Sean Spicer smacks CNN at press briefing
Critics of the mainstream media often claim news reporters exist in a bubble in which they can hear only their own opinions echoed off its walls.
That critique appeared to be reflected in a remark White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made to CNN reporter Jim Acosta at Tuesday’s daily briefing.
During a back and forth on the administration’s attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, Spicer noted Americans are “paying higher and higher premiums” because “government-mandated, government-run healthcare has actually gone amuck.”
Acosta noted, “Medicare is government run,” and charged, “You don’t have senior citizens screaming that they want you to get rid of their Medicare.”
Shot back Spicer, “Yes, they are. I think you need to maybe get outside and talk to some of them because more and more Medicaid recipients — in fact, more and more Medicare recipients aren’t able to get coverage.”
He continued, “It’s one thing to have a card. It’s another thing to walk into a doctor’s office and them to tell you we no longer accept Medicaid anymore. That’s not care.”
Acosta pressed on with a theme echoed more than once by his colleagues: “But the President is okay that there are going to be millions of people who aren’t going to have coverage?”
Spicer explained it was the president’s goal to make affordable healthcare coverage available to everyone, but under Obamacare they are not getting that because, “The costs are going up, the choices are going down, and deductibles are going up.”
But reporters seemed under the impression that Trump had promised to provide universal health care coverage.
One asked, “Can you stand here today and say that the President will keep his promise of insurance for everybody?”
Another asked, “President Trump has said that under his plan there will be insurance for everybody … Is that a promise he can really keep?”
Spicer made the key clarification a number of times that the president’s goal was not to provide government-guaranteed coverage for every American, but to make affordable healthcare available to every American who wants it.
He said Obamacare was doomed to collapse and that doing nothing was not an option.
That meant, “The question is, what can we do instead and what can we replace that with that gives people greater choice and lowers cost?”
In so many words, Spicer also explained the difference between what the president was proposing and universal coverage.
“I think in most cases, of course some people are always going to choose in a free society to not purchase something — I mean, we live in a country of 320 million people — at some point, you can’t force a product or a good down people in a free society.”
Spicer added, “But I think if you can give them a quality product that serves their needs, that they have the time, at a price that they can afford, there’s a greater likelihood under every economic model that that suggests that that will work.”