I caught this on Hardball as well and was focused on Matthews touting tort reform as a solution to health care costs, which is nothing but a distraction and right wing talking point as Daphne Eviatar does a nice job of summing up here. Digby took note of why allowing the likes of Haley Barbour to tout Mississippi as a model for health care reform is absolutely ridiculous.
The state is a disaster when it comes to health care on every front. But they have reduced their premiums and now nobody can expect restitution if a drunk doctor cuts off the wrong limb, so everything's just ducky in Haley's world. In fact the whole country should "experiment" with Mississippi's great successes.
In case you were wondering, number one is Vermont, followed by Hawaii and Iowa. If Barbour and his buddies were willing to take the lead of the states that actually deliver pretty good health care his words wouldn't ring so hollow. But all he cares about is destroying trial lawyers on behalf of his rich friends and throwing poor people off Medicaid. I don't think that's a serious solution to the problem so there's no reason to listen to anything he or any other Republican says on this subject.
Lots of stats and more over at Digby's place. So much for that "librul" media huh?
Transcript via Nexis Lexis below the fold.
MATTHEWS: Fair enough. You`re in opposition. That was a good statement of an opposition leader and it`s a good statement. But let me ask you this. The Republican Party deserves credit because you pushed through Welfare reform, a tough bill, back -- because Newt Gingrich pushed it and the president had to sign it under duress, I think, in 1996, or he would have lost -- he might have lost about 4 percent or 5 percent in that fight with Bob Dole. I don`t think he would have lost, but he would have lost a lot of ground. So you guys showed the upper hand. You got the job done. You forced the Democrat to eat it and he did.
Why don`t you ever do that health care? You`ve had power in your party. You`ve had control of both houses under Bush, George W. You`ve had both houses and you`ve had the presidency, plenty of chances to get to a really good health care bill using tax cuts or whatever to serve the country that`s not being served by health care. But yet you wait around, like a troll under the bridge, waiting for the Democrats to do it, and you come out and bite their leg.
Why don`t you walk across that bridge? Why don`t you guys have a health care bill when you`re in power? Just a thought.
BARBOUR: Well, yes, we trolls who hide under the bridge, candidly, a lot of Republicans, including me, think it would be much better to let the states do some things like we`ve done in Mississippi, where we`ve had serious tort reform, and our medical liability reform has brought down insurance premiums by 60 percent in four years, that we have reformed Medicaid so that we`re saving the taxpayers money, that we think to let the states for a while have different ideas, see what works, see what doesn`t, and then come together with a rational bill at the federal level is a better approach.
Instead, what we`re seeing is some of the worst models that have been done by states that have driven health insurance premiums through the roof in states like New York, where you are -- that`s become the model and that`s why CBO -- in a Democrat Congress, the Congressional Budget Office says these health care reform bills done by the Democrats are going to make health insurance premiums go up and that the government plan for health care will be even more expensive than the private plans, even after the private plans` premiums go up. We don`t think that`s the right solution. We think states can do better than that solution.
MATTHEWS: You know what? I think you`ve just done a great job on the Democrats` weakness, their Achilles heel, which is tort reform. They get so much money from the trial lawyers. They will not engage in tort reform. The president said they would in that speech to Congress, the joint session a couple weeks ago. They`re not doing it. You have hit them in their gut. They don`t do it because that`s where they get their money.
But thank you very much, Haley Barbour. You scored a very good point on Democrats on health care. Tort reform would be a great way to save the consumer money and bring back specialists to states like Pennsylvania, and they`ve all left.
Up next: What`s next for health care reform? The Senate holds its first big vote on Saturday, but Harry Reid doesn`t quite have those 60 votes to pass it, or even to get it voted on. That`s next in "The Fix."
This is HARDBALL. That was Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi.
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