Hatch gets a second bite at the apple

HATCH GETS A SECOND BITE AT THE APPLE…. Last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” and raised a number of arguments that proved Hatch doesn’t understand health care reform. He argued, for example, that reform would force “up to 119 million people into Medicaid,” which isn’t even remotely accurate. He added that members of an Independent Medicare Advisory Council will determine “what kind of health care you’re going to have,” which is just crazy.

Seven days later, “Meet the Press” decided to reward Hatch for his performance by having him address health care again. This time, he argued that the Congressional Budget Office concluded that “tens of millions of people” would lose their private insurance, go with the public option, and “destroy the private health industry.”

David Gregory, to his credit, had his facts straight and intervened. “Well, wait a minute, Senator Hatch, that’s not right. The Congressional Budget Office did not say that…. The CBO said that, in fact, those enrolled in private insurance plans would go up by three million, and they estimate that about 10 million people, only 10 million people go into a public plan. ‘Tens of millions,’ that’s different than 10 million.”

Hatch, undeterred by reality, responded, “Well, that’s plenty. Others are saying up to 119 million people.”

The “119 million” number is the same bogus claim Hatch repeated last week, which is still completely wrong.

And that’s what brings me back to the thought I always have when I see interviews like these. Hatch appeared on “This Week” and made claims about health care reform that weren’t true. Seven days later, he appeared on “Meet the Press” and made claims about health care reform that weren’t true, some of which were debunked on the air during last week’s appearance.

Will Hatch’s misstatements of fact discourage producers from booking him again in the future? Of course not; that isn’t how the game is played. It’s why Hatch doesn’t feel the need to tell the truth — the falsehoods serve his agenda, and he’ll get invited back onto the air whether he’s honest or not.