CNN's Berman Scoffs at ObamaCare Repeal; 'The Plan Passed'

After President Obama's Thursday press conference on his ObamaCare "fix," CNN's John Berman declared the ObamaCare debate over and pushed Republicans to cooperate in fixing it.

"That was the debate from 2010 and the plan passed. Now it's about implementing this plan. Good or bad, at this point," he lectured GOP guest Rich Galen, who had criticized ObamaCare's "complex and top-down, top-heavy system."

Although he admonished Galen, Berman was asleep at the wheel when Democratic strategist Kiki McLean spun that "more Americans" are "covered" under the law. Galen had to jump in and play referee, which is Berman's job as a news anchor.

"Hold it. You can't let that go," Galen told Berman. "Millions, Kiki, of people, have been told that their insurance is going to be canceled." He added that in comparison, only "thousands" had been enrolled in ObamaCare's exchanges. "So for you to say that more people are covered today than they were yesterday, effectively, is simply not correct."

Berman also asked if Republicans should help "make changes" to the law rather than vote to repeal it:

"There have been a lot of liberals, and they're all over my Twitter feed, all the editorial pages, saying that one of the big problems over the last several months has been the Republicans have been standing in the way of implementing this all in the right way. State governors won't set up the Medicaid money, they won't set up the state exchanges. The question now is are Republicans or should they be willing to make changes to make this system better rather than just keep on voting time and time again to do away with it completely?"

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on November 14 at 2:07 p.m. EDT:

JOHN BERMAN: Let's talk about the website now, Healthcare.gov. Because there's been a lot of problems there. The President acknowledged it's been a rough rollout to say the least. That was one of the fumbles that he talked about. And he was asked directly whether he had been informed in advance that there would be problems with the site. Let's listen to what he said.

(Video Clip)

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: I was not informed directly that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to. Had I been informed, I wouldn't be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great.

(End Video Clip)

BERMAN: This seems like a pretty big failure of communication for a White House. So is just saying sorry, I didn't know, enough now? Or do you think there have to be consequences? In other words, do heads have to roll?

(...)

[2:36]

KIKI MCLEAN, Democratic strategist: And we know that between enrollment in Medicaid and even what people are calling the low numbers of enrollment in the marketplace, we have already got more Americans covered this week, and that's a good thing.

BERMAN: So Rich, what are Republicans willing to do to make it work? Because I see –  

RICH GALEN: Hold it. You can't let that go. Millions, Kiki, of people, have been told that their insurance is going to be canceled.

MCLEAN: And the President has addressed that.

GALEN: No, wait. Wait. Thousands have gotten through the system. So for you to say that more people are covered today than they were yesterday, effectively, is simply not correct. Now, here's the question I think we need to answer. I agree with you on the whole website thing. And that will get fixed. That's a technical thing. My big question, I think we need to look at, is the website was a big, gigantic blinding light in our eyes. Is there something besides that that is so structurally wrong that really what the President proposed today is the right answer, whether he can do it administratively or not, somebody else has to figure out, or is there something structurally wrong with the way the ACA is proposed that it really does need to go through major surgery?

(...)

GALEN: This is the wealthiest country in the history of the world. For us to have people who have to go on bended knee for health care, whether it's prescription drugs or actual treatment, is – it's a sin. I absolutely agree with you. But to come up with this unbelievably complex and top-down, top-heavy system, I think is wrong. So I agree with you that we need to have health care. This is just the wrong way to go about it.

BERMAN: Hang on, Rich. That was the debate from 2010 and the plan passed. Now it's about implementing this plan. Good or bad, at this point. There have been a lot of liberals, and they're all over my Twitter feed, all the editorial pages, saying that one of the big problems over the last several months has been the Republicans have been standing in the way of implementing this all in the right way. State governors won't set up the Medicaid money, they won't set up the state exchanges. The question now is are Republicans or should they be willing to make changes to make this system better rather than just keep on voting time and time again to do away with it completely?

GALEN: I haven't seen any proposals from the Democratic side, for the Democrats over the last, I don't know, three and a half years. This has been perfect. They had plenty of time to fix this. The President had plenty of time to fix this. The HHS had plenty of time to say we probably need to do these things. Nobody did it until October 1st. That is a collapse of responsibility in the administration.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014