NOW with Alex Wagner | July 10, 2012
>>> we are resolved to have this law go away and we're going to do everything we can to stop it.
>> the president's law as it relates to health care is harming not only the health of the american people but the health of our economy.
>> this is nothing short of economic malpractice.
>> cue the health care puns. republicans house began a floor debate over the act, h.r. 6079. will ow's scheduled vote be the 31st attempt to repeal or dismantle the affordable care act . if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try. you get the point. but whatever happens, we know the ultimate outcome. the white house issued a statement yesterday saying the last thing the congress should do is refight old political battles and take a massive step backwards by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class . if the president were presented with h.r. 6079, he would veto it. joan, the notion that congress is going to repeal this seems to be sort of a figment of republican imaginations but certainly on the state level, there is real action being taken by governors to say we are opting out of the medicaid provision, we are not expanding the rolls. i do want to play some sound from republican governors discussing the affordable care act . rick perry said i will not be party to socializing health care and bankrupting my state and then went on to say this.
>> the bottom line here is that medicaid is a failed program. to expand this program is not unlike adding 1,000 people to the titanic.
>> governor lepage went on to compare the affordable care act to the gestapo, if we could play that for our viewing audience.
>> this decision has made america less free. we the people have been told there is no choice. you must buy health insurance or pay the new gestapo, the irs.
>> it's worth noting that the governor later apologized saying it clouded his message.
>> that's a good reason to apologize.
>> he said it was not his intention to insult anyone, especially the jewish community or minimize the fact that millions of people were murdered. nonetheless, the idea, the line of attack is so sharp from the right, you were talking about millions of people that are not going to get health insurance .
>> yet there's been -- a, what do you make of that language but b, where is the response from the left?
>> well, the language is disgusting, obviously, alex, but the real issue here is that we've got a system where we've got the republicans in the house and the senate doing what they can to block president obama . they've declared that as their basic intent , their purpose in life is to defeat him. okay, we know that. but you also now have a situation where you've got these red state governors who are kind of nullifying the affordable care act . they are turning down money from the federal government . they are -- it will be 100% paid for for i think the first three years. they're turning this down. texas already has. i think the highest rate of uninsured people are in texas. the answer from the left, i don't have an answer. people aren't in the streets protesting a lot of things they should be protesting but this is a situation where these are poor working poor people, they are busy. this is something they haven't gotten yet so it's not exactly being taken away from them.
>> i just feel the pendulum has swung so far in the wrong direction in terms of the debate over this. we are talking about the governors that have said they're opting out of this, they have 29% of the total americans without health insurance in this country. the idea that not only are they not apologizing for this decision, but that they feel like they can sort of go out like yosemite sam with guns blazing and say this is equivalent to the titanic or the gestapo is shocking.
>> it really is. i think we should say it simply. people are going to die because rick perry wants to run for president again or governors want to pander to the tea party . that's what's going to happen here. you have very poor people who are not going to get health insurance because of what they're doing. so i think the debate needs to be framed a little more simply which is this is the consequence. it really is life or death here. i think some of these governors , not rick perry but some of them will come around. easy to say it now when the law isn't in effect, before an election. once the hospitals and some of the other parts of the health care industry start lobbying for these provisions, i think some of the more reasonable governors to the extent there are reasonable governors left in the republican party , will come around.
>> ezra klein makes that point, too, which is that sometimes historically, these sort of bigger entitlement programs , social welfare programs, take awhile to get adopted. arizona only in i believe 1982 , being the 50th state to adopt medicaid , 16 years after it was first implemented.
>> politically, even beyond reasonableness, just political, the political calculus at a certain point, unless they decide in these states not to provide health care for poor people , which is possible in some states, it's going to become incumbent upon them to say let's take this federal money temporarily with no strings attached in order to help us balance our budgets and supply health care .
>> that's the one part, though, where i think in the shortcs, you just w ant to look at the politics, i agree from a human standpoint it's disastrous but all the incentives for the republican politicians in the states you showed line up behind refusing this money. this is sort of a piece with rick scott throwing back the railroad money from florida. chris christie turning down the tunnel in new jersey.
>> there's a difference between transportation projects and health insurance insofar as there should be real push-back from whether it's the working poor or advocates for a fairer american social compact .
>> take a red state in the south where the democrats are never going to win in the fall, think about the bottom line for an ambitious politician is the republican primary . if you're the governor and take the money, you are allowing a challenger to come in and say governor x is implementing obama care in this state and you lose your primary.
>> indeed. we will see how that plays out in the next couple months. the deadline is january 1st , 2014 .