On the June 21 edition of CNN's New Day, host Chris Cuomo claimed that Democrats “deserve their own blame for not fixing the ACA and its obvious problems.” In reality, Democrats did attempt to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but were repeatedly rebuffed by their Republican counterparts in Congress.
The day before, on the June 20 edition of New Day, Cuomo parroted another conservative media talking point about the ACA when he took House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) out of context to imply the legislative process around the ACA was not transparent, saying “Republicans were rightly upset” that Pelosi said, “We've got to pass it, then they can read it.” In fact, the debate over the ACA was “one of the most transparent” in recent history, as Congress debated the legislation for over a year before it was signed into law. In addition, the full context of Pelosi’s now notorious speech reveals that her comment was about the need to have conversations about the substance of the ACA outside of the “fog of the controversy,” because negative talking points dominated the discussions of the law.
While Cuomo did qualify his comments about the ACA legislative process by conceding that the GOP health care bill is “unprecedented in its secrecy,” his repetition of conservative media talking points in an effort to present both sides serve to advance debunked right-wing media myths and unfairly blame the Obama administration for GOP failures. From the June 21 edition of CNN’s New Day:
BROOKE BALDWIN (CO-HOST): So, there was a tweet this morning from the president, John Avlon, I don't know you if you've quite checked your Twitter yet this morning, but he tweeted, “Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on health care, tax cuts and security.” He says, “Obstruction doesn't work.” Thoughts?
JOHN AVLON: Oh, that's rich. I'm all in favor of national unity, but of course that requires policies that are designed to be bipartisan. And that has decidedly not happened, both from the president's tone, from his direction, and certainly from the legislation -- health care which is being done in such a closed door fashion that even members of the Republican Senate don't have a clue what's in it. So, that's a lovely, superficial unifying message, but words got to be followed by actions, and there's just no -- that's an undiscovered country for this administration, unfortunately for really our national politics right now.
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Look, Margaret, hypocrisy is nothing new. Sadly, the American people talk about it but don't demand anything better. We can hold them to account. And here, that means that the president knows that this isn't about the Democrats wanting to stretch across -- they deserve their own blame for not fixing the ACA and the obvious problems. But this process is unprecedented in its secrecy, is it not?
MARGARET TALEV: And, as you saw, some of those Republicans arguing that this is similar to what President Obama and the Democrats did back in 2010. But I think this is where the rubber meets the road in terms of the elections last night and the health care debate now. The takeaway, if Democrats choose to see last night's losses as a gift, which you could, is that Republicans are not just going to abandon the party because some of them may be dissatisfied with President Trump. And that health care and tax reform and all these substantive issues really are still a crucial pivot point for voters, particularly sort of centrist or business-minded Republicans. For Republicans now in the Senate, getting a bill across the finish line is paramount in terms of their goals about being able to get things done. And for Democrats, probably the best thing they can hope for is that some of these questions inside the Republican party about secrecy or what's really in the bill gum up the wheels.