MSNBC's Scarborough: ObamaCare a 'Zombie,' 'Neither Alive Or Completely Dead'

Joe Scarborough offered one of the most interesting ObamaCare metaphors to date on Friday’s Morning Joe, claiming that President Obama’s signature health care reform is “like a zombie” that is “neither alive or completely dead.” The MSNBC host added that the law “just sort of slowly marches on,” amidst a barrage of criticism from both the right and the left.

Scarborough’s panel kicked off the segment by discussing Josh Green’s latest column in Bloomberg Businessweek, in which Green argued that the Obama administration is losing the battle over the ironically-titled Affordable Care Act on Twitter. MSNBC host Thomas Roberts turned the discussion to the fast-approaching open enrollment period for ObamaCare, which begins on October 1:

Joe [Scarborough], you know this about – the open enrollment begins October the 1st, with coverage to begin starting January 1st of 2014. So in the time period between now and then, can 140 characters from the president change the sentiment about what it means for the Affordable Care Act?

Scarborough expressed his doubts – suggesting that “most people hate” the law – and offered a litany of recent slip-ups in ObamaCare’s implementation as proof:

Business leaders hated it so much that the White House had to push off for a year the employer mandate. Congress, that passed it, hated it so much that when the president went to talk to the Democratic caucus the first thing they said was “hey listen, I know we passed the bill but you’ve got to exempt us from it. We’re going to lose all our good people.”

Scarborough then dropped the “zombie” metaphor, which Fortune’s Leigh Gallagher praised as a “fantastic way to put it.” Gallagher’s approval was somewhat surprising, given her liberal track record on Morning Joe. The Fortune editor, though, eventually resorted to defending the law:

This is happening. I think it’s now time to let it speak for itself. The goal here is to provide health care to millions and millions of more people, and to also hold the line on increasing health care costs.

Gallagher even acknowledged that “there are reasons why [ObamaCare] might not work,” admitting that “all the healthy people might go for cheaper plans” or “other big insurers might skim the healthy out.” But Gallagher oddly referred to these potential downfalls as “slight economic mechanical reasons.”

Gallagher summed up her argument with what I can only imagine is the average liberal’s attitude towards ObamaCare at this point:

But, let’s give it a try. I mean, it’s happening.

See the full transcript below:


MSNBC
Morning Joe
August 9, 2013
7:09 a.m. Eastern

THOMAS ROBERTS: Joe [Scarborough], you know this about – the open enrollment begins October the 1st, with coverage to begin starting January 1st of 2014. So in the time period between now and then, can 140 characters from the president change the sentiment about what it means for the Affordable Care Act? Because it’s coming down the line. It’s chugging right – October’s gonna be here before we know it. So, it’s chugging down the line.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: It is. And, you know, it’s just – it’s in this very strange place. It’s sort of like in a no man’s land and Leigh, you look at what’s been happening over the past year, and, you know, Josh [Green of Bloomberg Businessweek] is exactly right. It passed Congress. The president signed it. It survived the Supreme Court. It survived a presidential election. And yet, yeah, most people hate it. There’s a 34 percent approval rating for ObamaCare, which is just absolutely horrific. That’s basically the Democratic base. And I know in there some people want actually a more expansive bill as well, but 34 percent is 34 percent.

Business leaders hated it so much that the White House had to push off for a year the employer mandate. Congress, that passed it, hated it so much that when the president went to talk to the Democratic caucus the first thing they said was “hey listen, I know we passed the bill but you’ve got to exempt us from it. We’re going to lose all our good people.” And so, yes, it is alive. It’s going to stay alive, it’s actually splitting the Republican Party right now as far as a small group wanting to defund it by shutting down the government but it’s – I don’t know. It’s like a zombie. It’s neither alive or completely dead. It’s just sort of – slowly marches on.

LEIGH GALLAGHER: That’s a great way to put it. That is a fantastic way to put it. But, I mean, it’s been adjudicated again and again and again and again, as we’ve all said. This is happening. I think it’s now time to let it speak for itself. The goal here is to provide health care to millions and millions of more people, and to also hold the line on increasing health care costs. There are reasons why that might not work, you know, all the healthy people might go for the cheaper plans, you know, and other big insurers might skim the healthy out and, you know, there’s slight economic mechanical reasons why this faces challenges. But, let’s give it a try. I mean, it’s happening.