Rep. Bill Cassidy Just Unveiled the Republican “Newspeak” Response to Health Care

I’m off to a late start this morning, in part due to the heat that robbed me of restful sleep. And I’m not really sure my mind is rested enough to untangle the new GOP response to the health care law. I’ve rewound the DVR 3 times in an effort to understand Louisiana Representative Bill Cassidy.

Appearing on the Thomas Roberts show, Cassidy explained that the problem with the health care system is the high cost of health care. Cassidy never provided any guidance on how to do this and Roberts pointed out that the Massachusetts plan, implemented by Mitt Romney and forming the basis of the Affordable Care Act, has reduced the cost of health care in the state. And this is when the interview becomes surreal.

Cassidy explained that, in fact, health insurance premiums in Massachusetts have “skyrocketed.” A befuddled Roberts (literally, the look on his face was priceless) attempted to refute this by pointing out that this claim is, you know, a complete lie. Cassidy continued by referring to Kaiser Family Foundation statistic stating that Massachusetts has the highest insurance premiums in the country. This statistic is of little relevance because the fact that Massachusetts has high premiums has no bearing on whether costs have gone up or down. Indeed, insurance costs have dropped around 40% in Massachusetts since the introduction of “Romneycare.” Massachusetts may have expensive health insurance, but the impact of this law has been to improve costs. As Roberts politely cited the facts, Cassidy declined to engage and merely offered, “that’s not true” and began repeating his lie.

It was all very 1984. Up was down, down was up, and we were meant to accept this without interrogation.

Roberts then confronted Cassidy with the fact that this law was the go-to Republican solution to health care until Barack Obama decided to adopt the plan. Cassidy did not waver and argued that Mitt Romney wanted to veto parts of the Massachusetts plan — though notably not the individual mandate provision, which is the only relevant provision to this discussion.

I’ve been waiting to see how Republicans would address the problem of their standard-bearer being tied to this health care law and its subsequent success in Massachusetts. And now we know that it’s through volume — loudly proclaiming that the law was a failure beyond Romney’s control and drowning out all contrary evidence.

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