Trump Did Shake That Disabled Kid's Hand But Was a Dick in Every Other Way

You gotta watch yourself these days. When I first saw the footage of Donald Trump seeming to ignore the proffered hand of little Monty Weer, in a wheelchair because he suffers from spina bifida, I was ready to jump. It seemed perfectly in character for Trump to simply not to have wanted to turn his gaze downward to see the 3-year-old reaching up. It seemed exactly like the actions of the germophobic asshole who desires nothing more than to take health insurance away from millions of Americans. It turns out that prior to the piece of video that had gone viral, Trump had not only shaken Monty's hand, he leaned down and talked to him. Actually, it was a kind of sweet moment. Even persimmon-shaded goblins can be kind every once in a while.

And I'm not gonna say that I "had a feeling" the edited video wasn't true or any such shit. I just thought, "Christ, I can't keep up. Let this one go" and held back from tweeting or committing an act of bloggery.

Many people didn't, and they leapt before they looked, including author JK Rowling, who has been inspirationally acerbic in her attacks on Trump. After mass browbeating and outrage and a screaming Piers Morgan banshee attacking her, Rowling has apologized.

But let's not give Trump a happy handy just because he was nice to a boy in a wheelchair. Because, see, that boy and his family were in the White House last week to be props in his attack on the Affordable Care Act. The Weers and others were presented as "Obamacare's victims," and they were supposed to sway Americans into turning against a law that has objectively saved lives.

In fact, you could say that the primary reason that Monty Weer was even there, as in "alive," was because of the Affordable Care Act. His story is, of course, more complicated than the way that Trump made it seem. Obamacare didn't enter Monty's room like the Babadook to torment him. What the Affordable Care Act did do are a few things that even his mother admitted are immensely helpful. Marjorie Weer knows that the ACA's ban on insurance policies having lifetime benefit caps and discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions has worked to keep Monty alive and taken care of.

What frustrates her is that only one insurer is currently available in her state and that she has had to switch insurance or look for new doctors for Monty and the rest of her family. "The doctors that we were able to see this year, I don’t know if I’m going to see them next year. And our monthly premiums have increased by 23 percent," she said in an interview yesterday. And that is a situation that has to compound the difficulty in taking care of Monty. But rather than blame, as she does, "congressmen and women who have no business, probably, messing with the health care system" (for, indeed, if Democrats hadn't "messed with" it, Monty would not even have insurance), perhaps she should turn some of her ire to those who have screwed up the Affordable Care Act.

The Weers live in South Carolina, which not only didn't set up state exchanges, it has refused to expand Medicaid. In fact, the vast majority of counties with one or even no insurers are in states that have been as dickish as South Carolina. Two other states, Alaska and Arizona, accepted the Medicaid expansion, but didn't set up state exchanges. Only Iowa did both and still faces an uncertain market. So, yeah, there's a fuckin' pattern.

The design of the Affordable Care Act was dependent on states actually giving two fucks about their residents, but if you're trapped in a GOP-controlled pro-death-and-disease state, you have to deal with this bullshit. And if you give any support to President Trump, then you agree with his attempts to undermine insurance companies by threatening to withhold cost-sharing reduction payments. Essentially, that means "not paying your bills" (and it ain't a "bailout," as Trump likes to lie and say), which has helped drive insurers away from less profitable markets.

But let's be completely honest here. There might only be one insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, in South Carolina, but it's offering 24 different plans at different price ranges. It's not one plan or nothing.

And let's be even honester: Single payer would eliminate all of these issues.

Marjorie Weer and her family deserve all our sympathy and support, even if they're confused about how the ACA works. They deserve better than to be made into caricatures that our criminal dope of a president can point to and demand cruel retribution. And whether they realize it fully or not, the Affordable Care Act allowed Monty to be there, to greet the criminal dope, to have a video go viral.

Yeah, lots of liberals got it wrong about the handshake. But we got it right that Trump really doesn't give a damn if Monty Weer lives or dies.