When House Speaker John Boehner was pressed for specifics about his ACA replacement, he treated America and CBS’s Norah O’Donnell to a patented John Boehner tantrum.
Video via CBS News:
Here is the transcript via Face The Nation:
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Well, there’s always going to be parts of it that are good. But when you look at the twenty-seven hundred pages that no one read and, uh, you know, remember Nancy Pelosi said, well, we have to pass this before we know what’s in it. Republicans are not going to go down that path.
NORAH O’DONNELL: I asked ask you if there’s anything good in it because I want to ask you about some of the specific provisions in the bill. Since you are going to be repealing it, are you willing to roll back the provisions that would provide free mammograms under Medicare?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Listen, there are a lot of provisions that can be replaced. Remember, I said, we want to take a common-sense, step-by-step approach to replacing Obamacare.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Let’s talk about what’s specifically in this bill because there are a lot of protections for individuals.
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Of course, there are.
NORAH O’DONNELL: If you are under twenty-six years old, you are out of a job, you can stay on your parent’s insurance. Do you support that?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: I do. And the health insurance industry has made that a practice within their industry.
NORAH O’DONNELL: What about it–
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: They came out and made that statement a couple of weeks ago.
NORAH O’DONNELL: What about additional preventative care like for children, for instance, you don’t have to pay a copay on immunizations?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: As I– as I said Republicans believe in a common-sense, step-by-step approach to replacing this law. And all of those provisions, popular provisions, many of them very sound provisions can, in fact, be done in a common-sense way, but not in twenty-seven hundred pages that no one read.
NORAH O’DONNELL: What about preexisting conditions? What about the millions of Americans that have preexisting conditions and are discriminated against?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: We believe that the way it is done within Obamacare is– is pushing the cost of health insurance for all Americans much too high. We believe that the state high-risk pools are a much more effective way to making sure that those with preexisting conditions have access to affordable health insurance.
NORAH O’DONNELL: But access to affordable health insurance, but you’re not saying you would be for a law that would prevent discrimination of those individuals?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: No, we just believe there is a better way to make sure that they have affordable access to quality health insurance.
NORAH O’DONNELL: So when you repeal this, what are you going to replace it with?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: I just started pointing out. We’re going take a common-sense, step-by-step approach that puts in place the kind of policies that will make our– our health insurance system more what I call patient-centered and lower cost. The only proposal out there last year that would lower the cost of health insurance came from Republicans. Why? Because we’ve got policies that really will help bring down the cost of health insurance. It’s clear that Obamacare is increasing the cost of health insurance for all Americans and making it virtually impossible for small employers to hire new workers.
After Boehner digressed into more GOP talking points about the evils of Obamacare, O’Donnell went back at him again about what his disagrees with and what he would replace the ACA with,
NORAH O’DONNELL: Why not, then, if you like some of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act, why not work with it rather than ap– repeal the whole thing.
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (overlapping): No, no, no.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Even Mitt Romney said–
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (overlapping): No, this has to be– this has to be ripped out by its roots. This is government taking over the entire health insurance industry. The American people do not want to go down this path. They do not want the government telling them what kind of insurance policy they have to buy and how much they’re going to pay for it and if you don’t like it, we’re going to tax you. It has to be ripped out and we need to start over, one step at a time.
NORAH O’DONNELL (overlapping): And so you say so– so– so to heck with all these provisions like additional preventative care for children, for women–
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (overlapping): All of them. All of– we can– we can replace. While we replace this, we can have a common-sense debate about which of these provisions ought to stay and which ought to go.
NORAH O’DONNELL: So all those people who have preexisting conditions, you say we’re going to get rid of this and then at some point we’ll deal with it?
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Listen, I’ve already outlined we believe there’s a better way to provide access to high quality health insurance in a different way than we have in Obamacare. We believe ours will work just as well at much less cost to the American people.
Hey, look it is a patented John Boehner freakout. Once again the Speaker of the House demonstrated that any question beyond, ‘can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street’ is too much for him to handle. The fragile Speaker went from at times yelling at O’Donnell to adopting an almost pleading tone when she repeatedly asked him for details. The one thing that can be counted on in any John Boehner video is that if he gets pushed even slightly beyond his talking points, he will crack.
Believe it not, Boehner actually thought that he could use the same lines that were successful in the 2010 midterm elections. He never expected anyone to ask what provisions he supported and what he would replace the ACA with. Republicans seem absolutely shocked, and judging from Boehner’s reaction, caught off guard by the media’s request for specifics.
Because some in the media have started to ask questions, Republicans are being forced to admit that there are some provisions of Obamacare that even they will be keep. Think about this. Republicans have gone from absolutely no Obamacare to we must repeal Obamacare, to we have to get rid of some of Obamacare and keep the rest.
Republicans are quickly losing ground on this issue. The problem the GOP faces is that they can go down the Mitch McConnell path by telling millions of Americans that their lack of access to healthcare is not an issue, or they can take the Boehner path and yell at anyone who dares to challenge them. Neither method answers the questions that America is asking.
When the Supreme Court upheld the ACA, they changed the healthcare discussion. It isn’t good enough for Republicans to leave it at we must repeal Obamacare. Now that we have a law in place, the American people want to know what Republicans are going to replace it with.
Like many conservatives when pressed for facts, John Boehner was reduced to yelling. However, Boehner’s testy raised voice was a cover. What was really important was what the Speaker didn’t say.
He didn’t say that Republicans have a plan to insure more people. He didn’t say that people with preexisting conditions would be covered, and he didn’t say what he would replace the ACA with.
America, this freaked out mess of a human being is your Speaker of the House. It is obvious why the Tea Party walks all over Boehner on a daily basis. He couldn’t even handle Norah O’Donnell’s questions without making a mess out of himself. If the American people believe that this weak kneed bowl of orange Jell-O will have their best interests at heart, they will be sorely disappointed.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association