If you liked what Donald Trump said about wiretapping, you'll love his plans for overhauling US healthcare

Mark Steel
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner in Washington: Reuters

There’s been so much sneering about Donald Trump’s claim that Obama was wiretapping him, it’s heartening he’s had a chance to explain himself.

In an interview with Time magazine he says: “Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wiretapping. It is just a good description.”

This is a common misunderstanding. You might say to someone “I went snowboarding this morning.” So they ask, “Really? Where did you go snowboarding?” Then you say, “No, not snowboarding, you idiot, which is today, you know, different from snowboarding. I meant SNOWBOARDING.” Then the other person laughs at what a fool they’ve been.

And he’s definitely right grammatically, as wiretapping is a fairly accurate description of wiretapping.

If he took an English exam, he’d answer the question “Describe what the author means when he says the sunset is ‘magisterial’”, by writing: “He means it’s magisterial.” And it would be an A* for such a good description.

It’s an ambitious project Trump has set himself, because he’s set the standard of manic announcements so high early on. By June his press conferences will start: “Michelle Obama kidnapped my internal organs. She’s currently got my intestines and she’s using them as a lasso while training to be an alien cowboy.”

But once he’s allowed to make his case, it all becomes clear. For example, at one point he declared there had been an Islamist terror attack the previous night in Sweden, though no one in Sweden was aware of this.

Recently he explained his statement had been accurate, because there was a riot in a small town in Sweden, only two days after he’d said there had been the terrorism the night before.

You see, give someone a chance to fill out the details and it all becomes clear.

It’s a shame the television news isn’t this careful with their reports. BBC News could start: “The Taj Mahal burned down last night, and all the rhinos have escaped from Bristol Zoo.” And even if it hadn’t happened, it would still be true because a couple of days earlier there were strong winds in Suffolk.

But while the world checks the accuracy of Trump’s announcements, he calmly pursues his main agenda. Yesterday he tried to scrap the healthcare scheme introduced by Barack Obama, and replace it with his own.

The type of changes arising from this cheery new system would be a rise in payments of 30 per cent for 64-year-olds, which makes sense because if people can’t make the effort to be 28, why should the rest of us subsidise them?

The problem with any healthcare scheme is there’s always a group that seeks to take advantage of it, which is the sick. Backwards and forwards and in and out of hospitals they go, lapping up their chemotherapy and liver transplants that they probably don’t even need but have anyway because the rest of us idiots are paying for it.

A common argument made by opponents of the old healthcare scheme in America has been: “Why should a 60-year-old man have to buy a plan that includes maternity benefits he’ll never use?”

This is precisely the point. Similarly, why pay for a police force if you’re not being robbed? It would be much fairer if we each pay for our own personal sniper. I’m sick of tax money going to mountain rescue units when I live on flat land. And why do my taxes provide a zebra crossing in Ipswich that I’ve never crossed?

If I have to fork out taxes for a primary school in Taunton, I’m going to turn up one morning and sit in the classroom doing hand paintings whether I’m arrested under Operation Yewtree or not, because I’m entitled to what I pay for.

And what possible benefit is it to me if pregnant women have somewhere to have their babies rather than be forced to have them at a bus shelter? How does that make society better for me in any way?

This is the sort of dilemma Trump is trying to address. So the new bill would give health back to those who pay for it. To gain under the new scheme, you have to be earning over $200,000 a year, and those in that bracket will be made on average $5,000 a year richer. At last, someone is prepared to speak up for the rich in America.

There’s a moral reason for making these changes, which the health insurance companies emphasise, and that’s choice. Under a socialised health scheme such as the NHS, the citizen is denied that choice.

When you have a heart attack and collapse in the street, what right does the state have to force you into the back of an ambulance and save your life? That’s communism, that is. It starts with a Stroke Recovery Unit and ends with forced collective farms and the invasion of Hungary.

It’s unclear whether Trump’s changes will be passed, as even some Republicans fear this obvious transfer of wealth to the rich will dampen morale among many of Trump’s own supporters. There are a lot of arguments that could be made to try and win these people away from Trump on this issue, though it’s hard not to feel the most attractive one is: “THAT’S WHAT YOU BLOODY VOTED FOR YOU STUPID OLD TOSSPOTS. DON’T PRETEND IT’S A SURPRISE AND GO ‘OOH, WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT A BILLIONAIRE WITH A GOLDEN LIFT WHO SAID HE WAS GOING TO SCRAP OBAMACARE WOULD BRING IN A SCHEME THAT FAVOURED THE RICH’?”

But it might be more productive to ignore it altogether, and concentrate on him putting out a tweet saying: “Al Gore set fire to my tortoise. Fact.”