Republicans and Democrats are not about to make nice over health care reform anytime soon. Obviously. But in case you wanted more evidence, we present: Members of Congress and Other Political Figures on Sunday talk shows.
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In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said he was "shocked" that the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the health care mandate. "The idea that the federal government can mandate that the American people purchase a product is shocking to me,” Boehner said. He vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying the law should be "ripped out by its roots." When Face the Nation host Norah O'Donnell asked Boehner about "the millions of Americans that have pre-existing conditions and are discriminated against," he did not answer her question directly, and instead focused on the problems he sees with the current health care bill. "We believe that the way it is done within Obamacare is pushing the cost of health insurance for all Americans much too high," he said. "The only proposal out there last year that would lower the cost of health insurance came from Republicans."
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On the same show, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said that Republicans will "lose the election in the House and the Senate and the presidency" if they continue to fight over health care. Schumer said that presidential candidate Mitt Romney is "in a pickle" arguing against the president's health care bill because he passed a similar version in Massachusetts. "He prescribed this," Schumer said. "This was his bill."
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This is Boehner on Face the Nation:
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On CNN's State of the Union, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said the public wants its government to "get over the [health care] debate and implement the law." Lew said that the debate over health care has been framed in a way that does more harm than good for the public. "It's a very personal issue for people," he said. "They understand that health care is a big part of their lives. And frankly they hear a political debate that makes it more, not less, divisive." Rebutting Republican arguments surrounding the fine imposed on individuals who do not buy health insurance, Lew said the fine would only affect one percent of Americans. "Everyone who has insurance, everyone who chooses to get insurance, will not pay it," he said. "What they are going to get is security, lower premiums, and better health care."
Most of Lew's statements on State of the Union echoed those he made on Fox News Sunday. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (K.Y.), who appeared on Fox News Sunday after Lew, did not agree with Lew's 'case closed' mindset. (Shocker.) He would like to continue fighting the good fight against the health care law, which he called the “single worst piece of legislation passed in modern times.” McConnell said that the Republican plan for health care starts will repealing the existing law in its entirety. “We’ve got one last chance here to defeat Obamacare," he said. "We can do that in the November election."
On NBC's Meet the Press, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi said what every other Democrat on a talk show today has tried to convey: Democrats are undaunted by the Republicans rally-call for repeal. "They'll bring it up, and when they bring it up, they will ask for repeal -- repeal of all the things I said that help children, help young adults, help seniors, help men or women who may have prostate cancer, breast cancer, whatever it is, any precondition," Pelosi told host David Gregory. "And everybody will have lower rates, better quality care, and better access. So if that's what they want to repeal, we're happy to have that debate." Pelosi argued against Gregory's characterization of the individual mandate as a "new tax," based on the court's finding that the mandate is constitutional because of Congress' authority to impose taxes. She said the fine on those who don't have insurance is a penalty, not a tax. "The penalty is on people who have the wherewithal but refuse to buy health insurance figuring they won't be sick and if they do other people will have to cover it," Pelosi said. "So these free riders, as they were identified by Gov. Romney himself, he said people have the ability to pay and don't can't expect to be free riders. And I think that he termed it exactly right. These free riders make health insurance for those who are taking responsibility making it more expensive."
This is Pelosi on Meet the Press:
On ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Republican Representative Paul Ryan (W.I.), said that Chief Justice John Roberts had to “contort logic and reason” in order to rule the individual mandate constitutional. Ryan wasn't shy (um, at all) about framing the law as the one key election issue. "This election is a choice of two futures," he said. "Do you want a government-centered society in a government-driven economy and government-rationed health care? Or do you want the American opportunity society with a safety net, a free economy, economic freedom, personal liberty? That’s what we want. That’s the American idea. We have one more chance as a people to get that back, and that chance is going to come on November the 6th."
This is Ryan on This Week:
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Watching the talk-show post-mortem on the health care law is kind of like walking in half-hour circles to end up riiiiight back where we started. Except with the added bonus of a headache.
We'll call the doctor about that once we have insurance.