'I don't know': GOP rep. falls apart on CNN and admits he has no idea how health care bill actually works
John Berman and Poppy Harlow speak to Joe Barton (CNN/screen grab)

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) admitted to CNN on Thursday that he doesn't "know everything" about the Republican health care bill, but he said he would vote for it because there is a "probability" that it will work.


CNN host John Berman pointed out to Barton that the GOP bill to "repeal and replace" Obamacare would allow states to obtain a waiver to eliminate rights for people with pre-existing conditions.

"I think Texas will lead the parade [on requesting waivers," Barton said. "But when you opt out of the federal mandates, that doesn't mean you're opting out of providing quality care for those that cannot get it through their workplace. So, you know, you either believe in government or you believe in markets."

CNN co-host Poppy Harlow noted that there was gap between availability and affordability when it comes to health care. And although the Republican bill includes funds for so-called high risk pools, "it is not nearly enough money to make it affordable for folks who have pre-existing conditions," she said.

Barton asserted that that states could lower the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions by following the example of the state of Maine.

"Actually what the state of Maine did," Harlow replied, "is they assessed everyone. They put a tax on everyone of $4 a month to pay for that. That was their funding mechanism. Are you willing to support a tax to do that, to put more money in these pools for high risk individuals, those with pre-existing conditions?"

"You're saying Maine works so this will work," she continued. "And I'm telling our viewers, Maine worked because of the tax. Are you willing to support a tax?"

"I don't know all there is to know about the Maine plan," Barton chuckled. "But I do know that markets will work."

"How do you know it will be better?" Berman wondered. "How do you know their rates won't go up? And how do you know how much it will cost if there's no [Congressional Budget Office] score?"

"I know that Obamacare is failing," Barton insisted.

"But that's a different question," the CNN host observed. "How do you know this will work or what the predictions can be without a CBO score?"

Barton promised that the CBO would "eventually" score the bill after it was passed.

"The evidence, sir, is that it didn't work before," Harlow said. "Obamacare is far from perfect. But are you saying essentially you hope that it works this time?"

"I'm not saying 'I hope'," Barton disagreed. "I'm thinking there is a reasonable expectation, there is a probability that this will be better than all the mandates that we had under Obamacare."

Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast May 4, 2017.