Mary Katharine Ham Clashes With ‘Nasty’ Chris Cuomo Over Health Care

March 23rd, 2017 5:25 PM

With the potential repeal and replacement of Obamacare looming large in the news, a discussion about health care during Thursday morning’s edition of the Cable News Network’s New Day program became surly when Mary Katharine Ham, a senior writer for The Federalist, got into a debate with “nasty” co-host Chris Cuomo.

Ham, who asserted that the Republicans will pass their version of a health-care bill by a “pretty razor thin” margin, disagreed with Cuomo when he stated: “You can be cheap about it or look at the facts” regarding requirements in the Affordable Care Act.

The writer began the discussion by stating:

This is ... an arbitrary date. It does not have to be today, but obviously, they don’t want to bring it to the floor and fail.

On the essential health benefits, the idea that you gut all the essential health benefits and then there are no requirements of insurance companies is just not true.

“This is a highly regulated industry, and it would go back to the state regulations,” she noted. “There would be plenty of those preserved in the pre-existing conditions part.”

Ham then stated that coverage of pre-existing conditions is included in “this package, is part of balancing this whole act and trying to bring down these prices.”

“You, sir,” she told Cuomo, “pay for pediatric dental even if you don’t have children.”

The co-host then asked: “There was a reason, right? Everything has a reason, and this was about pre-existing conditions.”

“Look, you can be cheap about it or look at the facts,” he added. “You make your choice. State by state, you’re going to get different types of regulations.”

Ham responded by growling: “You can be nasty about it, or you can listen to me.”

“So answer my question,” Cuomo noted. “State by state, you get different regulations, right? The reason they built it into the ACA is because the states weren’t covering it, right? You have shortfalls, right?”

“We were not covering all of the things sometimes, including pediatric dental for single men with no children,” Ham responded.

“Look, these things bring up the prices,” she continued. “I am a person, a single mom of two, who has lost three or four plans since Obamacare passed. I was told I would not. That was a lie.

“When I said that I would lose my plan, people called me a liar when this was going on,” Ham added. “I have had a 160 percent increase in my premiums though I was told they would go down, and I have had a 300 percent increase in my deductibles.”

People “are getting coverage that they cannot use because it is so expensive,” she stated. “That is something we have to deal with.”

“One of the ways you can deal with that is cutting these quote-unquote essential health benefits because some of them are indeed not essential,” Ham continued.

Instead, “you could give people more flexibility to have slightly less expensive and slightly less comprehensive plans, which is what many young people would like to buy,” she concluded.

According to an article by the staff of the Federalist website, Obama’s “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” earned the dubious distinction of being Politifacts’ “Lie of the Year” in 2013.

The staff also noted: “Ham’s experience is echoed by many Americans, who have consistently said in polling since 2009 that Obamacare has hurt more people than it’s helped.”

Later in the day, Cuomo and Ham made it clear on Twitter that their feisty exchange was “business as usual” for them.

“Chris can handle me getting salty in the morning! See y'all soon,” Ham posted, and Cuomo replied: “Were you salty? Yes. Ham always is.”

As NewsBusters previously reported, the White House’s release of a proposed federal budget on March 16 sent the liberal media “into a frenzy” and framed the document as an assault against old people, the poor and cancer research.

But according to Ham -- while a guest on Sunday’s Inside Politics program -- that’s the childish behavior Washington had become known for. “No one wants to cut anything,” she told the CNN panel, “and I think that was the most revealing thing, as it often is, that we cannot have a grown-up conversation about actually making priorities in government.”