Republicans are big fans of the free market, but Joy Reid was merciless in her cross-examination of Heritage Foundation staffer Tommy Binion attempting to claim the free market fixes all.
“I think the markets would respond the way we expect a free market to respond,” Binion began. “We know that free markets bring competition between firms when they’re competing for your business, they’re going to offer a better product at a lower price. Part of the reasons premiums have gone up so high is because of Obamacare. I expect premiums to get a lot cheaper if Obamacare were to be repealed.”
That’s when Reid pounced.
“If there was a robust market to insure the people who were added to the insurance rolls under the Medicaid expansion, these are basically the working poor, people at 125 percent of the poverty rate, if there was such a robust market to offer them insurance then why wasn’t it there before Obamacare?” she asked.
Reid is correct, obviously. If the free market worked so exceptionally, there would have been a series of plans available for people who could not afford the high premiums and deductibles. For that matter, if the free market was the answer, Republicans would support a public option, because the market is freely open to anyone and would destroy the plan if it wasn’t good.
“Well, if we’re speaking about those people on Medicaid, the CBO assumes some would leave Medicaid, but Medicaid is free,” he explained. Reid was confused. “They’re required to be on it under Obamacare. And the CBO assumes some of them would leave despite –”
“Not leave, no, no. Lose,” Reid cut in. “I’m sorry. They would not leave. This is not people voluntarily saying, ‘you know, I choose to go uninsured. It’s people losing their health insurance, essentially not having health insurance anymore.”
Binion tried to interject but it didn’t work well. At one point he attempted to both cite the CBO and trash the CBO for having inaccurate numbers.
“What those people will have under the Senate bill is more choice,” he continued. “We know when they have more choices they’re going to exercise that choice.”
“That’s a great bumper sticker, but what you’re basically saying is if people can buy more junk insurance, insurance that really doesn’t cover much, insurance that has low premiums but I think most people like the services that they’re getting under Obamacare, the free mammograms, et cetera.”
“It’s faulty logic to say every dollar the federal government spends on health insurance is the only dollar that could help people,” Binion tried to close. “We know from 200 years of American history that the free market and free enterprise delivers the best products. Why would we take that out of the health care market?”
“The theoretical about the free market doesn’t give people health care,” Reid blasted. “It doesn’t give people health care for you to talk about the free market. Talk about the free market makes you feel good. It doesn’t give people a medical card.”
Watch the full smackdown below: