“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” President Trump told The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday in a barely veiled threat to defund a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act. The president delivered this threat even though he has no viable replacement plan. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the president said, “should be calling me and begging me to help him save Obamacare.”

No. Trump should be working to preserve the Affordable Care Act, which is delivering health insurance to millions of Americans.

The president’s comments came after he reanimated the drive to repeal and replace Obamacare on Fox Business earlier last Wednesday: “We have to do health care first to pick up additional money so that we get great tax reform,” he said. “So we’re going to have a phenomenal tax reform, but I have to do health care first.”

More desperate than clever, Trump’s talk of annihilating Obamacare, for which he would be justly blamed, is unlikely to coerce Democrats into supporting anything like the House Republican repeal-and-replace plan he backed, which failed to attract enough Republican support to pass the House. The indecency of Trump taking millions of Americans’ health care hostage is compounded by his suggestion that repeal-and-replace is about freeing budgetary space for Republicans to tinker with the tax code rather than about fixing health care. Even posing his threat, meanwhile, is astonishingly reckless.