Lawrence O’Donnell: During Virus Crisis, Trump’s Effort to Repeal ObamaCare Will Kill More

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"Never let a serious crisis go to waste." That’s clearly a motto embraced by MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. As the nation fights to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic, O’Donnell on Sunday lectured that more will die if ObamaCare is fully repealed. 

After the Democratic debate ended, the Last Word host talked to former Obama administration official Dr. Kavita Patel. She attacked, “Donald Trump has dismantled the Affordable Care Act.” 

This prompted O’Donnell to whine that neither 2020 Democrat suggested that repealing ObamaCare would make the Coronavirus worse: 

 

 

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: That's one of the surprising elements for me tonight is that neither one of the candidates mentioned that, “Oh by the way, as this coronavirus is raging through the country, the President of the United States is, currently, trying to take health care away from more than 20 million Americans by going to the United States Supreme Court and trying to get the Affordable Care Act ruled unconstitutional, in its entirety. That's what Donald Trump is doing for health care coverage tonight. And no watcher of that debate was told about that. 

Earlier this month, O’Donnell gave up any pretense of journalism and screeched, “More people are sick in American tonight, because Donald Trump is president. More people are dead and dying in America tonight because Donald Trump is president.”

 

 

On Sunday, the MSNBC host speculated as to why Trump is so “happy” during all of this: 

 

 

So with people dying in this country from this illness, and more people contracting it every day, when the president stepped up to the microphone today. The very first thing he said was that he was happy. He used the word happy. And what he was happy about was the interest rate set by the Federal Reserve. He is saying that while people have loved ones in hospitals around this country today, dying from this disease. What was your reaction to what the president was so happy about today in that press conference? 

Well, obviously because the President enjoys people dying? That seems to be O’Donnell’s conclusion. 

None of this is new. In August of 2012, MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter insisted that if Mitt Romney won the election, by extension, people will die: “Repeal equals death. People will die in the United States if Obamacare is repealed. That is not an exaggeration. That is not crying fire.  It's a simple fact.” 

MSNBC: Not the place for subtlety. 

A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more. 

Decision 2020
3/15/2020
11:30 PM ET

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, Dr. Kavita Patel, a primary care physician who served in the Obama administration. Dr. Patel, thank you for joining us tonight. What did the candidates get right? What did they get wrong in the discussion of coronavirus tonight? 

KAVITA PATEL: Well, I think what they got right is just drawing attention, both Biden and Sanders, drawing attention to kind of the extreme need for action. And probably concentrating even more on the fact that we could have done a lot of this earlier. Whether it was Vice President Biden talking about what we did do in the Obama administration during H1N1, Ebola, et cetera. And Sanders highlighting kind of all the gaps that exist. By the way, a lot of it is because Donald Trump has dismantled the Affordable Care Act, which Sanders doesn't want to emphasize. But that's exactly why we're in the situation we're in. 

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: That's one of the surprising elements for me tonight is that neither one of the candidates mentioned that, “Oh by the way, as this coronavirus is raging through the country, the President of the United States is, currently, trying to take health care away from more than 20 million Americans by going to the United States Supreme Court and trying to get the Affordable Care Act ruled unconstitutional, in its entirety. That's what Donald Trump is doing for health care coverage tonight. And no watcher of that debate was told about that. 

PATEL: Absolutely, Lawrence. And nobody reminded people that this started the minute he was elected into office. Where if it weren't for the late Senator John McCain, we would have dismantled the Affordable -- repeal and replace with nothing might have been a reality. Could you imagine? I mean, we're not in great shape today and, certainly, both Biden and Sanders got that right. But, really, what would have happened if we had even 50 million more people with no access to healthcare? 

...

11:36 PM ET 

O’DONNELL: So with people dying in this country from this illness, and more people contracting it every day, when the president stepped up to the microphone today. The very first thing he said was that he was happy. He used the word happy. And what he was happy about was the interest rate set by the Federal Reserve. He is saying that while people have loved ones in hospitals around this country today, dying from this disease. What was your reaction to what the president was so happy about today in that press conference? 

 

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