Barney, Frank: Admits Key Obamacare Clause Before Supreme Court Was 'Mistake'

November 8th, 2014 10:45 AM

Barney Frank lived up to his last name, and might live to regret it in Dem circles. Appearing on this morning's Up with Steve Kornacki, Frank admitted that the key Obamacare clause that the Supreme Court just agreed to consider was a "mistake." The clause on its face limits Obamacare subsidies to people obtaining coverage through state exchanges.  Only 14 states set up exchanges, yet the Obama admin has been granting subsidies to millions of people who got their policies through federal marketplace instead.  

If SCOTUS enforces the literal language of the law, it could well deal a death blow to Obamacare.  Will Cain of The Blaze was quick to highlight Barney's major admission, much to the displeasure of the surly former congressman from Massachusetts. 

Frank didn't retract his admission, but argued that even the Constitution had mistakes and had to be amended, and the Court could interpret the clause in its "context" and rule in favor of the Obama admin's interpretation. 

STEVE KORNACKI:  So, Barney, is this -- do you look at this and say a mistake was made, this particular issue? 

BARNEY FRANK: Yeah. Although I will say this, the Supreme Court just had an argument about a case which said if you destroy a document or any other tangible object you are subject to a penalty. And the prosecution went after a fisherman who destroyed fish and they said you have to read this in context. Yes, it's true, a tangible object, a fish is a tangible object. But you got to read it in context. And so it's not unheard of for them to say we're not just going to look at the literal meaning and again all the Justices mocked the notion, the literal meaning, you got to read it in context. Given that, yeah, I do think that people obviously did not expect there to be the kind of political outcome there was and they did not expect so many states to reject -- 

STEVE KORNACKI: They expected all the states would just go -- 

FRANK: They wrote it not anticipating what was a reality and clearly if they -- if we could rewrite it or they could rewrite it, I'm no there anymore, they would do it.

WILL CAIN: You asked if it's the death of Obamacare. The answer to that question is, do the American people want Obamacare? By the way, I think a fascinating statement he said that is a clearly a mistake and mistakes happen. 

BARNEY FRANK: Can I respond here, by the way? You made a big deal about the fact I said a mistake was made. I think they made mistakes, frankly, in the Constitution. I'm not sure about the Declaration of Independence. In fact, one of the first things they did was to amend the Constitution. Of course mistakes were made in the process. The normal course of events is a comprehensive bill passes and then afterwards you go back and you fix a couple of things. Even if it's not a comprehensive bill. In fact there is a piece of legislation, a form called a technical corrections bill. The problem here was that the Republicans wouldn't go along with that. That was also true by the way with financial reform. There were a couple of things I would like to go back and redo as long as people are at warfare over the whole thing, that doesn't happen. But I don't think I said anything remarkable about saying there was a mistake.

CAIN: The only reason I find that significant is the government will be arguing in opposite, or they will be arguing at the very least, well, you know what we meant. You know what we meant, honestly, isn't good enough.