Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) says President Obama made a "mistake" by pushing for healthcare reform (i.e. “Obamacare”) in 2010 and suggested the White House “back off” after Democrats suffered disastrous losses during the 2010 “Red Wave” midterm elections, the Congressman tells New York magazine.
"I think we paid a terrible price for healthcare," Rep. Frank said.
"I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after [Sen.] Scott Brown [R-Mass.] won [in January 2010], I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform, but certainly not healthcare,” he added.
As for the "mistake," Frank said President Obama and Bill Clinton made the same one:
Then Obama made the same mistake Clinton made. When you try to extend health care to people who don’t have it, people who have it and are on the whole satisfied with it get nervous.
You think Obama overinterpreted his mandate with health care?
The problem with health care is this: Health care is enormously important to people. When you tell them that you’re going to extend health care to people who don’t now have it, they don’t see how you can do that without hurting them. So I think he underestimated, as did Clinton, the sensitivity of people to what they see as an effort to make them share the health care with poor people.
As many Blaze readers remember, Democrats lost 66 House seats during the November “Red Wave” and, as reported earlier on The Blaze, one study directly links those losses to support for the president’s controversial healthcare bill.
"We show that the roll-call effect on vote share was driven by healthcare reform. Democratic incumbents who voted yes performed significantly worse than those who did not," study co-author Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College writes on his blog.
"We then provide simulation evidence suggesting that Democrats would win approximately 25 more seats if those in competitive districts had voted no, which accounts for the gap between the academic forecasts and the observed outcomes," he adds.
But what about Rep. Frank’s comments? Didn’t he vote for the bill?
In a word, yes. However, it should also be noted that while Rep. Frank ultimately voted in favor of “Obamacare,” he was also a supporter of a single-payer health care system.
“I’m for single payer, which I think Medicare has shown is the best system. I will accept as second best a very good public option which, by the way, when the conservatives say will lead to a total public plan, they are conceding our point, namely that people will find that there is a better level of care,” Rep. Frank said during an appearance on MSNBC’s The Ed Show.
But keep in mind that even though he advised the White House to "back off" healthcare and threw his weight behind a single-payer system, this is the same guy who roundly condemned Republican opposition to the bill -- all of which seems a little inconsistent.
For instance, back in March, 2010, Rep. Frank actually compared Republican opponents of "Obamacare" to bullies responsible for teen suicides (via YouTube):
“But you've seen these thuggish tactics that have been employed with encouragement from some, not all obviously, Republican leaders,” Rep. Frank said during a March, 2010 episode of the Rachel Maddow Show.
And that’s a very disappointing, undermining the -- I used to say, Rachel, you know, in Massachusetts, they just passed a very good bill unanimous, Democrats and Republicans, to try and prevent junior high school kids and high school kids from being bullied from the name-calling, et cetera
And that’s going on in a lot of places in the country. We have suicides from young people who have been bullied. What do they see if they watched television over the weekend? Adults doing the same kind of bullying and Republican leaders are cheering on the bullies.
The story has been updated.