10:00 am ET
A good Morning Joe discussion on Mitt Romney’s answer on 60 Minutes on emergency-room care and why his reply was so telling.
Watch the video above.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Over the past few weeks, Joe has pointed out, just very gently pointed out, that the Romney campaign needs to get more bold and specific with Mitt Romney’s policies. Yesterday, on 60 Minutes, Romney’s lack of specifics may have tripped him up on the question of universal health care.
[BEGIN 60 MINUTES VIDEO CLIP]
SCOTT PELLEY: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we — if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.
SCOTT PELLEY: That’s the most expensive way to do it.
MITT ROMNEY: Well, the —
SCOTT PELLEY: In the emergency room.
MITT ROMNEY: Different, again, different states have different ways of doing that.
[END 60 MINUTES CLIP. BEGIN MORNING JOE CLIP]
MIKE BARNICLE: Do you believe in universal coverage?
MITT ROMNEY: Oh, sure. Look, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care, for which they have no responsibility. Particularly if they’re people who have sufficient means to pay their own way.
[END MORNING JOE CLIP]
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Oh, wait a minute. I’m confused.
MIKE BARNICLE: That’s astounding.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Wait a minute.
MIKE BARNICLE: On this issue, where he talks about emergency rooms. Spend an hour in an emergency room on a Friday or a Saturday night in Baltimore or any big city. The costs are astronomical. The emergency room eventually becomes the doctor, the primary care physician, for poor people. And the cost is astronomical.
MICHAEL STEELE: And the states have a real problem because they bear a lot of that cost, which is, you know, some of the realities that, as a governor, he would know.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Mark, does that clip show two Mitts, two different Mitt Romneys?
MARK HALPERIN: It shows just how tied in knots he is and how afraid of making a mistake. This is an issue he knows really well. Any governor knows emergency-room care is the stupidest possible way to provide care to people, and Mitt Romney is so afraid, even on an issue he knows extraordinarily well but one that’s been politically troublesome for him, to say what he really thinks because he doesn’t want to make a mistake. He never can win if he’s tied in knots on something that close to his heart and that he knows so well.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I’m in pain. I mean, that was painful to watch. What would someone from the campaign — what would Mitt Romney say if we showed him those two clips, Michael Steele? O.K., help me out here. You take on the campaign and speak for the campaign. I’m showing you those two clips: Mitt then, Mitt now. What? Who’s Mitt?
MICHAEL STEELE: I think it goes to the core of the frustration that a lot of folks have out here in the country. It’s not about the party anymore. It’s not about anything other than, Just tell us how you get us through. How do you resolve what you did as governor on the issue of health care with what we need right now and the fact that you are saying two different things? I don’t know.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Maybe it can’t be resolved.
MICHAEL STEELE: Well, it can be. I think the reality of it is, Just state, you know, as a governor of the state, this is not how we fund health care, through our emergency rooms. And that we took bold steps that worked in Massachusetts, may not work nationally. We do have a prescription, and this is what it is.