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Al Franken On Healthcare Stalemate: It's Mitch McConnell's Fault

Franken said McConnell working with Republicans behind closed doors is the wrong way to work on healthcare.
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Sen. Al Franken was a guest on Morning Joe today, and was asked if polarization was as bad as the media thought it was.

"On this health care bill, the fact that McConnell is going to a group of 13 Republicans behind closed doors, that to me is the very wrong way to do it," he said.

"This is a disaster, what came from the House, anyway. I think this needs to be opened in a bipartisan way."

He also said he doesn't think McConnell can get 50 votes. "I hope they start sooner rather than later. This is incredibly important."

"Why can't we figure out how to do this in a bipartisan way?" Scarborough said -- with a straight face.

"That's what we're urging. I'm on the health care committee," Franken said..

"This the third time. You had Clinton's efforts in '93, '94, Obama's efforts in 2009 and 2010," Scarborough said.

"We had hearings. So much of that bill was Republican amendments," Franken pointed out.

"It's one-sixth of the economy. Why can't Republicans and Democrats get together and say, let's figure this out together? What is the problem?" (Again, with a straight face.)

"Ask Mitch McConnell," Franken said.

"It's not just Mitch McConnell's fault," Scarborough said.

"It is right now," Franken shot back.

"I'm talking about since '93. If you believe it's just the Republicans' fault, you can say that. I'm just curious. It's frustrating. it's one-sixth of the economy. We've got to get the cost curve down," Scarborough said. (straight face)

"You can't overstate to me the importance of health care," Franken said. "When I started running in '08, I knew half of all bankruptcies in the country were associated with a health crisis. I had a radio show and Elizabeth Warren would come on and tell me that. But you go around Minnesota and you see signs in cafes and VFWs, all with a spaghetti dinner for a family that's gone bankrupt," he said.

"How do we get together?" Scarborough asked.


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"We've had this achievement. Talk to Mitch McConnell about this. He is saying, well, I don't know if we can get the 50 [votes]. What they are talking about, and why this is so awful, we're talking not just about 23 million people losing their health care, which is a CBO score, as you know but talking about pre-existing conditions, losing health care, which is completely backward," Franken replied.

"Medicaid matching with $900 million tax cut for wealthy Americans. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. I've gone to rural health meetings at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics. People are crying about this -- one woman was crying because her mom gets her home health care through Medicaid. Okay. She said, she's going to lose that and "my husband and I both work. we don't know what to do with my mom."

"It's going to be devastating for a lot of people. So many people in rural communities that voted for Donald Trump are going to be devastated. Their health care, hospitals, hospice care, you name it, rehab clinics all devastated by this."

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