THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE NEWS AND THE AGENDA…. If you’ve listened at all to congressional Republicans recently, you’ve no doubt heard them talk about one of their top priorities: gut the Affordable Care Act, and take away access to coverage for tens of millions of Americans.

The timing of this absurd push could be better.

Nearly 59 million Americans went without health insurance coverage for at least part of 2010, many of them with conditions or diseases that needed treatment, federal health officials said on Tuesday.

They said 4 million more Americans went without insurance in the first part of 2010 than during the same time in 2008.

“Both adults and kids lost private coverage over the past decade,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news briefing.

It’s against this backdrop that the entirety of the Republican Party wants to destroy the reform laws and go back to the broken system that produced these tragic results.

Indeed, let’s also not forget that as far as congressional Republicans are concerned, the number of uninsured Americans is largely irrelevant. When the House GOP unveiled their alternative reform package — the one that would presumably “replace” the Affordable Care Act, after it’s been “repealed” — it ignored the coverage crisis almost entirely. Getting insurance to those who don’t or can’t have it simply wasn’t a priority.

But looking ahead to 2011, these same Republicans not only want to ignore the plight of families with no insurance, they quite deliberately hope to make the problem worse — even after hearing from the CDC about the nearly 59 million Americans went without health insurance coverage for at least part of 2010.

It’s tempting to think a report like this would make the repeal crusade look equally callous and ridiculous. Regrettably, that’s not the case.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.