Trump Is So Rich He Thinks Health Insurance Costs $12 Per Year

Donald Trump
An interview with The New York Times reveals just how little Trump understands health care. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The New York Times on Thursday released a transcript of a Wednesday interview with Donald Trump. The president had just come from a lunch with 49 Republican senators, where he implored them to figure out a way to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Health care was a focal point of the Times interview, as well, and when reporter Maggie Haberman expressed to Trump how difficult it is to take away an entitlement, the president revealed just how little he understands the health care system.

Related: Trump tells GOP senators not to leave town until health care is resolved

"But what it does, Maggie, it means it gets tougher and tougher," replied Trump. "As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can't give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you're 21 years old, you start working and you're paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you're 70, you get a nice plan. Here's something where you walk up and say, 'I want my insurance.' It's a very tough deal, but it is something that we're doing a good job of."

It's unclear if Trump actually thinks a 21-year-old can get health insurance for $12 a year, but that's what he said. It is possible the president meant to say "month" instead of "year." As Vox points out, he said something similar in a May interview with The Economist: "Insurance is, you're 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and you really need it, you're still paying the same amount and that's really insurance."

This, of course, is still nowhere close to reality.

Donald Trump is a very rich man who before moving into the White House lived in a gold-plated Manhattan penthouse. He certainly hasn't ever had to worry about health insurance, although as president of the United States, one might think he should have some understanding of the economic hardships faced by his constituents.

In fairness to Trump, previous presidents have had similar issues relating to the American people when it comes to dollars and cents.

In February 1992, a New York Times piece described how amazed George H.W. Bush was by a supermarket he visited during the campaign. "The look of wonder flickered across his face again as he saw the item and price registered on the cash register screen," the piece read.

When Rudy Giuliani was vying for the 2008 Republican nomination, he grossly underestimated the price of bread and milk. "A gallon of milk is probably about a $1.50, a loaf of bread about a $1.25, $1.30," he said. Four years later, Mitt Romney casually tried to bet Rick Perry $10,000 he didn't favor individual health care mandates, drawing criticism that he was out of touch with the financial burdens of many Americans.

So Trump isn't alone, but in the end it's probably not a good thing when the president of the United States can be compared to Arrested Development's Lucille Bluth, a caricature of out-of-touch wealth.

Do better, Trump.