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WASHINGTON — The rise of Donald Trump has been disappointing for establishment Republicans — and downright excruciating for conservatives involved in health care policy.

Even after the release of his health care plan Wednesday, Trump strikes many of them as barely familiar with the most basic conservative health care ideas in their life’s work. In interviews, some of the most influential Republican experts on the issue told STAT they’re dismayed by what they consider the GOP front-runner’s lack of understanding of health care, his inconsistent statements about what he really believes, and his embrace of populist ideas for lowering drug prices that are straight out of the Democratic playbook.


It’s not in most policy experts’ nature to lash out or lob colorful insults at a presidential candidate, the way politicians and operatives do. But thanks to Trump, these are not ordinary times.

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