MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panel universally ridiculed and criticized changes to the census’ questions on health insurance and Obamacare, calling it “a particularly clumsy effort” to cook the books and mocking the possible pro-Obamacare questions.
Tuesday, the Census Bureau announced a “total revision” to the way questions about health insurance are asked, calling it “coincidental” and “unfortunate timing” that the switch is occurring just as Obamacare comes online.
Even supporters of the law admit the move will make it difficult to accurately measure the health-care law’s effects, and critics claim the move is all about defending Obamacare from political attacks.
“It was not just conservatives who were outraged yesterday,” said MSNBC contributor Willie Geist. “You can tell on Twitter and on Facebook and all these places that are so predictably partisan, when something really rises and it really stinks, when you have progressives yesterday saying, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute, this is ridiculous.'”
“Even if it’s the right decision, why would you do it right now when it raises so many red flags for people?” Geist asked.
Joe Scarborough noted that the White House’s move five years ago to exert greater control over the Census Bureau appears to have finally born political fruit for the Obama administration.
“[Former senator] Judd Gregg, he was going to be Commerce secretary, and I believe the news came out that the Obama adminstration was going to take control of the Census Bureau,” he said. “And that was one of the reasons he decided not to, because he was disappointed, he thought it was a political move.”
“And here we are five years later and my gosh,” Scarborough continued. “It couldn’t look more political.”
“Do we know what the questions are now?” asked MSNBC contributor Mike Barnacle.
“‘Is Obamacare great, or WHAT?'” Scarborough cracked.
“‘Would you prefer to have health insurance or not have health insurance?'” joked BBC America’s Katty Kay.
“White Houses on both sides do their best to cook the books and everything else,” Scarborough explained. “I think this is, Willy, a particularly clumsy effort, and you’re right. Conservatives blasted it for good reason, so did a lot of progressives. They were just embarrassed by how hamfisted the move was.”
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