Sen. McConnell Defends Repeal Stunt: "Everybody In The Country" Knows This Is A "Washington Takeover"

February 02, 2011 11:46 am ET — Alan Pyke

Appearing on Fox News this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tried to justify today's futile vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the Senate by simultaneously ignoring the facts of the law and misrepresenting public opinion.

Asked why a vote that's destined to fail is worth holding, McConnell claimed that "Everybody in the country understands this is a Washington takeover of our health care." The GOP leader's distortions didn't stop there.

MCCONNELL: Everybody in the country understands that this is a Washington takeover of our health care. They also understand already that none of the things it was supposed to do are coming true. It was supposed to hold premiums down, premiums are going up, it's supposed to hold costs down, cost is going up, the President said if you have a policy you like, you can keep it. That's not happening either. This was a huge mistake, Bill, for our country and we need to fix it. [...] Well, let me explain to you, the CBO can only do what we call score what they are given. They are given ten years to look at. During those ten years, there are ten years of Medicare cuts and tax increases, and only six years of spending. So the numbers were jimmied in order to get the result you just mentioned, and nobody believes that. We don't believe it, the Democrats don't believe it privately. They just picked a ten-year period and jimmied the numbers around to make it look better. This is gonna increase costs exponentially — exponentially — and not only for the government but for individuals.


He could hardly be more wrong.

The Affordable Care Act relies on market mechanisms to achieve its goals of expanding access to health care and preventing the uninsured from driving costs up for the rest of us. Nonpartisan fact checkers at named the "government takeover" talking point the 2010 "Lie of the Year" in part because the law actually "relies largely on the free market." (They also explained that the "takeover" meme comes straight from conservative "word doctor" Frank Luntz, whose talking points recommendations are like gospel to pull-string politicians like McConnell.)

McConnell's claim that the bill will "increase costs exponentially — exponentially" just isn't true. His claim that the CBO score of the law is "jimmied" doesn't hold water either. The GOP leader went on to suggest that malpractice insurance is the real driver of cost growth, which is a vast exaggeration. But McConnell apparently doesn't care for factual argument.

When the data doesn't support your position, you can either modify your thinking to reflect the facts, or restate your unsupported argument forcefully and hope no one notices you don't have any evidence. Put another way, you can react like a thoughtful adult or like a stubborn bully.