There is an old adage in Washington that once you’ve given Americans a benefit, it’s really hard to take it away. That was supposed to be a big stumbling block for the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. And yet the bill that passed the House last week would lead to an estimated 24 million more people being uninsured.
That staggering projection has been everywhere in Democratic and public critiques of the House bill — and now Republican senators have to deal with it.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee and therefore one of the top lawmakers involved in the health care debate, isn’t thrilled about that fact — and it sounds like he thinks the public needs to reevaluate what they expect from the federal government.
As he left a meeting in the Capitol of the Senate health care working group, which is trying to craft compromise legislation that can pass the Senate without Democrats, Hatch was asked by a reporter, "How does the public's perception of what the House did affect what you are doing?"
"The public wants every dime they can be given," he said. "Let's face it, once you get them on the dole, they'll take every dime they can. We've got to find some way of getting things under control or this country and your future is going to be gone."
Republicans are already contending with the perception that they are insensitive to the human costs of what their health care plan is projected to do.
This probably isn’t going to help.