Montel Williams appeared on CNN’s Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin to discuss his recent USA Today article attacking Republican plans to repeal ObamaCare, the former talk show host accused congressional Republicans of not caring about their own family members and of supporting a plan that would send their relatives and 140 million other Americans to “death.”
After recalling that, by the year 2020, 140 million Americans would be suffering from chronic illnesses, he added: “They are going to be looking for somebody to give them medication and health care. And what this bill does is sends them all to death.” A bit later he further charged that congressional Republicans do not care about their own relatives: “This Congress is the richest Congress we’ve ever had in history. They can afford premium health care. They don’t care about even their own family members — their cousins, their aunts or uncles or nieces who they all know have just been sentenced to death.”
Williams — who endorsed Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich for President last year — even turned on him for expressing a willingness to phase in Republican reforms on Medicaid over seven years. Williams: “Governor Kasich along with every other member of Congress have family members right now who are ill. And they need to look those family members in the face and say, ‘Darling, I love you, but fend for yourself because we’re not going to help you.'”
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Friday, June 23, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:
(Montel Williams begins by recalling that his insurance company recently wanted him to find a less expensive medication to treat his Multiple Sclerosis even though he does not know of any.)
MONTEL WILLIAMS: And that’s the reason I’m so angry about this ridiculously stupid piece of legislation that is honestly nothing more than a tax cut and a political agenda disguised as a health care bill because if they were really putting together a health care bill, the first thing we would do is to stop talking about this as if it’s just a piece of paper. Right now, Brooke, in America today — anybody watching us can look this up — there are over 125 million of the 312 million Americans who right now suffer from a chronic illness. Out of that 125 million, 70 percent of them suffer from two. Now, these are real numbers. Forget all of the garbage that you’re hearing about in this debate. These are real numbers.
This 125 million people as of today will be as high as 140 million by 2020. And in 2020, they are going to be looking for somebody to give them medication and health care. And what this bill does is sends them all to death. (Brooke Baldwin visibly winces.) So we can talk about things and use these obscure things. Let’s talk about the numbers. Right now, Brooke, I mean, it’s ridiculous to think —
BROOKE BALDWIN: I know —
WILLIAMS: Go ahead.
BALDWIN: I know it’s the numbers, but it’s also the faces — and I know you’re getting worked up — I know you’re really passionate about this. But when we really hammer in on Medicaid, for example, and as I said, lower income and a lot of the elderly in this country like totally rely on it, and a point that you make in your piece — which is a point I think you’e made before — is when you think about the folks who really believe in Donald Trump who helped put him in, you know, the Oval Office, those are the folks who will really be hurt by this.
WILLIAMS: They will be, so here’s what I suggest. I got the easiest fix, Brooke. I’m telling you right now — for the American health care bill. Here’s what we ought to do. The Senate and the Congress and let’s also include the President of the United States and also our Supreme Court justices. Any bill that’s passed for health care, they must sign on to that. That bill must end the amount of money that the public spends on Congress’s health care. So Congress should be forced to take the exact same health care that we the constituents take. If they’re willing to write a health care bill that way and put that in writing that says unequivocally that whatever we give to the American people —
BALDWIN: Is good enough for us.
WILLIAMS: — is what we will have for ourselves, then let’s all back that bill. And I guarantee you, you won’t see it happen because, you know why? Because this Congress is the richest Congress we’ve ever had in history. They can afford premium health care. They don’t care about even their own family members — their cousins, their aunts or uncles or nieces who they all know have just been sentenced to death.
BALDWIN: But what about — I’m looking at you and I remember in all of our conversations when you were on the trail, when you were really — you were loving the Ohio governor, John Kasich. You were like “This is a guy who should be in the White House.”
WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes.
BALDWIN: And even earlier this month, you know, even Governor Kasich said that he, too, was warming to this idea of a slow Medicaid rollback, albeit a bit more gradual. I think he wanted seven years, and this would be something like three. But your response to Governor Kasich, someone you really, really respect?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think the governor needs to understand that, again, we talk about numbers — three years, seven years, let’s roll it back. Let’s look at three years from now, Brooke. It’s 2017 — 2020, there will be 140 million Americans who are going to require advanced forms of health care. And out of that 140 million, 100 million will require it for two different illnesses. Governor Kasich along with every other member of Congress have family members right now who are ill. And they need to look those family members in the face and say, “Darling, I love you, but fend for yourself because we’re not going to help you.
BALDWIN: Meantime, these other Senators who are saying, “Thanks, but no thanks,” they’re saying it doesn’t go far enough. You’ve got people on all different sides of the spectrum. And, Montel, you find me one of these members of Congress who agree with you who will sign up, and we’ll have a big conversation on TV.
WILLIAMS: Guess what, I won’t find one, but we’ll keep working on it.