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Trump-proof Your State

Let's forget, for a second, what an awful human being Donald Trump is. It's hard, I know - I mean the guy has literally sanitized neo-Nazis. I thought we had all agreed that Nazis were bad 70 years ago, but apparently the "debate" goes on.

In any case, on top of his general awfulness, and some childish temper-tantrum policies (did he really have to allow airlines to not disclose what their baggage fees would be?), the Trump-Republican Party has and will put through some major policy changes that cause true destruction. Fortunately, if your state is governed intelligently, it can - nay, will - take a few small steps to soften the blows for those within its borders. Riffing on (and borrowing from) a nice piece in Vox today, here are some things your state can legally do.


Health Care:

Causing people to lose their health insurance coverage is a prime objective of the Trump administration. The theory is, I think, that if people find out that the government helped them get health care, they may like government and want better people to run it, ergo not members of the Trump family. Intentional subversion of our health payment system has already caused lasting damage; the next government will have to fix it. But there are things that can be done in the short term at the state level:

  • Reinstate mandate (h/t Vox). Massachusetts still has a health care mandate on the books; any other state can put one in too. A mandate will prevent the losses of care and increases of cost projected by the CBO. Also, after 4 years of the ACA, we know more about mandates; the state-based ones could be better designed. And, for people who still don't carry insurance, the states will get the revenue that used to go to the Feds!

  • Outlaw junk insurance (h/t Vox). Those short-term plans encouraged by the administration, that will poison your state's health insurance system? Your local regulator can easily prohibit them from coming in.

  • Expand Medicaid. Nothing will do more to entrench the ACA, improve health care for your citizens, or hurt Trump.

  • Add a public option. Nevada started down this road before it was nixed by its GOP governor. States can allow any citizen to buy Medicaid, at any price it chooses (i.e. subsidized or not). It's cheap, has low out-of-pocket, and if the network is a bit narrow, it is still great catastrophic care. New York actually allows something similar for its CHIP program (other states might, too).


The bill that is favored to pass is a monstrosity. I've covered it, everybody's covered it. It is so riddled with loopholes, it might literally bankrupt the country, once fully exploited. But, if it passes, it will be the law of the land.

  • Income tax switcheroo. Famously, your state and local income taxes will (likely) no longer be deductible in the Jobs Cut and Tax Plan. No problem - have your state create a charity, with the purpose of contributing to the state's work. This will be deductible from your Federal taxes automatically, but your state can allow you a dollar-for-dollar credit against any income tax penalty. Believe it or not, this seems perfectly legal - conservatives have done similar things to support private schools.

  • Change incorporation laws. Not being a corporate lawyer, I can't get into specifics here. But, given the preferences in this bill for people who sit around over people who work, we will all want to become corporations. Your state can make it easier to become "Nick Cohen, Inc.", taking advantage of the new low rate.

Net Neutrality:

  • Regulate internet at the state level. It seems like Net Neutrality will soon be gone on a national level. Your state could fairly easily impose similar rules, to insure that you always will be able to access a free and open internet. (Note: there may be something in the decision today that prevents states from doing this; seems that this could easily be challenged in court).

  • Establish public ISP. A number of localities have set up their own internet service providers, as a sort of utility. People love them - more choice, lower cost, better service. Usually, this has been done at the city level, but no reason an entire state couldn't do the same. In its charter, include a strong requirement for net neutrality.

I'm sure there are a lot more ideas, but I think this is a good start. When you are fighting against a party who has no real policy goals beyond self-enrichment, you can expect shoddy legislation. If your community cares, it should do everything possible to limit the impacts locally.

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