Commiserating with Democratic Senator Michael Bennett on her 12 p.m. ET hour on Wednesday over the Republican heath care reform plan, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell accused the GOP of “trying to sabotage” ObamaCare. She fretted to the Colorado lawmaker: “The other issue here is what’s happening to ObamaCare and whether the White House is trying to sabotage ObamaCare by missing deadlines where insurance companies have to decide whether to re-up. What are you hearing around the country?”
Predictably, Bennett joined in the attack: “It’s very clear that that’s what’s happening.... And then what happened was the Republicans said, ‘See, ObamaCare has failed.’ But it was the critics of ObamaCare that had screwed it up.” He added: “And that’s what’s happening now with the insurance markets as well. You're hearing the insurers say that with this level of uncertainty about what we’re going to be doing going forward, that they can’t participate in these markets.”
Mitchell’s claim was in line with recent editorials put out by The Washington Post (Headline: The GOP’s Obamacare sabotage continues) and The New York Times (Headline: How the G.O.P. Sabotaged Obamacare). On June 10, the Post’s Editorial Board ranted:
Another week, another insurance company deserting patients in a wide swath of the country....Are these moves more evidence that Obamacare is fundamentally unworkable? Hardly. Of greedy insurance companies callously disregarding their customers’ health? Not that either. Anthem explained clearly what is responsible for its retreat: Republican sabotage of the health-care system.
In the Times on May 25, Abbe Gluck launched into a similar tirade:
Obamacare is not “collapsing under its own weight,” as Republicans are so fond of saying. It was sabotaged from the day it was enacted. And now the Republican Party should be held accountable not only for any potential replacement of the law, but also for having tried to starve it to death.
The liberal talking point goes back years. As the law was facing a rocky rollout in 2013, NBC’s then-Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd proclaimed on Meet the Press: “...you could argue that there are some Republicans that are trying to sabotage the law, that they're hoping to not get it off the ground and then they can suddenly make the case, 'See, we've got to get rid of it.' And they've got some state governors that are openly trying to sabotage it.”
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David Harsanyi, Senior Editor at The Federalist, picked apart such absurd arguments:
First of all, isn’t this exactly what conservatives had warned would happen when you created fake “markets?” Isn’t this exactly what the legislation was supposed to fix? When Obama was selling healthcare reform to the American people in 2009, he argued that the individual market exchanges would soon be almost entirely self-sufficient, driving down costs because insurance companies would have “incentive to participate in this exchange because it lets them compete for millions of new customers.”
As it turns out, the real incentive for many of these insurance giants was the presence of taxpayer subsides. Removing corporate welfare can’t “sabotage” a healthy marketplace, it can only expose the rickety infrastructure of a fabricated one. Nothing, it turns out, sabotages Obamacare quite as well as Obamacare.
Here is a full transcript of Mitchell’s June 21 exchange with Bennett:
12:51 PM ET
ANDREA MITCHELL: The other issue here is what’s happening to ObamaCare and whether the White House is trying to sabotage ObamaCare by missing deadlines where insurance companies have to decide whether to re-up. What are you hearing around the country?
SEN. MICHAEL BENNETT [D-CO]: It’s very clear that that’s what’s happening. This is not a strategy that started with this president. The Republicans in Congress defunded what were called the risk corridors which allowed insurance companies to lay off their risk on each other depending on what happened in the actual markets. And that resulted in a nonprofit co-op in Colorado going bankrupt. That happened all over the country. And then what happened was the Republicans said, “See, ObamaCare has failed.” But it was the critics of ObamaCare that had screwed it up. And that’s what’s happening now with the insurance markets as well. You're hearing the insurers say that with this level of uncertainty about what we’re going to be doing going forward, that they can’t participate in these markets.