Dave Ratner, second from left, and others watch as President Donald Trump signs an executive order on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, October 12, 2017. (AP/Evan Vucci)

A small business owner says the White House duped him into going to Trump's Obamacare repeal

A Massachusetts man says the White House pulled a bait-and-switch on him to go to Trump's executive order signing


Matthew Rozsa
October 17, 2017 5:42PM (UTC)

A small business owner in Massachusetts is saying that he attended the signing of President Donald Trump's executive order dismantling Obamacare under false pretenses.

"I want to apologize. I am sorry​ [I] went to the White House because I don't want it to appear that I support Trump ripping apart ​Obamac​are​," Dave Ratner, owner of Dave's Soda and Pet City, wrote on his Facebook page. "I do not.​​ I had NO idea Trump was adding all the awful changes to the executive order. ​ I NEVER WOULD HAVE ATTENDED IF I KNEW​."

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He added that although he appeared to support Trump's policy allowing associations to offer group rates to their members, "The rest of the changes were sprung on us​."

Ratner told WBUR that he was shocked by the hostile response experienced by both himself and his employees due to his decision to attend the event. Some individuals in Massachusetts and Connecticut, where his businesses are located, have even called for a boycott, he said. Ratner said he voted for Hillary Clinton and only attended the White House ceremony because of his support for that single policy.

Ratner attended as a representative of the National Retail Federation, according to CNBC. He told the network that he was attending because he thought Trump's executive order, as he understood it, "will help level the health insurance playing field for small businesses across the country."

Ratner added, "Large companies with thousands of employees have their own plans but a small business like mine can't possibly negotiate rates close to what they can get. By letting associations negotiate for their members, small businesses will finally be able to take advantage of better rates their employees can afford and provide better coverage in the process."

He made a similar point to WBUR.

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"Petco, PetSmart, Costco — all these chains with a huge amount of employees, they go out and they bargain with the insurance companies. Dave, or the plumber, or the barbershop, goes out to try and get health insurance for their employees. We don't have anywhere near the bargaining power. So we pay way more," Ratner told WBUR.

Ratner also reiterated to WBUR what he said on Facebook.

"In my particular case, had I known that he was going to announce that he's dismantling Obamacare, I never would've gone," Ratner told WBUR.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Affordable Care Act Donald Trump Obamacare Trumpcare

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