LEO chats with John Yarmuth about McConnell, health care, KDP

LEO Weekly spoke with Rep. John Yarmuth this afternoon, fresh off the release of his scathing letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell, rebutting point-by-point every inaccuracy in his Affordable Care Act op-ed recently in the Courier Journal.

We spoke about McConnell’s fibbing, what happens if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, and the enigma that is the Kentucky Democratic Party.

LEO: Has Mitch gotten back to you about that health care debate you offered him?

Yarmuth: Not yet. I’ve got my phone with me at all times. I’m anxiously awaiting his call.

LEO: I guess that’s not happening.

Yarmuth: I would doubt it. I don’t Mitch is ever interested in putting himself in a situation where he can be challenged.

LEO: That was a pretty scathing letter to Mitch. And I actually just went back and checked their website, and Google, and Lexus-Nexis, and to my knowledge, the Kentucky Democratic Party has never once over the last four years criticized Mitch McConnell over anything. And I’m wondering what your opinion is on why that is, and if this hurts the party over the long term if they refuse lay a finger on the 800-pound gorilla in the room?

Yarmuth: Well, I think it does. Again, he for many years has gotten away with an awful lot of this kind of behavior. And I’m just furious because it’s misleading to my constituents. There are 15,000 small businesses in Louisville that could benefit from the Affordable Care Act financially, and only 500 of them have taken advantage of it. And part of that is because these impressions are created that it’s horrible for small businesses, so what possible good could there be in it.

I think the party needs to do more of it. That’s what parties should do, they should be interested in more than just organizing campaigns and raising money.

LEO: If the Affordable Care Act is overturned by the Supreme Court, does this actually make single payer health care more of a possibility?

Yarmuth: I’m one who believes that some form of single payer is inevitable. But I think within a very short period of time, if this law were to be thrown out in its entirety, there would be a clamoring for single payer. And a lot of it would come from businesses. I’ve always been a supporter of a single payer system, essentially Medicare for all. So that actually wouldn’t trouble me at all. I think it would be some years off, but I think overturning the law would accelerate the advent of the single payer system.

LEO: Mitch McConnell was caught in a blatant lie yesterday, saying that his female colleagues in the Senate agreed that women aren’t being attacked by the GOP agenda right now, and there have been a few other sloppy examples lately. Mitch has always been thought of as very skillful in parsing words to his advantage. I’m wondering, is he beginning to lose his touch?

Yarmuth: Well, in relation to the Affordable Care Act, I think this has gone over the line for him. Because usually there’s a closer connection to reality and the truth in what he says, it’s just slightly misleading. But in his op-ed piece, I think he just went over the edge. He was just grossly distorting the facts and misrepresenting them. And I think that careless statement with the women, particularly in light of what Lisa Murkowski and Olympia Snow, yeah, maybe he’s not doing his research.