Emanuel already met with Trump once before in December, just after the election.

“I take the president seriously when he says he wants to get everyone in the country covered,” Emanuel said.


From a non-partisan standpoint, Emanuel could offer invaluable insight into Obamacare and how it’s structured. If I were going to repeal and replace Obamacare, I would want someone like Emanuel advising me as a guide to the law’s interconnections.

But isn’t that sort of like asking Joseph Goebbels for advice on how to get your message out? Emanuel is such a toxic stew of wrongheadedness on health care that despite his insights, his advice is tainted by a brutal worldview that would deny health care to people he deems unworthy of saving.

President Trump could have chosen a better advisor on Obamacare repeal.




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