Republican Sen. John Thune was on Fox News’ Studio B program trying to sell the talking point that healthcare reform would raise premiums but host Shep Smith would have none of it. Smith went off, “That’s not true, senator. That is not true that is not what the CBO said. I know your talking points. I know the other side’s talking points…”
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
Thune said, “Republicans are not going to buy into a bill that costs two and a half trillion dollars, that raises taxes on small businesses and individuals, that cuts Medicare, and at the end of the day raises premiums for most Americans.” This answer set Smith off, “No, it doesn’t. That’s not true, Senator. That is not true. That is not what CBO said. I know your talking points. I know the other side’s talking points, but can’t we just say look we’ve got to do something in this country. This is going to bankrupt us, and you people up there who are supposed to be representing us are making it perfectly clear, you are going to sit in your corners with your own talking points, and we are going to lose. We’re going to get nothing, and it’s clear we’re not.”
I don’t know if Smith was more upset about Thune’s obvious lie about reform causing premiums to increase, or the fact that his guest spent the entire segment mouthing GOP talking points. Smith did go on to predict everybody being even more divided if Democrats pass the bill through reconciliation, but in my opinion, as it stands there is no political unity in this country right now anyway, so Democrats have more to gain from passing the bill than they do from no bill at all.
The shelf life on the Republican healthcare talking points expired last fall. This is why the anti-reform forces have been losing momentum. I think it is very clear that come hell or high water, the Democrats are going to get this bill through the Senate.
Shep Smith is correct though. While the Senate is locked in a test of wills, 14,000 people lose their access to healthcare every day. The politicians have lost touch with the issue, and this is why I think it is going to be a long election night in November for incumbents of both parties.