Barrasso, the 4th ranking Senate Republican, mocked the Obama administration for holding an event at the White House this week to cheer new healthcare enrollment figures at a time when the law remains mostly unpopular nationally. "It's time for the White House to stop celebrating and start thinking about the people," Barrasso said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
For those hoping to see the Affordable Care Act succeed, recent developments have been amazing. "Obamacare" is working better than expected on practically every front, from increased enrollments to lower costs, from expanded coverage to increased competition. Even the most knee-jerk, far-right ideologue has very little to complain about.
But that won't stop them from trying.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), for example, called the ACA a "monstrosity" the other day, insisting, "[T]he greatest job suppressor in the so-called recovery that we've gone through is Obamacare."
In reality, there is literally no evidence to suggest the reform law is suppressing job growth. On the contrary, 2014 was the first full year for ACA implementation and it was the best year for U.S. job creation since the 1990s. Or put another way, after "Obamacare" took effect, America created more jobs than any year in which Bush's brother or father was president.
But Jeb's argument was almost coherent compared to Sen. John Barrasso's (R-Wyo.) latest ACA criticisms.
I generally find Barrasso's health care arguments odd, but if The Hill quoted him properly, this latest offensive is genuinely bizarre. When the White House "celebrates" millions of Americans gaining access to affordable medical care, they are, in reality, "thinking about the people." That's the point. They're cheering good news for actual people.
The far-right senator reportedly added, "The Obama administration and every Democrat who voted for it should be embarrassed for it."
Embarrassed by success?
Barrasso's rhetoric on the ACA has been strange for quite a while. After learning about lower premiums, the Wyoming Republican complained about the ACA increasing premiums. After learning about great enrollment totals, Barrasso, without proof, accused the administration of fraud.
But what's striking about this latest broadside is Barrasso's reluctance to deal with the facts as they exist. Instead of refuting the ACA's recent successes, the Senate Republican leader simply ignores them, as if the good news didn't happen at all.
The Hill's report concluded, "Barrasso is leading the Senate's working group to create an ObamaCare alternative."
I can't wait to see it, though I have a strong hunch the alternative will remain imaginary.