CNN Gives Dem Forum to Slam GOP 'Scrooges' Hurting '9 Million Tiny Tims'

On Thursday's New Day on CNN, substitute host Bill Weir gave former Obama advisor Dr. Zeke Emanuel a mostly unchallenged forum to complain about how Republicans are handling the health insurance issue. 

Weir even opened the segment by relaying Democratic talking points that Republicans are behaving like "Ebenezer Scrooges" before Christmas and endangering "nine million Tiny Tim" children because a deal has not yet been reached on federal funding of the CHIP program.

Weir posed: "Folks on your side of the aisle are really showing consternation. And they were sort of framing it yesterday in Christmas Carol terms as the Ebenezer Scrooges, you know, order bottle service over the holidays, you've got nine million Tiny Tims out there. Is it that stark?"

A bit later, after the discussion turned to how ObamaCare is effected by recently passed tax legislation, Dr. Emanuel complained: "The Republicans are doing a very good job of stripping that away. It's not going to be very popular in the country when people are suffering and some people will die because they don't have health insurance."

The CNN host only briefly alluded to the Republican argument as he responded:

Yeah, the Republicans are saying actually that repealing that mandate is an added tax cut in a way because a lot of folks who had to pay the penalty made less than $50,000 or so. But do you think that this will lead to more folks using the emergency room essentially as their primary health care?

Toward the end of the segment, Dr. Emanuel brought up some right-leaning analysts who support an ObamaCare-like individual mandate for health insurance:

Interestingly, most conservative health policy experts -- people like Jim Capretta from the American Enterprise Institute -- they're actually for the individual mandate. They are for continuing the exchanges because the alternative they recognize is not desirable for this country.

The two then wrapped up the segment by musing over the history of some Republicans supporting mandating that individuals purchase health insurance in contrast with modern-day Republicans who do not:

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WEIR: Oh, yeah, that individual mandate a Republican idea going back to Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, right? But that's --

EMANUEL: Actually, before Mitt Romney --

WEIR: Before him.

EMANUEL: -- in Massachusetts, it has the fingerprints of the Heritage Foundation --

WEIR: Right.

EMANUEL: -- on it. It was only when the Democrats embraced it that Republicans decided, "Eh, maybe we don't want this." That's just to say, "If my enemy likes something, then I can't possibly like it" --

WEIR: Can't possibly.

EMANUEL: --without looking at the merits of it.

WEIR: Yeah.

EMANUEL: That is very, very bad policy for this country.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, December 21, New Day on CNN:

7:51 a.m. ET

BILL WEIR: Lawmakers are facing a looming Friday deadline to keep the government funded and open. Right now, there is no agreement in sight. One casualty in this stalemate could be the Children's Health Insurance Program -- or CHIP. Nine million kids rely on that program for health insurance, which has not had federal funding since September. And joining us now with analysis, former Obama White House health policy advisor Dr. Zeke Emanuel. Doctor, Happy Holidays. Good to see you.

DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, FORMER OBAMA ADVISOR: Nice to be here. I wish it were under better circumstances for health care in this country.

WEIR: I understand. As Republicans celebrate this legislative victory, folks on your side of the aisle are really showing consternation. And they were sort of framing it yesterday in Christmas Carol terms as the Ebenezer Scrooges, you know, order bottle service over the holidays, you've got nine million Tiny Tims out there. Is it that stark? Is there a risk of this --

[DR. ZEKE EMANUEL]

WEIR: Let's talk about the President's claim that this basically repeals ObamaCare because it strips away the individual mandate. Here's what has been taken away -- a mandate effective in 2019, cost sharing subsidies for insurance companies -- but what remains is Medicaid expansion, the preexisting condition coverage that was very popular, no lifetime cap on benefits and subsidies to low and moderate income customers. So losing that mandate, what does that do effectively?

[EMANUEL]

EMANUEL: The Republicans are doing a very good job of stripping that away. It's not going to be very popular in the country when people are suffering and some people will die because they don't have health insurance.

WEIR: Yeah, the Republicans are saying actually that repealing that mandate is an added tax cut in a way because a lot of folks who had to pay the penalty made less than $50,000 or so. But do you think that this will lead to more folks using the emergency room essentially as their primary health care?

[EMANUEL]

WEIR: President Trump obviously made no secret about his hopes to sabotage the whole thing, including not encouraging people to enroll. Some of the states like California are trying to fill that void and push it on their own. Could that happen where it's a state by state thing? Or is ObamaCare as we know it -- could it die?

[EMANUEL]

EMANUEL: Interestingly, most conservative health policy experts -- people like Jim Capretta from the American Enterprise Institute -- they're actually for the individual mandate. They are for continuing the exchanges because the alternative they recognize is not desirable for this country.

WEIR: Oh, yeah, that individual mandate a Republican idea going back to Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, right? But that's --

EMANUEL: Actually, before Mitt Romney --

WEIR: Before him.

EMANUEL: -- in Massachusetts, it has the fingerprints of the Heritage Foundation --

WEIR: Right.

EMANUEL: -- on it. It was only when the Democrats embraced it that Republicans decided, "Eh, maybe we don't want this." That's just to say, "If my enemy likes something, then I can't possibly like it" --

WEIR: Can't possibly.

EMANUEL: --without looking at the merits of it.

WEIR: Yeah.

EMANUEL: That is very, very bad policy for this country.

WEIR: Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Happy Holidays to you. Thank you, sir.

EMANUEL: Happy Holidays to you, too. I wish it were a better moment.

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