March 26, 2017

As everyone knows by now, the so-called "Freedom Caucus," formerly known at the AstroTurf "tea party" -- a.k.a. the Koch-funded project to get the Bush stink off of the word 'Republican' -- were the ones who ended up doing the country a favor and blowing up the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver's (h/t Charlie Pierce) rotten debacle of an ACA "repeal and replace."

These cretins didn't like the law. Not because it was going to kill millions of Americans and leave them uninsured, but because it wasn't quite cruel enough for them. It wasn't enough to throw 24 million people off insurance; they wanted fewer children insured, fewer disabled insured, fewer chronically ill insured. And then they actually had the gall to pretend it was "Obamacare-Lite."

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace hammered "Freedom Caucus" founder Jim Jordan over their proposal for a "clean repeal" of the Affordable Care Act, which would have left millions without health insurance, and the fact that they were never going to get any Democratic buy-in on a replacement bill.

After asking Jordan if he was willing to accept the blame for the bill going down in flames, Jordan responded there was plenty of blame to go around, since they weren't the only ones who opposed the bill. Wallace asked him about all of the concessions made to his caucus to get their support, and that's when he laid into him about the consequences if they had gotten their way:

WALLACE: OK. But wait, wait, let’s talk about this question of clean repeal. If you would have done and you could have done it, under reconciliation, there would be no ...

JORDAN: And we did 15 months ago, Chris.

WALLACE: ...There would be no subsidies to help people buy insurance or pay for their premiums or deductibles. There would be no expanded Medicaid. Let me finish. There would be no expanded Medicaid to help those people.

The result of a clean repeal is that millions of people who currently have health insurance coverage wouldn't.

JORDAN: No, the result of the claim repeal is we get rid of Obamacare.

WALLACE: Right. But that has the subsidies and has the expanded Medicaid.

JORDAN: And there would be two-year wind down, and then you replace it with things that are going to bring back affordable insurance. Again, this is just --


WALLACE: The flaw with that is that to get that through, you’re going to need Democratic votes.

JORDAN: We were always going to need Democratic votes for this plan.

WALLACE: No, you weren't.

JORDAN: Look at phase two and phase three.

WALLACE: I understand. But not for the 'repeal and replace.'


JORDAN: We had two to ours, and ours was actually consistent with what we told the American people we were going to do.

WALLACE: Would you agree that clean repeal would have left -- just clean repeal would have left millions of people without health insurance?

JORDAN: There’s nothing that said you couldn’t start with our clean repeal bill and also put in some other things that would help. But the focus is, we want to bring back affordable insurance.

The left always defines success by signing people up for Obamacare, signing people up for Medicaid. Conservatives say, no, no, a better approach is to get back to market-oriented health care. Let’s bring down the cost of premiums so that middle-class people will be able to afford a plan in the private sector that actually fits their families needs, not a one-size-fits-all mandate from Washington. That's the difference, and that's what our plan would have accomplished.

WALLACE: The rap on the Freedom Caucus is that you refuse to take yes for an answer. The president, I don't know -- were you in the meeting on Thursday?


WALLACE: So, one of the things that you guys were demanding was you wanted the essential health benefits removed, and the president agreed to remove a number of the essential health benefits, mandates on what has to be on coverage, things like maternity care, and mental health coverage. And you pocketed that and then you said, no, no, we need more, we need you to remove the protection for people with pre-existing conditions.

JORDAN: We were consistent all along. And that narrative is just not accurate. We were consistent all along. We want those regulations and mandates placed on that industry that drove up the cost of insurance. We want those to go so that premiums actually come down.

WALLACE: Wait a minute.


WALLACE: Wait, wait -- so you want people who have pre-existing conditions to no longer have protection?

JORDAN: No, we were talking about community rating, guaranteed issue. We wanted those revisions in that -- in those age bands, in that -- in those groups, we wanted those things remove so that you would actually bring down premiums. That’s what --


WALLACE: -- bringing down premiums, if you only -- if you only insure healthy people, you’re going to have really low premiums. My point is, one of the things that you got wanted --

JORDAN: Chris, we --


WALLACE: Wait, wait, you wanted them to remove the provision that would protect people, that would require insurance companies to ensure people with preexisting conditions.

JORDAN: We want to remove the regulations that drive up the cost of insurance for middle-class and working-class. And we --


WALLACE: -- protection for pre-existing conditions or not.

JORDAN: Even the speaker said this on Friday at his press conference, there's money in the bill to set up the high risk pools, additional dollars --

WALLACE: But you were taking away that, and you were also taking away the --

JORDAN: No, we were for that.

WALLACE: No, you were taking away the pre-existing conditions and you were also taking away --

JORDAN: We were taking away those mandates that drove up the cost.

WALLACE: Some people would look at this and say, what's good about you are going to away maternity care? You are going to take away mental health?

JORDAN: What’s good about Obamacare, which we’ve driven up the cost of insurance for every single family across the country? What’s good about that? That’s what we’re trying to change. That’s what the election about in 2010 was about, Chris, that’s what the election in 2014 and in large part, the election in November 8, 2016, was about getting rid of this law that has driven up the cost of insurance for every single working class and middle class family across this country.

That’s what we’re focused on doing. And until you go after those regulations that drive up those cost, you will not solve the problem. This bill didn’t do it. And that's why --

WALLACE: But the result is --

JORDAN: Chris, that’s why 17 -- only 17 percent of the country approved at the legislation.

WALLACE: But the result is, you've still got Obamacare. And the president offered a huge concession on Thursday on the enhanced health benefits. You wouldn't take it, you refused to vote for the bill. And the result, you cut the legs out from under President Trump and Paul Ryan on the first legislative initiative.

JORDAN: This is about the American people and what we told them we were going to do. There is no way this legislation was consistent with what the American people sent us here to accomplish. No way it was consistent with what we told them we were going to do. And that's why you saw members oppose it, and that's why the Freedom Caucus opposed it in large part because of that simple fact.

The only "freedom" these people care about is the "freedom" for insurance companies to be able to gouge their customers while they make obscene profits, their customers and the voters these Republicans are supposed to be representing be damned.

If you want to drive down the cost of insurance, you make the risk pool as large as possible, and get rid of the profit motive and keep administrative costs down. We need to move to single payer now and relegate these insurance companies to offering supplemental insurance for people who can afford it. These so-called "Freedom Caucus" members need to be exposed for being the snake oil salesmen they are.

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