CNN's Cuomo Presses Against ObamaCare Repeal, Confuses 'Coverage' with 'Access'

On Tuesday's New Day, as Chris Cuomo debated Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King over the issue of ObamaCare repeal, the CNN host seemed unaware that technically having health insurance "coverage" on paper does not always guarantee that one will actually receive the health care one needs if a patient is unable to find a doctor or other health care provider to actually do the work.

After Rep. King argued, "you could have coverage, you can have a cadillac plan, but if they won't take your policy, if you're on Medicare that's not being honored, if you're on Medicaid that's not being honored, If they won't accept your policy, then you don't have coverage," Cuomo seemed confused as he responded: "Wait. Who's 'they'? If you have coverage from a company, then you're getting care. What do you mean, 'If they don't accept the policy'? How does that work?"

Earlier in the segment, after Rep. King called for the complete repeal of ObamaCare, tagging it a "disaster," the CNN host followed up:

But why is it a bad foundation if you have 20 plus million people covered that you wouldn't have had before? And you have rates going up, but not by any more than what was expected, and not by more than they were going up in the previous administration? Why call it a "disaster"? Isn't that hyperbole?

After the Republican congressman complained that the federal government has taken too much control over health care and reduced consumers' ability to make choices, Cuomo responded:

Yeah, that sounds great as long as you're, like, young and healthy. The problem is, how did we get to the point where you needed to have the government step in? Preexisting condition, people who weren't really that healthy, young people who didn't have the money and couldn't be on their parents' care anymore. The indigent who didn't make the income to pay for their own private policies. They were all being left behind. 

He added:

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And you're going to have to figure out whether or not you're okay with leaving them behind again because access to care is not coverage. And, as you heard from the governors coming out of their meetings where they heard from policy experts and from Dr. Price the Republican proposals now will leave people without coverage. Are you okay with that?

Rep. King pressed back: "But, Chris, you know that coverage is not either access to care, or the converse of that statement that you made."

After Cuomo wondered, "What does that mean?" the Iowa Republican continued: "Well, you could have coverage, you can have a cadillac plan, but if they won't take your policy, if you're on Medicare that's not being honored, if you're on Medicaid that's not being honored, If they won't accept your policy, then you don't have coverage."

Apparently bewildered, the CNN host responded: "Wait. Who's 'they'? If you have coverage from a company, then you're getting care. What do you mean, 'If they don't accept the policy'? How does that work?"

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, February 28, New Day on CNN:

CHRIS CUOMO: On the ACA, you also have reservations. Why?

[REP. STEVE KING advocates completely repealing ObamaCare to make it harder for Democrats to put it back together again in the future.]

CUOMO: But why is it a bad foundation if you have 20 plus million people covered that you wouldn't have had before? And you have rates going up, but not by any more than what was expected, and not by more than they were going up in the previous administration? Why call it a "disaster"? Isn't that hyperbole?

REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): First, of those 20 plus million people who are insured that were not before ObamaCare, that's about a seven-year grind to get there, and 10.8 million of them are on Medicaid -- which has been expanded. And how many would we have that are insured today if we'd allowed people to buy a catastrophic plan, which has essentially been outlawed by ObamaCare? But, Chris, you know the central theme from me on this is this: The federal government has taken over the management of our health -- our skin and everything inside it. And a free people that are the recipients of God-given liberty. And that is a foundation for American vigor had had our health taken over by the federal government. That steps on American liberty and it just diminishes the vitality of our country. I want people to have their own set of responsibilities choosing the health insurance policy that they want. If it's catastrophic-

CUOMO: Yeah, that sounds great as long as you're, like, young and healthy. The problem is, how did we get to the point where you needed to have the government step in? Preexisting condition, people who weren't really that healthy, young people who didn't have the money and couldn't be on their parents' care anymore. The indigent who didn't make the income to pay for their own private policies. They were all being left behind.

And you're going to have to figure out whether or not you're okay with leaving them behind again because access to care is not coverage. And, as you heard from the governors coming out of their meetings where they heard from policy experts and from Dr. Price the Republican proposals now will leave people without coverage. Are you okay with that?

REP. KING: But, Chris, you know that coverage is not either access to care, or the converse of that statement that you made.

CUOMO: What does that mean?

REP. KING: Well, you could have coverage, you can have a cadillac plan, but if they won't take your policy, if you're on Medicare that's not being honored, if you're on Medicaid that's not being honored, If they won't accept your policy, then you don't have coverage.

CUOMO: Wait. Who's "they"? If you have coverage from a company, then you're getting care. What do you mean, "If they don't accept the policy"? How does that work?

REP. KING: We know that -- and today under the ACA as you call it -- that one-third of the counties have one choice. Two-thirds of the counties have two choices, and the rest of them have more than two choices. So you're sitting there with one choice of a policy that's mandated by the federal government, and we're down to that place now where what is that coverage where you have to go to certain places where they will honor that policy. I want to see people make their own decision. 

I had my ObamaCare canceled on me September 28 -- as the letter was dated -- and it expired and they canceled me out as of December 31 of last year. And I had roughly 90 days to find a new policy. My choices were: one. That's not free enterprise; that's not competition. That doesn't give you the opportunity to keep your doctor or the policy you want. And neither does it let us save for our own health care costs in the future, which requires an expansion of HSAs. And we need to couple them with catastrophic plans. That's the most important component of this. Plus, today, we are going to mark up the bill that allows for selling insurance across state lines ... That will be a big step in the right direction. We've needed to do that for a long time. This Congress has known that for 20 years. We're finally acting on it today.

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters