Scarborough Shines Light on ObamaCare’s Impact on Small Businesses; Mika Pushes Back

Joe Scarborough highlighted a very important aspect of ObamaCare, one that has been too often overlooked by mainstream journalists, on Wednesday’s Morning Joe.

During a roundtable discussion of the federal health care industry overhaul, Scarborough told everyone what he had been hearing from small business owners about ObamaCare:


I have yet to meet one small business owner, Democrat, Independent or Republican over the past four years... that has told me they think it's going to be good for their business. In fact, about 90 percent of them say it's going to be really bad for them.

Former Democratic congressman Harold Ford, Jr. said he didn’t disagree with the host, but he went on to partially blame business owners’ feelings on an “education deficit” surrounding ObamaCare. When Scarborough pressed him on what he meant, the panelist explained it was an “[e]ducation deficit about how this plan, how the Affordable Care Act can actually lower costs for them and lower costs for their employees.”

So small business owners are ignorant, according to Ford. They think ObamaCare will hurt their businesses, but they just might be wrong. They need the Obama White House to teach them that the health care law will actually lower their costs. There’s no better example of the liberal belief that the government knows better than the private sector.
 

Scarborough then threw down the gauntlet to everyone at the table with him, asking,  “Have any of you in five years talked to a small business owner that has said they think this will be good for them or will help their business?

Liberal contributor Donny Deutsch sheepishly admitted that he had never talked to a small business owner who thought ObamaCare would be a help. The advertising executive added, “And I actually think they don't even know that it’s going to be worse for them.” Ford gave the same answer as Deutsch, saying that business owners he had spoken to were “neutral-hopeful” at best about ObamaCare.


It was refreshing to hear a discussion about this law’s impact on small businesses. In the year 2012, as NewsBusters reported in July, the network evening newscasts devoted a grand total of 61 seconds to discussing how ObamaCare’s taxes, mandates, and regulations would harm small businesses.

Co-host Mika Brzezinski, visibly irritated with the direction the conversation was going, had been trying to edge into the discussion for some time. Scarborough finally allowed her to chime in, and Brzezinski rushed straight to ObamaCare’s defense, as she has done many times before. In fact, she resorted to the classic, shrill defense often used by the law’s supporters. Turning to Scarborough, she demanded, “Do you think Americans should have access to health care, or are you against that?

Brzezinski’s frustration likely stems from the fact that ObamaCare is losing support among Morning Joe personalities, hardly a conservative bunch. Scarborough, Deutsch, and Ford all understand that the law is likely to hurt small businesses. Brzezinski is one of the few on the show who still defends ObamaCare unconditionally. She is becoming outnumbered on her own show, and it seems to be upsetting her deeply.

Below is a transcript of the segment:


JOE SCARBOROUGH: I have yet to meet one small business owner, Democrat, Independent or Republican over the past four years, and as I say on this show all the time, when I go in and I get a hamburger – ‘How are you doing? How does the Affordable Care Act impact you?’ If I go to somebody selling clothes, if I go to – whoever I go to, I have not spoken to one business owner in four years from the state of Florida to the state of California back to the state of Connecticut that has told me they think it's going to be good for their business. In fact, about 90 percent of them say it's going to be really bad for them.

DONNY DEUTSCH: Some of them don't know how bad it’s going to be, actually.

SCARBOROUGH: That's obviously anecdotal, but you know what I found out on the campaign trail? When you knocked on enough doors and everybody started saying the same thing, you knew you didn't need to take a poll. That was the reality.

HAROLD FORD, JR: I don’t disagree with you. I think we’re seeing now more evidence –

SCARBOROUGH: Does that mean you agree that you also have heard for four years from all business owners that they think this is going to be bad for them, it’s going to be bad for business, it’s going to be bad for the U.S. Don’t be shocked, Mika, it's the reality.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: It's such a sliver of reality.

FORD: It's a function of two things –

SCARBOROUGH: Small business owners? No, that’s huge.

FORD: I hear from business owners of all sizes. You hear from very large business structures to small business structures. I would imagine you hear the same thing, Donny. It speaks to an education deficit about this plan. It speaks to the rollout which was, by any measure, a tough, if not disastrous –

SCARBOROUGH: Wait, wait, wait, I’m sorry, I’ve got to stop you there.

FORD: Premiums are starting to go up for –

SCARBOROUGH: You said it was an education deficit. Are you suggesting small business owners don't know what’s going to happen in their own businesses?

FORD: No. Education deficit about how this plan, how the Affordable Care Act can actually lower costs for them and lower costs for their employees. I would agree with you. In some instances, it may not. And the administration, I think, has done a poor job of  – when I say educating, not educating people about their own business. And finally, premiums are going up for people and people are losing their insurance, and fundamentally, I think that's the biggest political challenge the White House has. I said last week, I thought the trajectory –



SCARBOROUGH: So we have five people around the table. I want to ask, okay, and I – please, just, I need this question answered. Have any of you in five years talked to a small business owner that has said they think this will be good for them or will help their business?

DEUTSCH: I have not heard one that said they think it’s gonna help them.

SCARBOROUGH: Not heard one. And Donny, you’re a Progressive, you’re an Obama supporter, you live in Manhattan, and you hang out with Democrats primarily and a lot of business owners. You haven't talked to one?

DEUTSCH: Not one. And I actually think they don't even know that it’s going to be worse for them.

SCARBOROUGH: Harold, you’re a Democrat.

FORD: I agree with Donny.

SCARBOROUGH: Have you talked to one small business owner in five years that says the Affordable Care Act will be good for their business or even neutral for their business?

FORD: At best it was neutral-hopeful. No, no one thought it would be better or save them in the long run.

BILL KRISTOL: I want to congratulate Harold and his lovely wife for timing their child to appear before December 31 so they could use the obstetrician and doctors and hospital that they had on their previous insurance. And you will not find yourself in the position of millions of Americans of having to deal with some doctor you didn't even know before.

FORD: We’re blessed.

SCARBOROUGH: So I think at this point we need to give three minutes of uninterrupted talk time to Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: No, I’m going to ask you a question that is just as difficult as the question you put to everyone to answer in a way that really doesn't explain it all. Do you think Americans should have access to health care or are you against that?

SCARBOROUGH: Yes. No, that’s very easy.

BRZEZINSKI: How about 26-year-olds being on their parent's coverage? You like that, right?

SCARBOROUGH: I think there are ways to do that.

BRZEZINSKI: And that happens in a lot of our circles here. So my point is, you can ask these leading questions and take people down a road of why something is bad, but it will balance out with the good because nothing as difficult as passing health care in this country is going to go well, smoothly, and be perfect for everyone. The question is should we have it? Should we have it?

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.