The good and the bad thing about shows like Today are that they can only handle things in the most simplistic ways possible. In many cases this leads to oversimplified “discussions” about serious and complex issues. However, sometimes this simplicity is exactly what the doctor ordered. In the case of the new Republican healthcare repeal plan, simplifying what a load of garbage it is can cut through fast-talkers like Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price’s bullshit. Host Savannah Guthrie began the interview by quoting unpopular President Trump’s assertion that everybody would be “beautifully covered” by whatever the Republican replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act ended up being. Guthrie proceeded to politely say that this promise has clearly not panned out and maybe Trump and Republicans should admit that “some people”* are going to lose their coverage.
Price: No. The fact of the matter is that if you look at the whole plan, what the President said was absolutely right.
He proceeds to walk down Republican talking points lane telling everybody that Obamacare has failed. He talks about how Trump met with people who had bad healthcare experiences. At this point Mrs. Guthrie decides to put Mr. Price back on track.
Guthrie: Sir, can I just stop you right there. I just want to zero in on that point. Are you saying no one is going to lose coverage under this plan? Because that’s what the President promised.
Price: What we’re saying is that Obamacare has failed…
More blah blah blah about premiums going up and deductibles going up.
Price: And the CBO doesn’t account for that.
Price explains that this secret plan of theirs has only been slightly revealed and so the CBO can’t possibly know all the answers. Lauer pops in to quote a Republican.
Lauer: You heard what Lindsey Graham said, even if the CBO is off by 50 percent, that would still mean some seven million people without insurance in a year and some 12 million more people without insurance down the road. So that doesn’t sound good either, does it?
Price reiterates that this isn’t the whole plan. He continues by saying they are trying to
kill the elderly and the poor fix the situation. It is here that Matt Lauer blows up Tom Price’s spot completely.
Lauer: Are you trying to fix it though, with a game of semantics? Because having “access” to health insurance is a very different thing than being able to actually “get” health insurance?
Price begins to stammer and decides to walk it back, saying they believe “moms and dads ought to be able to select” blah blah blah. Once again, the harsh reality that this is not about getting anyone health insurance is laid bare here. Guthrie comes in to ask the last question and she really digs a nice grave for Price to lie down in.
Guthrie: So sir, we gotta run, but to go back to the original point, you’re saying—this morning—that you agree with President Trump that under this plan everyone will be covered. No one is losing their insurance.
Price: Everyone will have access to the coverage that they want—
Lauer and Guthrie: Yes, but that’s “access” again—
Lauer: That’s access as opposed to being covered.
It’s here that Guthrie repeats, seemingly unknowingly, the statement that by Price and Trump’s standard she could make $25,000 a year and have “access to a BMW” but not be able to afford it. Price says she’s stealing a Bernie Sanders line. (Sanders said you can have access to a $10 million home.) But, Price is still unable to answer the question.
* some = tens of millions in morning television lingo.