A member of the House Freedom Caucus name-dropped the Soviet Union Wednesday while talking about Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., appeared on MSNBC and was asked to acknowledge that the main question surrounding the Senate's version of the American Health Care Act is how many million Americans would lose health insurance coverage under it.
"I don't think it is fair to say," Brat said. "I had my Governor's School genius kids the other day [and asked them] about the CBO score and the 20 million minus coverage. They're quick, so I said, 'imagine the Soviet Union 20 years ago transitioning to a free market. One hundred percent of people under communism couldn't eat any food but they did have healthcare coverage.'"
Mediaite captured video of the clip.
"What happens if you move to a free market system? Everybody in your population loses coverage," Brat continued. "So you lose 100 percent of coverage — that's not good, right? But it's also good if you have a free market system in place where you can finally feed your people, and they are 1,000 percent richer 20 years later. And so that's the truly fair narrative we've got to get out."
Host Craig Melvin then expressed doubt that Brat's argument was applicable to the case of healthcare.
"It is quite applicable. We have to get the price down and the markets working so people can buy insurance again," the lawmaker said. "When I was going to college and when you went to college, you could go out and buy a cheap insurance product. Today, a young person can't do it. Why not? That's the question."
The House Freedom Caucus refused to support the first version of the AHCA in March. Brat said the original bill did not focus on lowering the cost of heath insurance. The bill was then altered and brought up for a floor vote in early May. It passed in that vote and was sent over to the Senate side of the capitol, where it remains.
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