The first week at any new job is kind of tough. You’re too embarrassed to ask where the pens are, everyone seems to be laughing at jokes you’re not in on, and sometimes you go on CNN and try to sell a free market approach to healthcare by comparing it to the least popular industries in America.
New White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci defended the GOP’s attempts to ruin American healthcare on CNN this morning by comparing their plan to two industries that everybody hates: airlines and telecom. Scaramucci argued that lower prices can be achieved if we “trust the process of the free market, like in telecom, like in airlines.” After the clip below cuts off, Scaramucci continued, saying people would get “a better product, better quality service at a lower price, that’s what America has been about.”
Scaramucci almost couldn’t have picked two worse industries to support his argument. Americans hate their cable companies: Comcast repeatedly tops polls of the most hated companies in America, and the major airlines like United have repeatedly reeled from bad PR recently. Even America’s most repugnant conservative writers, like Kevin D. Williamson, recognize that “capitalism is unpopular for four reasons: banks, health-insurance companies, cable providers, and airlines.”
More to the point, these industries are unpopular for one of the main reasons that market-based health insurance doesn’t work: Monopolization and consolidation allow them to bleed you dry. The competition and lowered prices that Scaramucci imagines would ensue from repealing the Affordable Care Act would not appear. Prices would increase, even under the so-called “skinny repeal.” A market-based health insurance system, left to its own devices, won’t provide cheap and good healthcare to Americans who need it, mainly because there’s no money in that. It’ll cover the healthy and work as hard as it can to avoid paying for expensive sick people. Choice sounds good, but lower prices are better, especially when it comes to paying for life-or-death medicine or treatment.
So it’s safe to say Scaramucci fucked up the messaging here. But that’s part of Scaramucci’s whole thing: He’s not even trying to be good at this, you know? He’s the rude boy of the Trump administration, tellin’ it like it is, like Chris Christie—and everyone loves him!
Scaramucci has said he’s going to “fire everybody” and told reporters that he’s “straightly not answering” their questions. His style fits, far more than Spicer’s ever did, with the Trump administration approach of of stonewalling, dismissing, and ridiculing the media, trying to troll or sabotage reporters by simply ignoring them or deriding them as fake news, recognizing that the media as a whole is not popular and that Trump’s base responds well to such tactics. The CNN wrestling gif debacle proved that the media’s self-regard can prove a popular target among his most idiotic, and most Extremely Online, fans.
Maybe Scaramucci’s “fuck you, vote Trump” approach will help shore up those most dedicated drinkers of liberal tears, who hate the media more than they value their own ability to, like, be able to afford to stay alive. It will certainly appeal to Scaramucci’s boss, the real intended audience of everything White House aides and officials say on television. But most people want good healthcare and hate airlines, and would be pretty pissed off if they knew Trump’s main spokesperson said he wanted their healthcare to be more like dealing with fucking Comcast.