MSNBC Slams 'Scandal' of GOP Vote to Repeal ObamaCare

On Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton lambasted House Republicans for repeatedly voting to repeal ObamaCare, calling it a "scandal" and an "outrage," as he seemed to cite a questionable study from a left-wing source from 2009 claiming that 45,000 people a year die because they lack health insurance. Sharpton began the segment:

You've got to hand it to the Republicans. In a week when they've obsessed over scandals, they've managed to miss an actual scandal. That's their 37th vote to repeal the President's health care law. Trying to deny a law that would literally give health care to millions of Americans is not just a waste of time, it's an outrage.

After a clip of Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the MSNBC host brought up the "45,000" number and attacked Tea Party "extremism." Sharpton:

The scandal here is that there is a real urgent health crisis in America right now. Forty-five thousand Americans die every year because they don't have health insurance. Nearly 50 million are uninsured, and more than seven million of those are children. But the Republicans just don't care. They just want to play the political game of repeal, repeal, repeal that will go nowwhere. It's ugly politics, and it shows the continuing power of Tea Party extremism governing today's Republican party.

On screen was displayed the number "45,000" as being the number of Americans who die yearly because they lack health insurance, with the CDC, Harvard Medical School, and the Urban Institute cited as sources. But, as noted by the MRC's Brent Baker in 2009, the study originated with a left-wing group, Physicians for a National Health Program, that seeks a single payer health care system.

Sharpton ended up fretting that some Americans will not utilize ObamaCare because the Republican attempts to repeal the program have fooled them into thinking it no longer exists:

When you look at the fact that the political game is breaking a lot of confidence and misinformation, let me give you an example of what really bothers me because it's having a real effect. The Washington Post reports last month, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled Americans on whether the Affordable Care Act is still law. Twelve percent of Americans -- that's about one in eight people -- think that the Congress repealed the Affordable Care Act. Another 23 percent aren't sure or refuse to answer the question.

He added:

So this political game, E.J., is having some impact because if people think it's been repealed or they're not sure, they will not do what they need to do to become part of it as it goes into full implementation. And that is absolutely a shame.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, May 17, PoliticsNation on MSNBC:

AL SHARPTON: You've got to hand it to the Republicans. In a week when they've obsessed over scandals, they've managed to miss an actual scandal. That's their 37th vote to repeal the President's health care law. Trying to deny a law that would literally give health care to millions of Americans is not just a waste of time, it's an outrage. But Speaker John Boehner says he may not be done yet.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is this the only time the House will vote on repealing for you to find another vote over the next two years?

JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER, CLIP #1: When we have further votes that we'll take, we'll let you know.

BOEHNER CLIP #2: The issue is Obama care and we're going to keep the focus on ObamaCare.

SHARPTON: Keep the focus on ObamaCare. The scandal here is that there is a real urgent health crisis in America right now. Forty-five thousand Americans die every year because they don't have health insurance. Nearly 50 million are uninsured, and more than seven million of those are children. But the Republicans just don't care. They just want to play the political game of repeal, repeal, repeal that will go nowwhere. It's ugly politics, and it shows the continuing power of Tea Party extremism governing today's Republican party. Joining me now is E.J. Dionne and Bob Shrum. ... E.J., repeal, repeal, but for what reason?

E.J. DIONNE: Well, you know, Reverend, I think we can all agree, Republicans enjoy voting to repeal ObamaCare. And if they did it a few times, you know, it unifies the base, most of them vote the same way, but 37 times becomes a case of self-parody. And I think what we should remember is this is a very different Republican party from the past. In the past, all kinds of Republicans, from John Chafee to Bob Dole to Richard Nixon, all recognize that having this many uninsured people is bad for the country and they were all willing to acknowledge a government role in it. And the other shame here is, you know, the ObamaCare can be improved. The Social Security Act was amended many times to make the program better, but we can't even have a conversation about how to make ObamaCare work better because all we're going to get are votes to repeal. And it's just not the way government should work.

SHARPTON: Bob, it is the law, it is going to be implemented fully by next year, yet they keep going back over this when you, I mean, Michele Bachmann is now linking the IRS controversy to the health care law. Watch this.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): Could there potentially be political implications regarding health care, access to health care, denial of health care? Will that happen based upon a person's political beliefs or their religiously held beliefs?

SHARPTON: And it's not just her. I mean, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Steve King, I mean, they won't stop trying to take health care away from the American people that need it.

(BOB SHRUM)

SHARPTON: But you know, E.J., when you leave the Beltway, I understand the politics back and forward and the pundits looking at the political players. But people are hurting. I mean, people are actually hurting. People are sick, some dying because of this, and I gave the numbers.

When you look at the fact that the political game is breaking a lot of confidence and misinformation, let me give you an example of what really bothers me because it's having a real effect. The Washington Post reports last month, the Kaiser Family Foundation polled Americans on whether the affordable care act is still law. Twelve percent of Americans, that's about one in eight people, think that the Congress repealed the affordable care act. Another 23 percent aren't sure or refuse to answer the question.

So this political game, E.J., is having some impact because if people think it's been repealed or they're not sure, they will not do what they need to do to become part of it as it goes into full implementation. And that is absolutely a shame.

(...)