Republican House Whip Eric Cantor may have made a Freudian slip Sunday when he told NBC’s David Gregory that the GOP wants to “get people more uninsured.”
Gregory asked a panel to comment on what he called the fundamental tension of the health reform debate.
“The tension seems to be that individual elements are popular. You can talk to people who want better health care, better access to health care, reform. But there’s a lot of distrust that government can deliver this kind of care and handle it well.”
“The reality is Republicans do care about health care,” Cantor replied. “We want to address the first and most foundational element which is cost. Because if we can bring down cost, more people can access care. But we also know that there is something we can do to get people more uninsured.”
“The problem is,” he continued, “with the president’s bill it’s about expanding Medicaid. No one wants to go onto Medicaid. That’s why physicians in Florida and other states are leaving Medicaid in droves because of the imperfect reimbursement structure. That’s what this bill is about, is expanding the government programs that don’t work. We need real reform to bring down costs.”
Democratic Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz jumped in to counter his assertion that Democrats wouldn’t address costs.
“There’s 47 million people in America that don’t have insurance. We are all paying for them because they show up at the emergency room as their primary access point for health care,” she said.
“In order to reduce costs we can cut a tax of $1000 on American families just by covering those people,” she insisted. “We can also make sure that we bring down costs by broadening the pool, adding the healthiest people who are choosing right now to not carry health insurance. Then when they get hit out of the clear blue sky by an unexpected illness, they don’t have insurance, and we’re all paying for it.”
This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Feb. 28, 2010.