During an interview on CNN on Thursday, Republican Rep. Joe Barton admitted that he didn’t “know everything” about the GOP’s new health bill, but will still vote for it because there is a “probability” that it might work.
Host John Berman explained to Barton that the Republican’s bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare would give states the option to get a waiver that eliminates rights for anybody with a pre-existing condition.
“I think Texas will lead the parade [on requesting waivers,” Barton said. “But when you opt out of the federal mandates, that doesn’t mean you’re opting out of providing quality care for those that cannot get it through their workplace. So, you know, you either believe in government or you believe in markets.”
Co-host Poppy Harlow pointed out that when it comes to health care there is a big gap between affordability and availability. She also said that even though the new bill offers funds for so-called high risk pools, “it is not nearly enough money to make it affordable for folks who have pre-existing conditions.”
Barton then claimed that if states followed Maine’s example, they could lower the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.
“Actually what the state of Maine did,” Harlow replied, “is they assessed everyone. They put a tax on everyone of $4 a month to pay for that. That was their funding mechanism. Are you willing to support a tax to do that, to put more money in these pools for high risk individuals, those with pre-existing conditions?”
“You’re saying Maine works so this will work,” she continued. “And I’m telling our viewers, Maine worked because of the tax. Are you willing to support a tax?”
“I don’t know all there is to know about the Maine plan,” Barton laughed. “But I do know that markets will work.”
“How do you know it will be better?” Berman asked. “How do you know their rates won’t go up? And how do you know how much it will cost if there’s no [Congressional Budget Office] score?”
“I know that Obamacare is failing,” Barton insisted.
“But that’s a different question,” the CNN host observed. “How do you know this will work or what the predictions can be without a CBO score?”
Barton said. “I’m thinking there is a reasonable expectation, there is a probability that this will be better than all the mandates that we had under Obamacare.”