Republicans like California’s Reps. Steve Knight (Palmdale) and Mimi Walters (Irvine) regularly ignore the will of constituents when they voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. One of their Republican colleagues recently put words to what those votes mean.
Retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) revealed his shocking contempt for the American people at a meeting of the corporate-backed American Enterprise Institute to discuss the supposedly beneficial effects of the GOP tax bill.
“We also finally did away with the individual mandate tax that was established under that wonderful bill called Obamacare,” Hatch said. “Now, if you didn’t catch on, I was being very sarcastic. That was the stupidest, dumbass bill that I’ve ever seen.”
“Now, some of you may have loved it,” he added, to the general laughter of his right-wing audience. “If you do, you are one of the stupidest, dumbass people I’ve ever met.”
As of March, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that 54 percent of Americans support the ACA.
In California, support for the ACA is even higher. An IGS poll from last summer showed “supporters of the ACA now outnumber opponents in California by a greater than two-to-one margin, 65% to 26%, with 45% supporting it strongly.”
Further, the ACA helped dramatically reduce the rate of uninsured Californians. “The share of Californians with no health insurance dropped nearly 10 percentage points, hitting a historic low of 7.3 percent in 2016, compared with about 17 percent in the years prior to 2014,” according to PPIC.
Both Knight and Walters voted for provisions in the tax bill that will roll back the ACA, which turns out to have multiple negative consequences for Californians.
It is not a terrible surprise that Hatch feels this way about the people of this country, given that he was an enthusiastic supporter of ramming through both Obamacare repeal and a massively unpopular package of tax cuts for billionaires with no input from the opposing party or the public.
Sadly, Hatch’s disparagement of more than half of Americans is not surprising. All of those years after he helped to craft children’s health insurance with Ted Kennedy — an accomplishment he very nearly threw away to pass his tax cuts — he has truly come to feel contempt for people who want to all Americans to be able to access medical coverage.
A recent analysis shows support for the tax bill “will doom Republicans” come November. Incumbents like Knight and Walters, who are running for re-election, should be worried. Hatch, however, announced he will not seek re-election.
What a disgraceful way to end to a Senate career.
Update: Hatch’s office eventually released an apology after his remarks became public.