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HuffPo's Ryan Grim: ObamaCare 2.0 Really A 'Conservative' Plan

Appearing in the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC on Wednesday, Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim claimed that President Obama's latest version of health care reform was actually a conservative approach: "We actually already have a Republican bill, and it's the one that Obama has proposed....It's all about choice. Everything in it is a Republican kind of free market-based idea."

Speaking to anchor David Shuster, Grim continued his bizarre argument: "The idea that this is a Democratic bill, you know, that this is some left-wing plot, some government takeover that they're going to ram through the Senate, is the part that's the problem. This is a very centrist, leaning conservative health care reform bill."

The segment also featured Sally Pipes, author of "Top 10 Myths of American Health Care," who dismantled Grim's assertions: "I disagree with Ryan that this is a conservative blueprint that the President has put forward. It's very much not what the Republicans are talking about in terms of changing the tax code, portability, reducing mandates. What this is about is getting government more involved in our health care industry."

She later cited some of the liberal provisions of the plan: "When you introduce a mandate on individuals, when you say that people pay fines if they don't have insurance, if you have these - an excise tax on Cadillac plans, which is just a gift to the unions by putting it up until 2018 and saying that you're exempt if you're a family with $27,500. So it is not a conservative Republican plan."

Here is a transcript of a portion of the segment:

3:42PM

RYAN GRIM [HUFFINGTON POST]: But more broadly, on this bill, we actually already have a Republican bill, and it's the one that Obama has proposed. Almost all of the ideas in this, even though not a single Republican in Congress now supports it, came originally from Republicans. As he said, it preserves the private insurance industry. It's all about choice. Everything in it is a Republican kind of free market-based idea. And the idea that you can't get a single Republican-

DAVID SHUSTER: But Ryan, what about the argument, though, that this is just for show? That everybody knows where the Republicans stand, everybody knows where the White House - the Democrats stand. That this is simply a political effort by the White House to make the case - the next case that'll be made - for reconciliation, so they can say 'Aha! Republicans didn't help us. Now it's time to do this with 51 votes.'

GRIM: Yeah, I think that's probably right. But the idea that this is a Democratic bill, you know, that this is some left-wing plot, some government takeover that they're going to ram through the Senate, is the part that's the problem. This is a very centrist, leaning conservative health care reform bill. So - so the attempt to set it up as this government takeover really misses the point. But I think you're right, that the Thursday thing is going to be exactly what you said.

SHUSTER: Sally, I want to give you an opportunity, because a lot of people may be confused when they hear that your book argues against government involvement in health care. A lot of people would say, well, wait a second, the government is already involved in running Medicare, which is essentially a single-payer system, veterans care is a single-payer system. So what's the difference?

SALLY PIPES [AUTHOR, "TOP 10 MYTHS OF AMERICAN HEALTH CARE"]: Well, I disagree with Ryan that this is a conservative blueprint that the President has put forward. It's very much not what the Republicans are talking about in terms of changing the tax code, portability, reducing mandates. What this is about is getting government more involved in our health care industry. Today, 50% of health care is in the hands of government through Medicare, Medicaid, S-CHIP, and the VA.

And the President, in his speech on September 9th, said, you know, 'I want a $900 billion health care plan over ten years to be deficit neutral.' And then he made the point that, you know, one of the ways would be cutting out fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid by $450 billion. I mean to me, you know, they should be getting rid of fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid first. But when you - when you introduce a mandate on individuals, when you say that people pay fines if they don't have insurance, if you have these - an excise tax on Cadillac plans, which is just a gift to the unions by putting it up til 2018 and saying that you're exempt if you're a family with $27,500. So it is not a conservative Republican plan.

SHUSTER: It's not exactly an excise tax, in terms - it's not exactly a gift to the unions in terms of what the final compromise is. But that's a debate for another story, for another day. Ryan grim and Sally Pipes, thank you both so much for coming in - on today and being part of the showdown. We appreciate it.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.