MSNBC's Klein Frets GOP 'Won't Do Anything to Help' Fix ObamaCare, Will Let 'People Get Hurt'

On the Wednesday, July 3, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC analyst Ezra Klein -- also of the Washington Post -- joined host O'Donnell in complaining that congressional Republicans refuse to help the Obama administration make changes to ObamaCare that even the administration has concerns about, with Klein charging that the GOP is trying to let the act fail "no matter how many people get hurt along the way." Klein:

I also don't think it's great that the way we structure legislative process now, we can't make the American health care system any better because Republicans are hoping that on an issue where they have already lost where it is already law they can essentially try to get the law repealed simply by making it work very, very poorly, no matter how many people get hurt along the way.

Both MSNBC personalities let it be known that they disagree with the strategy of requiring employers to provide health insurance as they pined for Republicans to work with President obama to make change without repealing the entire law. O'Donnell lamented:

It used to be that when one side passed a bill that the other didn't want, if a few years down the road, they saw there were problems with it that both sides agreed was a problem, they would work together to try to fix that thing to make it at least better. But you're right, there's no real legislative hope for that kind of good sense these days.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, July 3, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC:

EZRA KLEIN: This is the part of the bill, though, that gets the most dangerous criticism for the Obama administration because one thing it actually does do is because it focuses on this 50-employee cut off, it gives employers who are right around the number 50 a reason to have fewer full-time workers, gives them a reason either not to hire or to cut hours.

And so on the one hand, the reporting, to figure out how many workers they have, and how many of them are full time is complicated, and on the other, the stories coming out of it are very, very bad for them. And so they basically made a decision -- and this is where Limbaugh has a little bit of a point -- that they were just going to not enforce the penalties for a year. And they say that is to streamline the reporting process and make it easier. I think a lot of people think it's for political reasons. Either way, it's not a huge political deal for the bill, but it is a very big political change in the bill because it takes away what Republicans thought was going to be their best weapon against it, which is the stories of employers struggling with the bill and maybe even firing people.

O'DONNELL: Ezra, I know this particular provision is not a favorite of yours in the bill, and it isn't of mine, either, because there are so many ways to manipulate it, including making full-time employees not full-time, which just means 30 hours or less. There's just so many manipulations to get around it. And then there's also the financial possibility that a company would look at this and say, you know what, I would rather pay a fine of $2,000 per employee than actually pay for health insurance for those employees at 5,000 a head, or something like that.

KLEIN: $16,000 a head. The average employer-based plan now is $16,000. And I agree with you, I mean, I don't like this part of the bill. And I think I'm more radical than even maybe you are on this. I don't like employers being involved in health care at all.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, I agree with you.

KLEIN: I don't think they should be forced to offer it. I don't think it should be working this way. Now, what I do think is the case that you need to pick which world you're in. And the world we're moving into here is not a great one because if you're going to keep employers in the center of American health care, then you need to ask them to do something. And, right now, what we're doing for at least a year is we're going to be at the center and we're not asking very much of them.

But in the long run what I would love to see is this get repealed entirely in place of a much better way of doing it or with some kind of more aggressive plan that moves them out. And this is where you get into why the Obama administration did it the way they did it. The Republican party thinks there are all of these things wrong with ObamaCare. What they will not do under any circumstances is improve any of them, even if everybody agrees on what's wrong.

O'DONNELL: Absolutely.

KLEIN: So they want the plan to collapse under things that go wrong within it, so they won't do anything to help it. And so you have situations where the Obama administration, instead of being able to go to Congress and say, okay, you guys didn't like this part of the plan, we don't like it or we don't think it's working that well, let's change it.

The only option they have, and I'm not saying it's a great one, is in this case, they told the IRS simply don't enforce the penalty on these employers for at least one year. I don't think that's a great way to run the railroad. On the other hand, I also don't think it's great that the way we structure legislative process now, we can't make the American health care system any better because Republicans are hoping that on an issue where they have already lost where it is already law they can essentially try to get the law repealed simply by making it work very, very poorly, no matter how many people get hurt along the way.

O'DONNELL: Yeah, it used to be that when one side passed a bill that the other didn't want, if a few years down the road, they saw there were problems with it that both sides agreed was a problem, they would work together to try to fix that thing to make it at least better. But you're right, there's no real legislative hope for that kind of good sense these days.