During Wednesday night's edition of CNN's Piers Morgan Live program, the liberal host and a conservative Republican congresswoman teamed up to put pressure on Democratic representative Frank Pallone to defend president Barack Obama's repeated promise that people could keep their own physician and insurance plan if they chose to be part of ObamaCare.
“When the president repeatedly stood up and told the American people, if you want to keep your doctor or your plan, you can do that, with no qualifications to it, none of this, ‘If it’s not quite good enough and it gets changed,’ but just boldly telling people, if you want to keep your doctor or your plan, you can,” Morgan said. “That was just a lie, wasn’t it? A complete and utter falsehood.”
“Of course it was not a lie, Piers,” the New Jersey Democrat asserted. “Just to the contrary. If insurance companies want to continue to offer lousy plans that don't have good coverage and cost a lot of money to the taxpayer or the insured, they can.”
However, Pallone never pointed out that in order to keep the same policies, insurance companies can never raise their rates. Even a dollar-per-month rise would wipe out inclusion in the “grandfather clause.”
“We're offering a good insurance policy at an affordable price,” he continued before stating that once people sign up for ObamaCare, the insurance companies will be unable to sell their “substandard” policies.
While the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Health tried to defend the Affordable Care Act, the other guest -- GOP representative Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee -- shook her head in another section of the screen and muttered “No, they can’t” keep their doctors and insurance plans.
The CNN host then interrupted Pallone: “So why didn’t the president just say that rather than making this bold promise to sell his plan? Why didn’t he just be honest?”
Pallone replied: “We have to look at this from a practical point of view,” which led Morgan to ask angrily: “What about telling the truth? What about telling the American people the truth?”
After that, Blackburn – who usually clashes with Morgan when she's a guest on his show -- joined the liberal host in slamming the Affordable Care Act:
What we know is that their numbers don’t work, and individuals have been able to buy insurance or employers able to offer insurance that suited the needs of families, and they have been pleased with their insurance, and to be so insulting to people to say, “Oh, the insurance you’ve had was a scam.”
The president should never have gone out and said that and continued to say it.
The only time during the segment Morgan actually criticized Blackburn was when he said that the GOP may look “silly” next year if the mess gets fixed and the program becomes wildly popular. Her response: “You never look silly when you’re defending the American people and their pocketbook.”
Earlier in the interview, Morgan called the ObamaCare website launch on October 1 a “complete, unmitigated fiasco” and asked if the law is working so well, “Why is everyone from the president to Secretary Sebelius to Joe Biden apologizing to the American people?”
Pallone insisted that the law is doing just fine aside from website issues.
Interestingly, during the same hour Pallone's clash with Morgan and Blackburn was airing on CNN, the Democratic ObamaCare defender was appearing as a guest of Megyn Kelly in the Fox News Channel's new program, The Kelly File.
While it was a different program, Pallone used the same tactic of complaining that insurance companies sell “lousy plans at a high price that are skeletal and don't provide any benefits.”
That repeated charge led Kelly to ask: “Why do you get to decide what's lousy?”
Back on CNN, Morgan ended his interview by telling Pallone: “If you move the goal posts any further, they’ll literally be off the field.”
“We'll continue this debate, I'm sure, as the excuses get ever more ludicrous,” Morgan concluded.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Pallone isn't the only liberal Democrat to blame insurance companies for the weak start of the Affordable Care Act. Among them are MSNBC's Thomas Roberts and MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe.
The rapidly diminishing support for ObamaCare -- even among liberal Democrats -- is a sign that the president's signature legislation is in jeopardy. We can only hope that a year from now, voters in the mid-term election will remember Obama's lie when they go to the polls.