Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) received a healthcare policy grilling from MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Obamacare during an interview on Thursday morning.
In the exchange the congressman from Arkansas said Obamacare was passed just “with Democratic votes.”
“No, actually it was a Chuck Grassley Republican amendment,” Todd quickly shot back, referring to Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) amendment that essentially requires members of Congress and their staffs to use the Obamacare exchanges to get health insurance.
“It was drafted by Harry Reid’s staff,” Cotton said in response. “It was designed to ensure Congress had to eat their own cookie and understand what it was like. They have to go in and they realize that the websites are not ready and there is no privacy protections and they have less access to doctors. Democrats are refusing to take back the exemption that the Obamacare gave them. They had a simple choice. They can keep the government open and keep the special deal. That’s not right, Chuck.”
Todd bristled at that too.
“You keep describing it as a special deal,” Todd then said. Cotton has argued that the Obamacare provision that offers healthcare subsidies to members of Congress is against the law.
“It’s a special deal if you did it your way,” Todd continued. “You would be taking away something else that people have, but if you work for the federal government because you work for a politician, you can’t have that deal.”
In response, Cotton said Congress should be able to go into the exchanges like everyone else.
“Chuck, the Obamacare law was clear,” Cotton said. “Congress should go into the exchanges to experience what it’s like to live in the exchanges. If the special deal goes forward, Congress will be the only people in America come January one who have an employer contribution to the health insurance. The staffers have access any way. Do they make less than 400 percent of the poverty line? If they make more than that, they have to bear the full cost of healing insurance.”
Todd was puzzled at that response as well.
“You think think the federal government should dump everyone into exchanges? That’s what you are saying. They have employer-based healthcare systems,” Todd said in response “They have an employer-based benefit. The point is for people that did not have health care benefits.”