September 29, 2013
Guests: Chris Lillis, Carmen Wong Ulrich, Igor Volsky, Jay Angoff, Cristina Beltran, Seema Iyer, Deon Haywood, Faith Gay, Chris Nee
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: Now, late last night, House
Republicans took us another step closer to a government shutdown by voting
for a one-year delay of the law. But that`s not going to happen. The
heart and soul of Obamacare launches this Tuesday, October 1st.
Now, perhaps the GOP just doesn`t understand, after all, there is a lot
that you need to know. So let`s go to the phones.
Eric, who is our first caller?
ERIC: Melissa, our first caller is Jim from Oklahoma. Caller, you`re on
JIM, CALLER, OKLAHOMA: I think it`s really important and don`t you agree,
that people of this country have to know what this is really all about.
This is socialized Medicine. Now, a lot of them didn`t believe that.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, there is a reason a lot of them didn`t believe that.
It is not socialized Medicine. Health care will continue to be
administered by the private sector and paid for by private insurers.
Actually, the real goal of Obamacare is to expand health insurance to some
of the 48 million people. That`s 16 percent of the country who do not have
So first, let`s back up and talk about how insurance works. Pre-Obamacare,
if you don`t have insurance through an employer, then you have to buy your
own policy, and that really sucks, especially if you`re sick or have
anything that an insurance company could call a pre-existing condition,
like asthma or depression or, for example, being a woman. Because
insurance companies can charge you much higher rates for coverage or deny
to cover you at all.
So that`s how it works now, but after Obamacare kicks in, insurance
companies will have to take you no matter what. And they can`t charge you
more based on your Medical history, your sex, and they must provide a
minimum package of benefits, including preventative care.
Now, how can you sign up? Well, starting on Tuesday, Obamacare`s insurance
exchanges will open, and the exchanges, also known as marketplaces, are
heavily regulated websites, where you can compare plans based on price and
benefits and apply for federal subsidies. Your coverage will start January
Eric, put the next caller on the line.
ERIC: On the line we have Marco from Florida.
Marco, you`re on the air.
MARCO, CALLER, FLORIDA: The very people that this bill is supposed to be
helping, the working class, the middle class, the people that are trying to
get ahead are the people that it`s directly hurting.
HARRIS-PERRY: Marco, not so. Remember the subsidies that I mentioned? If
you make up to a certain amount of income, the federal government will pay
for all or part of your premiums when you buy insurance on the exchanges.
People making up to four times the poverty line, that`s about $46,000 for a
single individual or $94,000 for a family of four, they`re eligible for
those subsidies. So Obamacare will help those people. The people who
couldn`t afford insurance before.
How about the next caller, Eric?
ERIC: Melissa, you`re talking to Ted from Texas. Caller?
TED, CALLER, TEXAS: Are millions of Americans seeing their health
insurance premiums skyrocket? Yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: No, Ted. OK, this one needs some explanation. Insurance
premiums will likely go up for some young people in the individual market,
especially those who had previously just had very minimal coverage. But
premiums will also, if everything goes well, go down for the people who
need it most. For the sick who struggle to afford coverage before, and
overall, premiums are not expected to increase.
Now, the thing is, the exchanges need the healthy people to sign up in
order to cover the sick people for an affordable premium. In essence, the
healthy policy holders subsidize the sick. And that`s why Obamacare
requires you to have health insurance. The only way this works is if lots
of people, especially healthy people, get insurance. And if you don`t,
then you have to pay a fine.
Who`s next, Eric?
ERIC: Melissa, we still have Ted.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ted is still talking?! Go ahead.
TED: Are millions of Americans at risk of losing their health insurance
because of Obamacare? Yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: No! Again, millions of people will gain health insurance
under Obamacare. An estimated 25 million through the exchanges and up to
17 million through expanded Medicaid. Yes, let`s not forget Medicaid. If
you make less than 133 percent of the poverty line, about 15,000 for a
single person and 31,000 for a family of four, you can now sign up for
Medicaid. That`s a huge expansion from current state laws, most of which
offer no coverage for adults who don`t have children.
Many also have severe limits on which parents are eligible for Medicaid,
even if their kids are covered. In Arkansas, for example, you can only get
coverage if you make less than 16 percent of the poverty line, less than
$4,000 a year in a family of four. About half the states are taking up the
Medicaid expansion. The other half, largely red states, say they will not
expand Medicaid. That will leave millions that could have been insured
under ACA in states like Texas out.
Ted, that`s where a quarter of the population is uninsured. But states can
choose to opt into the expansion and the federal funding that comes with it
at any time, once they come to their senses.
OK, Eric, we have time for just one more caller.
ERIC: Melissa, we have the president on the line.
HARRIS-PERRY: What? Really? Well, Mr. President, you`re on the air.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Affordable Care Act is
here to stay!
HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, well, you heard it from the source, folks, this is going
Joining me now, Jay Angoff, the man who until recently was inside the Obama
administration and responsible for the implementation of the president`s
health care law. Carmen Wong Ulrich, host of "Marketplace Money" on
American public media, Igor Volsky of thinkprogress.org, and Dr. Chris
Lillis, a primary care physician in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and a member
of Doctors for America.
Thanks to all for being here for being here.
CARMEN WONG ULRICH, HOST, MARKETPLACE MONEY: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: And we are putting up with the silliness of my fake radio
So I`m attempting to debunk at least some of the myths we have heard coming
from not just Americans in general, but specifically from our policy
makers. But help me to debunk a few more. And start with this one. Are
there death panels that are part of the Affordable Care Act?
IGOR VOLSKY, THINKPROGRESS.ORG: No. No, that`s an easy one.
HARRIS-PERRY: Where does that come from?
VOLSKY: Well, that comes from this board that goes into effect if costs go
past a certain threshold. Now, the good news is, is that since the
Affordable Care Act has become law, we have seen costs actually come down.
The trend, the overall trend is probably going to be below the threshold
for the board. So the CBO, the congressional budget office is now
estimating that the board is probably not even going to kick in, in the
first ten years. But all it does, if costs are beyond a certain level,
then a group of experts, doctors, consumer advocates, economists get
together and decide, where can we cut back? What kind of changes can we
make? It won`t affect beneficiaries, but it will affect maybe
reimbursements, how certain doctors are paid. And that`s really a holistic
way to control costs so they don`t get out of control.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Carmen, in part related to this, is the true that small
businesses hate Obamacare, hate the Affordable Care Act, and in fact, will
be harmed by implementation of the Affordable Care Act?
ULRICH: Probably not. Probably not at all because there are going to be
some subsidies, of course, to help them pay for that. And you have to
think about what`s really deadly here. What`s really deadly, even for your
workforce, if you`re a small business, is to not have insurance. I`ll tell
you a very quick tale of two sisters.
In their 50s, both diagnosed with colon cancer. One sister had health
insurance. She is alive. The other one did not and she did not tell
anyone and didn`t have it and she`s dead. And that`s my mother.
So, that is the real truth. If she were here in 2014, I would put push her
to healthcare.gov which is (INAUDIBLE) and get her insurance and get the
coverage in the marketplace where her preventative care would have been
So instead she lived two years on experimental trials. She had a huge
hospital bill, but all of this could have been prevented if she just had
coverage, which for her, because she earned so little, would have been less
than $100 a month.
HARRIS-PERRY: The idea that it saves people`s lives --
ULRICH: It would have saved my mother`s life. Her sister, my aunt, is
alive today because of this. And I wrote about this today in "Huff Post."
If this is how important it is because while there is a battle going on,
while there is all this posturing and drinking and fighting, these are real
people`s lives we are talking about here and this is the important point
here. They need coverage.
HARRIS-PERRY: And Doctor, I want to follow up in part on this. Because
one of the other sort of great myths out there is what the Affordable Care
Act does is to put the government, the federal government, in particular,
between patients and their doctors, making it harder to see your doctor,
making it harder for your doctor to prescribe Medications and to diagnose.
Is that true about what the Affordable Care Act does?
DOCTOR CHRIS LILLIS, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN, FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA: No.
It`s really not true at all, in my daily practice. I`m able make decisions
for my patients that I feel are right for them from a Medical standpoint.
I think it`s incumbent on the physician community to make sure we`re doing
the right things for our patients. So cost-effective care, care that`s
coordinated with other physicians to improve outcomes is critical. But,
no, I don`t ever have to wrangle with Medicare to determine what`s right
for my patients.
HARRIS-PERRY: Jay, let me ask you this. Is it true that the
administration bungled telling people what the Affordable Care Act is
about? Because part of what I find so stunning and difficult to sort of
navigate, even as we`re sort of making fun of what the calls are, is the
extent to which the branding, the branding of Obamacare, the branding of
big, you know, socialized Medicine, sticks for so many people, so that all
these years later, there just isn`t enough basic information about what the
Affordable Care Act is.
JAY ANGOFF, HEALTH INSURANCE EXPERT: That`s true. The campaign to destroy
Obamacare has not let up. The opposition to Obamacare is not just opening
that it will fail, not just rooting for it to fail, but are actively trying
to make it fail. You know, you see some of these groups are putting ads on
TV, encouraging people to sign, encouraging kids not to sign up for
insurance. What`s next? Encouraging kids to smart smoking?
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, yes, there`s a whole industry, actually, that did used
to do that, right?
ANGOFF: Yes. But despite that, no, the law is here. It`s going to
succeed, even if the Republicans succeed in shutting down the government,
the irony is, Obamacare is still going to take off on October 1st. And
people are going to be able to go to a Web site, wherever they live, they
are going to be able to punch in the answers to four questions, age, zip
code, family size, family status, and whether you smoke or not, and they
are going to be able to get quotes from all the businesses doing business
through the exchanges for four different levels of coverage.
They are going to be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons and that`s
going to facility price competition. It`s going to drive down price. The
prices that have been filed already are 16 percent below what the
congressional budget office projected. They are far below what the
insurers -- what the Republicans projected, and that`s a big disappointment
to the Republicans. The biggest disappointment is, the law is here and the
law is going to succeed.
VOLSKY: And the good news is that starting on Tuesday, people are going to
go to healthcare.gov, look at these options, and it`s going to become a
deeply personal decision. I think they are going to tune out all this
rhetoric you hear, Ted and Jeff and Marco, all your friends that called in,
and it`s just going to be, what works best for me? What works best for my
family? What are the prices? Do I qualify for subsidies? It is going to
be whole different --
ULRICH: And is there a cap for all of this? This is the thing. That`s
another real important thing. Not only can you not be denied coverage, but
there`s a cap about how much is going to come out of your pockets. I can`t
tell you how many millions of Americans declare bankruptcy because of
Medical costs. We don`t even know how big that number is actually because
a lot of folks use credit cards, are pressured to put the cost on their
credit cards, which turns into consumer debt, so we don`t even see that.
But I can tell you that it`s tremendous. So to cap it at $12,700 in your
lifetime or to say, basically, we will give you coverage no matter what,
this is incredibly important. Bankruptcies will be avoided.
HARRIS-PERRY: As we comeback, I want to talk a little bit more about the
cost question. You brought up the point that we have declining costs at
the same time we have a public perception of increasing costs. I also want
to talk a little bit about the question, I mean, you raised when you said,
people on Tuesday are going to go to the exchanges, and I want to say, are
they? Are they actually -- because part of what this law requires is that
people actively do it, right? That the exchanges don`t come to you in the
mail. So, will the people, in fact, do the thing that they could do to
make this a personal and not a political question.
We have got more of your answers here on WMHP when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: So last night, "Saturday Night Live" poked fun at the
president for how confused people continue to be about his health care law.
In the opening sketch, the president invited regular people to come out and
describe how the ACA is benefiting them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now that I`ve got free health care, I can get sick
all the time! Free Medicine, you all!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that`s not really how it works.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have stopped washing my hands and I`m licking hell
a subway poles. Thanks, president!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, the amount of misinformation in the world.
So let`s talk a little bit about whether or not this fake person on "SNL"
or the people calling in, are they going to go and sign up? Have we sort
of sufficiently made it clear that October One is a day where you can go
and do these apples-to-apples comparisons. What will it take for in the
next, I don`t know, 24 to 48 hours to get people to notice.
ULRICH: Being here, the Kaiser family foundation just did a study last
weekend. They found out that more than half Americans don`t know that
Tuesday is the day you can sign up. And almost 80 percent of folks who are
uninsured don`t even know. So, the biggest service you are doing here
right now is actually saying, healthcare.gov, healthcare.gov, Tuesday,
Tuesday, to get people to go there because the word is not going out.
There`s too much rhetoric, there is too much arguing, there is too much
politics going out in the media, no offense, here it is.
ANGOFF: There it is.
ULRICH: And you have to be able to tell people the practical thing is to
go and sign up. And even if you have coverage and you`re paying out-of-
pocket, you were talking about, go and compare what you can save.
LILLIS: Yes. Our organization right now is in the middle of trying to
educate the public about what`s available to them. You see a disparity in
different states. So in my home state of Virginia, the federal government
is running our exchange. And so, we have not had any grant money to hire
workers for the Virginia government to help people sign up. In our
neighboring state of Maryland, Maryland has hired over a thousand people to
help Marylanders sign up.
So right now, in some states that haven`t really fully implemented the
Affordable Care Act, they`re depending on nonprofits like ours, doctors for
America, the Virginia organizing in my state, the Virginia poverty law
center, these are the organizations who are doing a big public push to try
to get information to those that we help the most.
HARRIS-PERRY: And of course, one of the big challenges is that often those
states, where they have defaulted to the federal government, running the
exchange, are states also like mine, like Louisiana, where we also have the
greatest need. These are poor states, southern states, red states, with
very, very high populations of uninsured people, who could, in fact, be
benefiting, but because of the amount of misinformation, now may not.
VOLSKY: And in those states, it`s not going to be the local leaders that
are road blocking and putting hurdles every step soft way. It`s going to
be the community organizations, the churches, the mayors. And that`s how
this is going to work, I think, in those areas. It`s going to work through
local foundations and through word of mouth. That`s what, I think, the
administration is counting on. And they are targeting specific populations
and they think that if they can get enough of, particularly young people,
because that`s what you have to bring in to make the exchanges work, to
make these so-called insurance polls balance to keep the premiums low.
Jay, I want to ask you about this recent approval ratings around ACA
because there is this thing that happens when you ask about Obamacare or
ACA, you get disapproval. But when you ask about each of the individual
provisions, they`re, in fact, extremely popular. So this poll shows us
that if you talk about providing insurance subsidies, expanding Medicaid,
guaranteeing insurance for the sick, you have well up over 60, 65, even 76
percent approval. But when you ask about the Affordable Care Act overall,
which is composed of these parts, you`re well down below lf in terms of
ANGOFF: That`s exactly right. From the very beginning, when you ask
people about the specific provisions of Obamacare, such as, no annual
limits, you can`t cancel people, no lifetime limits, should everybody be
able to get insurance regardless of health status, yes, those are great
things. Everybody supports them.
The only thing that some people don`t like about Obamacare is Obama. I
mean, when you take the name -- seriously. Some of the people who are the
biggest opponents of Obamacare are exactly the people who can benefit the
most from it. And I think when they see what the rates are going to be,
maybe they`ll change their tune.
For example, for the bronze plan, which is the cheapest plan in the
exchange, if you can get a bronze plan, which covers 60 percent of
expenses, not terribly comprehensive, but better than a lot of stuff out
there today, for about 160 bucks. With the subsidy, if you were a 27-year-
old, you make about -- right out of school, say, you make about $25,000,
you get a subsidy for about 80 bucks a month. So, you can buy insurance,
decent insurance for 80 bucks a month.
ULRICH: You have got to be on the silver plan, by the way, to get those
subsidies. Just bringing that in there.
HARRIS-PERRY: All right, so let me ask you a question.
If I am a young person, if I`m 26-years-old or 27, right, because I have
got to be not under my parents anymore. So I`m 27 and I figure, OK,
yesterday, I could have an insurance plan that was just catastrophic,
right? Only if the very worst thing happens to me. And now, I mean, the
bad market, bad job market, and now I have to buy something that is going
to be marginally more expensive. Why is it valuable to me? Why should I
support and why should I say, this is actually still a good thing for me,
even if it`s just at the margins of more expensive.
LILLIS: I don`t want to make a correction, I`m sorry, Melissa, but if
you`re under 30, you can still purchase a catastrophic only plan. So, it`s
only over 30 that you have to choose one of the plans, the bronze or up to
But from a physician`s standpoint, the reason to have comprehensive
insurance is because you really can`t plan for an illness. You really
can`t plan for a car accident. I mean, the word "accident," it`s there for
a reason. It`s because we didn`t plan that.
And so, comprehensive health insurance can protect you from devastating
medical bills. I had a family member recently who was hospitalized, she
just can`t get over the size of the hospital bill. Now, thankfully, she is
well covered and it really didn`t impact her personal finances. But the
truth is, is that one episode of illness can be bankrupting.
HARRIS-PERRY: Stick right there. I want to stay on this topic, but I also
want to talk about, I don`t know, is it good news, is it bad news? It`s
Wal-Mart news and it`s about Obamacare when we comeback.
HARRIS-PERRY: One of the most enduring talking points against the
Affordable Care Act is that it is, to paraphrase senator Ted Cruz, the job
killing, it is the job killer that ever killed a job. He really,
OK. Opponents of the law say that that corporations will push workers to
part-time or stop hiring workers all together in order to avoid a provision
of the ACA that requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to
provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance, or face significant
fines. And it`s true that some companies have dumped benefits, like home
depot, which ended health insurance for 20,000 part-time employees and sent
them, instead, to the Obamacare exchanges.
But then there`s a place like Wal-Mart. Yes, that Wal-Mart, which just
announced this week that it will move 35,000 workers from part-time to
full-time, guaranteeing them health insurance and hiring 35,000 new part-
ANGOFF: Good for Wal-Mart.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I know, when has that sentence ever been spoken on a
But better for the Affordable Care Act. The great thing about the
Affordable Care Act is it gives people a choice. If, by some chance, you
are laid off or your employer terminates your health insurance, which is
not going to happen, but it were to happen, you still have an opportunity
to buy insurance through the exchanges. That`s never happened before.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I think some people (INAUDIBLE), I must say, some
employers are -- home depot is an example here and some others, are taking
this as an opportunity to decrease and/or eliminate health insurance. And
so, I don`t want to act as though that`s not happening.
I do think, however, it`s happening as a result of a kind of greed around
profits. But explain to me why that`s not a catastrophic problem.
VOLSKY: Well, you know, we hear a lot from Republicans that businesses
hate uncertainty. That`s really what we need --
HARRIS-PERRY: -- which is why they create lots more uncertainty, every 15
VOLSKY: They said they are shutting down the government, they about the to
default on our debt. There`s a lot of economic uncertainty. Businesses
make those decisions. But there`s been a long-term trend of businesses
trying to shift costs to workers. It happened before the Affordable Care
Act, it`s going to happen after.
And, you know, you look at the provision, the employer responsibility
provision. That was delayed. Yet you still have businesses making these
kinds of excuses. I mean, it`s fine to make adjustments, and straight of
the good news is, they will have the Affordable Care Act.
ULRICH: But it`s been more than ten years where companies have stopped
bringing on full-time and have cut benefits like crazy, everything from
retirement accounts to life insurance. This is not tied to this at all.
This is just the way companies are operating. And now we have a free lance
economy. We have more and more folks who are part-time and who are
freelance and they`re going to need some kind of coverage.
HARRIS-PERRY: And now they can get it.
ULRICH: Right, they can have it now.
ANGOFF: And keep in mind, also, small business, small business, that is
businesses of 50 or fewer employees, they have no obligation whatsoever to
buy insurance for their employees. If they want and they have got 25 or
fewer employees, they can get a tax credit. So there`s only a carrot.
There`s no stick. So small businesses just in a terrific position under
LILLIS: And the cost shifting we have seen in the last couple of decades,
whether it`s rising deductibles, rising co-pays, rising premiums on
employer`s side, it has a real impact on patients because some of my
patients will say, I just can`t afford that right now. Maybe it`s a
screening colonoscopy, where we could possibly prevent a colon cancer, an
episode of illness that could cost tens of thousands of dollars later. If
we could prevent that with a procedure to help detect it and treat early --
ULRICH: And the preventative care is free. That`s the thing. With this,
preventative care is free. And that is the thing. When you say
catastrophic costs, the cost of preventative care is minuscule compared to
what happens when you don`t go for preventative care and then you have to
treat a catastrophic illness. So, this is a way to basically say, you
don`t have to pay a dime! You can come and we can check, a mammography,
whatever it is, we can make sure you don`t get it, it costs us maybe
$10,000 instead of costing is $120,000.
HARRIS-PERRY: No, right. The oil change example, right? You can keep
changing your oil regularly and then your car just keeps, right, humming
along or you just ignore oil changes and pretty soon you will have a car
that doesn`t run, which is really expensive.
VOLSKY: I think part of the reason you have this really big push -- you
have the 11th hour push from Ted Cruz and others in trying to really
disparage the law and from the independent groups, all the independent
expenditures is, they are actually afraid it is going to work. Because if
they thought that all these benefits we are talking about would just going
to collapse under its own weight, they would wash their hands off, they
haven`t take any of the political risks and say, let it happen. But they
are afraid it`s going to work.
ANGOFF: And don`t forget, not just the administration has a political
stake in this, but the insurance industry has a terrific economic stake in
this. The insurance industry wants us to work. They want it the to work.
So, they are going to be out there trying to enroll people.
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. So honestly, this is the part that I find most
confusing. You know, typically, when there is an extreme leap powerful
financial interest associated with a policy. I don`t get too worked up,
because I figure, it`s going to work. It is kind of like when the NBA goes
on strike, I`m like, whatever, that`s going to be fine. Because there`s
too much money involved.
So, I guess I`m a little shocked, actually, that the ideology of the Tea
Party right has overwhelmed the fundamental profit motivation of insurance
companies on this topic.
ANGOFF: We all were. And the administration, I can`t tell you how many
times we told ourselves, the fever is going to break. The fever is going
to break once the Supreme Court rules it constitutional, which it did.
Well, the fever department break. Well then we said, while the fever`s
going to break once the election is over, the 2012 Election is over and the
Republicans don`t take over. Well, that didn`t happen. But the fever
didn`t break. The fever hasn`t broken. The fever`s gotten hotter.
HARRIS-PERRY: They just fevering it up down there on the House floor last
Up next, we are going to talk about the states trying to tank Obamacare,
this point of trying to make it fail. You shouldn`t get all of your news
about the Affordable Care Act from cable TV. There are people who are
supposed to be able to help you with this, when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: President Obama this week called out Republicans for trying
to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The fact is, the Republicans` biggest fear at this point is not the
Affordable Care Act will fail. What they`re worried about is it`s going to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So we are seeing sabotage kick into full gear ahead of the
launch of ACA`s exchanges this Tuesday. A Koch brothers-funded group put
out those creepy ads, creepy, trying to scare young people out of signing
up for insurance. And as we explained at the top of the show, the
exchanges need young, healthy people to sign up in order for them to work.
There are the Republican-controlled states, enacting rules to prevent the
laws` navigators from doing their jobs, which is to help people to sign up
for private insurance or Medicaid. And then there are the states that have
refused to expand Medicaid, even though, don`t miss this, the federal
government will pay for nearly all of the expansion costs. And that won`t
just hurt the poor, who would get on Medicaid for the first time, but also
hurt those buying insurance in the exchanges. States that refuse to expand
Medicaid will drive up the cost of private insurance on the exchanges and a
recent Rand Corporation study found that if Texas, Louisiana, sorry, and
Florida keep refusing to expand Medicaid, it will cost rates in the
individual insurance market in those three states to rise by eight to ten
percent. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
What about the navigators, particularly? Because I feel like we have to do
some navigation on TV, because they are actually sabotaging navigators.
ANGOFF: Yes, the Affordable Care Act sets up these -- establishes these
entities called navigators, the purpose of which is to help people enroll
in insurance, explain to people the difference among insurance plans.
About 12 states have passed laws that do two things.
Number one, they put a whole lot of roadblocks in front of navigators and
make it very difficult for navigators to get licensed in the states. They
make it expensive and burdensome. And then even if they do get licensed,
they restrict what navigators can do. The federal law says navigators must
help people enroll and explain to people of the differences among foreign
policies. And some of these state laws say navigators can`t do that. So
there`s a conflict between some of the state laws and federal laws and
ultimately under the constitution, the federal law takes priority.
HARRIS-PERRY: And for me, as I`m reading about the navigators and I`m
reading about what the red states are doing in terms of the navigators. I
think, look, they perfected these strategies with those trap laws for
abortion providers, right? Keeping it officially legal, but setting all of
these roadblocks. And similarly when they were doing voter suppression
efforts and they`re like, OK, yes, you can vote, but only, you know, from
12:00 to 12:01 on the second Friday of the sixth month of the year, right?
So similarly, it`s like these ways of saying, oh, no, we have navigators,
but making them completely ineffective.
ANGOFF: I don`t want to get carried away with this, but it`s not that
different than some of the stuff that went on during the civil rights era.
There is a famous, among insurance nerds, there`s a famous video of the
Georgia insurance commissioner getting up and saying, well, the federal
government says we`ve got to have these navigators, but we`re going to be
as obstructionist as we can, we`re going to make them get licensed. We`re
not going to let them be navigators.
HARRIS-PERRY: Instead of standing in the schoolhouse door, they`re
standing in the door of the hospital.
ULRICH: And such short-term thinking here. I mean, how stupid do they
think their constituents are? They`re going to look over to the state next
door a year or two from now and go, how many they are paying half of what
we are paying for coverage? Because they are not on the coverage. The
more people that have the coverage, the more the prices go down. The more
the state supports it, the more the prices go down. So, they are going to
eventually look and they are going to say, how did we end up here again?
Oh, yes, that guy.
ANGOFF: And what they are going to do is in those states, they are not
going to call it Obamacare.
VOLSKY: Precisely. We have already seen, you know, there`s that story
that in Kentucky at a fair, you had someone trying to sign up for the
Kentucky exchanges and someone comes up, big opponent of Obamacare, looks
at the plan and says, you know, no denials for pre-existing conditions,
guaranteed issue, great, great. I hope this is Obamacare, but it was,
HARRIS-PERRY: It is Obamacare!
LILLIS: I want to exact a little optimism because what you`re seeing right
now is that some states are putting up barriers to the navigators help
people. But you are seeing moneyed interests step in and fill the gaps.
So, a lot of the retail pharmacies are now providing that service right at
the point of care. A lot of health insurance companies are going to be
doing huge marketing blitzes to try to get people to sign up.
So, I think there`s too much inertia to overcome. I think you are going to
see no matter what barriers are erected for the navigators, we`re going to
see a lot of people get good information.
HARRIS-PERRY: Like the both of you have suggested different levels of
optimism, but both are kind of structural and they are about this idea that
there are interests and these interests will push -- but this, I think Jay,
for me comes back to, like I`m not convinced that my neighbors in Louisiana
are going to look to Texas and Mississippi and say, man, they really have
that Obamacare thing worked out, why don`t we?
I actually think some of this inertia is, as long as we call it Obamacare
and as long as people believe that it is somehow associated with this
president, it almost doesn`t matter if it was, you know, here is a free
check for a million for you and your family, not from Obama, nope, I`m not
ANGOFF: I think that`s right. Obamacare is a big law, but it`s come to
symbolize more than that. I think Obamacare is a symbol of a lot of
people, what a lot of people just don`t like the direction the country is
going in and Obamacare is Obama. A lot of people don`t like Obama and they
never going to like Obama, but the law is going to be a success.
VOLSKY: It`s just going to take time. There`s a six-month window for
enrollment. People have a lot of time. They are going to work out the
glitches in the beginning hopefully and then they are going have smooth
sailing on ahead. It`s just not going to be on day one.
Given all the misinformation, to swim through all of that, to learn from
your neighbor, it`s going to take, in this period and the next and the
next, and in ten years, and Obama won`t be in office.
ULRICH: It`ll be something else by that point. And corporations to the
rescue because you did bring up a really good point. If this becomes a
really big cost issue and if the health insurance industry really wants
people to sign up, they will, hopefully, be advocates for it.
ANGOFF: That`s right. The insurers want it. The hospitals want it. It
will for the first time, anybody will be able to get insurance, regardless
of pre-existing condition, regardless of what happens to them at work.
That`s a great thing. That`s a revolutionary thing.
HARRIS-PERRY: I want to ask you one quick question. You know, I keep
thinking, all we`ve got to do is take a deep breath, get people to the Web
site. What if I can`t get to the Web site? What if it`s October one, I
really like President Obama, I don`t dislike him, I would like to sign up
for some of that Obamacare, but I don`t have a computer.
VOLSKY: There is a hotline. You can call the hot line. They have a
hotline open. You can probably go to your community health center or your
-- depending on the state you`re in, of course, and find something there,
find assistance, how to get to health care. So there are options. The
online is probably the easiest way, the quickest way. You will find out
quick application, find out right away all your options and if you`re
qualified for subsidies, but there are options like phones and everything
else for people who don`t have that.
LILLIS: And even one step better, the national public libraries have
decided they are going to be a part of this as well. So, librarians across
the country are going to be helping show people the healthcare.gov.
ULRICH: If they are open, though, doctor.
ULRICH: If they are open.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Which if you shut down the government --
ULRICH: If you shutdown the government.
HARRIS-PERRY: Not so much.
ULRICH: There you go.
VOLSKY: And that complicates things for Republicans. If the government
shuts down and there`s glitches in the beginning, the government shut down,
how can you expect a very smooth rollout of Obamacare?
You know, most of Obamacare funding is mandatory spending. So, it`s not
subject to this yearly discretionary funding. But you have to imagine if
the government is shut down and all these nonessential federal workers,
close to a million, are at home, it`s probable to believe that some of the
glitches are because the Republicans shut down the government.
HARRIS-PERRY: You know what else alike? It is the idea that if everybody
is home, you know, maybe they will go on their local Web site and sign up
for Obamacare. Shut that government down, suckers! Here we go.
Jay Angoff, Igor Volsky, and Dr. Chris Lillis, thanks.
And up next, the ghost of government shutdowns past. What have we learned
since the last time?
HARRIS-PERRY: We`re getting closer, much, much closer. In the middle of
the night, Republicans in the House pushed forward a new version of their
continuing resolution bill, to keep the government open.
Now, this one would delay President Obama`s health care law by a year. And
now we are going to get to the details of what happened last night and what
happens next in just a moment.
But suffice it to say that the House bill is DOA. We are now headed to
somewhere this country has not been in 17 years. In 1995, a dispute over
domestic spending cuts between president Bill Clinton and speaker of the
House, Newt Gingrich, led to a two-part government shutdown that lasted for
five days in November and then nearly three weeks starting in December of
1995. This morning, from our vault, a reminder of what this whole thing
looked like the last time around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening. Neither the president t speaker nor
senator dole will give, so tonight much of the government remains shut
down. Both sides are claiming this is a battle over principle, but in this
case principle is the foster child of election year politics as the stakes
in 1996 makes this standoff all the more complicated. For a time, there
were faint signs a deal was in the works, but tonight, nothing doing. Two
reports now on the maneuvers and the impacts. We begin with NBC`s Brian
Williams at the White House.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS ANCHOR: The president appears this
afternoon as the federal government was reduced to a slow crawl.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, as of noon,
almost half of the federal government employees are idle. The government
is partially shutting down because Congress has failed to pass the
straightforward legislation necessary to keep the government running.
WILLIAMS: As the president finished, Republican leaders on the hill
appeared with their own view of things.
NEWT GINGRICH, CNN HOST, CROSSFIRE: It`s very hard to know how to deal
with him and how to deal with this administration and every time reach out
to try to help, we just encounter a new attack and a new mass of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: When we come back, Ted Cruz, you are not the only one who
can rhyme. Just wait until you see what we are doing this time.
HARRIS-PERRY: Last night, just after the clock struck 12:00, House
Republicans voted to push us one step closer to a government shutdown.
This time, all but two of the House GOP members were voted for a new bill,
that would only keep the government open if the Senate and President Obama
agreed to a one-year delay in the implementation of Obamacare, something
senator Harry Reid and President Obama have already made clear is a
So now, tick, tick, tick. With every passing minute, we are getting closer
to 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and the first U.S. government shutdown since the mid-
1990s. How on earth did we get here? Who is up for a little story time?
Gather around, Nerdland. I have a story to tell about how Congress is
running the country for the not done it well. Once upon a time, not long
ago, a change came fast where it used to be slow. The people chose a new
leader, in their capitol town and he was unlike the others. For his color
was brown. He came and prevailed where those others had failed, to restore
the people to health in times when they ailed. But, alas, the leaders`
triumph was but a short while, for the people grew weary with the
Democrats` style. More jobs, more money, the people did cry. Though the
blame was on W., they didn`t care why.
The people were hungry for something new in 2010, so when Republicans came
knocking, the people let them in. Saying, come into our House and make
things all right. We see nothing but darkness, please show us the light.
So the people`s wish was granted, but little did they know, Republicans
would come into the House with the Tea Party in tow.
Out with the lady leader, replaced with a man, with pane chant for crying
and a fondness for tans. We will work for the people, he said with a tear.
We will correct the course. This is nothing to fear.
Alas, he would not be able the to practice what he preached. For he would
lose his ability to keep his minions on a leash. Those Tea Party members,
they were here to stay, shouting, who cares what you want?! We will have
our own way! The black man in the White House, we want him to go. So when
he says yes, we will always say no! We will hijack your government, we
will shut it all down. Nothing will get accomplished in your capitol town.
Those minions ran wild, when they were let loose. They took hold of the
wheel, dragging the party`s caboose. But the people had grown weary of the
political games. They wanted something new, not more of the same. Kick
them out of the house then change all the locks. Give my party back
control, said their president Barack. Only by then, it was already too
late. The people let the GOP in again. Now they must suffer their fate.
So back to the brink, they dragged the country once more, but it was only
the beginning of what was in store. Because the people had lost control of
the government for and by them, and now the inmates in the crazy house were
running the asylum. Though Obama`s plan won the favor of the highest court
in the land, the GOP hated Obamacare, for they did not care for Obama, the
And so we the people must helplessly watch our government near shutdown
with each tick of the clock. Paying our nation`s bills had always happened
on time, but this, said the minions, is where we draw the line. If it
means punishing the people, then suffer, they will, for we must remain in
power upon this Capitol Hill.
As for the leader of the GOP, well, he never really led. Boehner lost all
his power to some dude named Ted who talked and talked and talked through
the night, and laughed and smiled while the GOP, they did fight. Except
they agreed when the fighting was done, they would not budge an inch, not
one single one. Their preposterous plan, the Senate could not abide, so
the people were dragged along on their Congress` wild ride. Though their
leaders had closed the government once many years before, 17 years later,
the people knew not what was in store.
So this is where I pause my story, dear Nerdland friends, for there is
still a day to stop this madness, it`s not quite the end. Maybe Congress
will surprise us, maybe they will act faster than they have in the past, to
avert this disaster. Which of them might save us? I know not who is able.
Perhaps we`ll find the answer when I turn to my table.
So stick around, Nerdland, so much at stake. And we`re going to talk about
it all, right after this break.
HARRIS-PERRY, HOST: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry.
You only have 37 hours left. Last night, 229 House Republicans joined by
two Democrats voted for a bill that puts the United States within spitting
distance of a government shutdown, for the first time in 17 years.
And the drama of the steadily approaching deadline reached a fever pitch
last night on the House floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans should not shut the government down --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman`s time has expired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- in shutting the government down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What on earth are we doing here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time for us to stop it dead in its track.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Senate won`t take it up, the president won`t sign
it. House Republicans are shutting down the government!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every member in this chamber has someone in their
district who has lost their insurance policy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have one wing of your party, a rump group. I call
that mobocracy, not democracy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did not elect a dictator. We elected a president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like a 1930s gangster film. It`s a nice
government you`ve got there. A nice economy you`ve got there. Pity if it
should blow up if you don`t pay us off by giving us what we want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Republicans don`t like it, they can make their
case to the American people in 2014.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yell all you want --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your time has expired!
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HARRIS-PERRY: Man, I love it when Congress gets like that, rwahh!
OK. Listen, the bill attached a measure that would delay Obamacare for one
year, running right smack up against the hard line drawn by President Obama
and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which leaves you with only 37 hours.
Just 37 hours to get your fill of the panda cam.
Go on and overdose on the cuteness injection that is the panda cam while
you still can, because this might be the last you see of those black and
white balls of fur for the foreseeable future. Nerdland`s favorite piece
of viral video could just be one of the many casualties of Congress`
failure to avert a government shutdown. By Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., the cam
could go dark when the national zoo is forced to close its doors to the
Doors to work would also be closed for a large number of civilian military
employees as well as IRS, National Park Service workers. Now, those doors
will stay open for active-duty military personnel, but they won`t be
getting paid for their service until Congress can get a new bill passed.
Meanwhile, the members of Congress who caused the whole fiasco will still
be getting their regular paychecks. The staffers who work for them
considered nonessential government employees probably won`t. They`re among
the estimated 800,000 federal workers who could be furloughed during the
And you can forget about getting new passports and visas, going to court
for bankruptcy cases or getting your mortgage application approved, because
if the government shuts down, all of that would be going away too -- along
with the pandas.
Here with me now: Ari Melber, host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE" and correspondent
for "The Nation"; Carmen Wong Ulrich, who`s host of "Marketplace Money" on
APM; Susan Del Percio, Republican strategist and totally responsible for
the government shutdown --
HARRIS-PERRY: She`s also an MSNBC contributor.
And Cristina Beltran, associate professor of social and culture analysis at
New York University and the author of "The Trouble with Unity."
So, Ari, let me start with you.
You know, we`re sort of teasing about the panda cam, in part because, as
we`ve been talking about the shutdown, we keep trying to express how
critical, how important, how relevant it is. And then I just -- I was
like, all right. Let`s just give up and talk about something people
actually care about, like the panda cam.
ARI MELBER, "THE CYCLE": Well, it also helps set up some ads that you,
MHP, can run against the Republicans.
HARRIS-PERRY: Republicans hate panda!
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: The panda was in the Adorable Care
CARMEN WONG-ULRICH, HOST, "MARKETPLACE MONEY" ON APM: It`s black and
HARRIS-PERRY: Like the president!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?!
HARRIS-PERRY: OK. All right.
MELBER: Give that panda a black and white cookie. I think we did four
HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve done it. Now we`re done. Yes, it`s OK, here we go.
MELBER: Here`s the facts -- there`s a lot of talk about how John Boehner
needs the Republican caucus and he has to satisfy the Tea Party. That`s
not literally true in terms of the House vote. All he needs is 17
Republicans to come along for a bipartisan funding bill.
MELBER: What is that funding bill? Well, it`s a continuing resolution,
that`s why they call it a C.R., which means that it`s not actually an
annual budget, it won`t actually solve these problems. It`s a band-aid for
six weeks and we can replay this whole thing over, because that`s what the
Republicans have been pushing.
And what is the funding levels? These are the sequester level funding
cuts, as many members of the House, Democratic side, were saying last night
in the debate.
What does that tell us about the standoff? Republicans won. They beat
Obama on funding and they beat the Democrats on that, to the point that now
the baseline, right, the renewal that we`re talking about, the so-called
new normal is these terrible sequester-level funding cuts, which John
Boehner said when he first made the deal, nobody wants these to happen.
This is just a penalty, an absurd penalty that we will use to get something
else done. We forget all that sometimes.
HARRIS-PERRY: You`ve made such a great point here about the idea of who`s
And, Susan, I want to come to you on this. We did our rhyme to make fun of
Senator Cruz and sort of teasing about this. But I keep wondering if in
fact, Cruz has won here. So, just -- I want to take a moment to listen to
him. He was on "Meet the Press" this morning.
Let`s listen and I want to have you respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: My position in this fight, which was that we
should defund it, which is different from repeal. And even now what the
House of Representatives has done is a step removed from defunding it.
It`s delaying it.
Now, that`s the essence of a compromise. For all of us who want to see it
repealed, simply delaying it for American families on the same terms as
being done for big corporations, that`s a compromise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: So, now, Senator Cruz, who is the architect of this in many
ways is saying, hey, I`m the guy of compromise. Right? He`s on "Meet on
Press." He`s saying, you know, this junior senator has this incredible
platform at this point.
Is he the big winner of the week?
DEL PERCIO: To some extent, because he`ll probably raise a lot of money
off of it. But the fact is, the losers of the week will end up -- I
shouldn`t say of the week, but going forward will be the Republican Party,
in fact. If we do shut down, it is going to be blamed.
This was an awful game played by some Republicans trying to do something
that was really intellectually dishonest with the American public. You
can`t -- they will not defund Obamacare. The president has said it, the
Senate has said it. That`s not going to happen.
Maybe if they wanted to play with it, they could have gotten the medical
device tax done, because there is a lot of Democratic support in that, and
for the Senate. But this was just something that a bunch of members, maybe
up to about 80 or 90 members, can go home and be rock stars in their
district and basically in the long-term hurt the party tremendously.
And again any hope of shutting down in 2014 with the government shutdown is
pretty much lost.
HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you about that part of it. It does feel to me
fascinating, the idea that there`s a few members, in a few districts that
will reward this kind of behavior, that will say, you know, Cruz is a great
guy. I mean, he`s not up for re-election in this one, but -- you know, all
these folks who are sort of able to go back and say, we took the stance.
But in the long run, for the Republican Party, how does Boehner sort of put
his hands back around this party? So that it becomes one party again?
DEL PERCIO: Well, unfortunately, I don`t think it`s going to be Boehner
who`s going to be able to do it. But what he can certainly do is offer to
all of those Republican business folks who certainly do not support a
government shutdown, to start putting their money in, much as the
conservatives have behind, you know, Club for Growth or Heritage to say,
we`ve got your back on this.
If you take a responsibility vote, we will back you up. We will fight off
primaries for you, too.
So I think that`s, honestly, that`s going to be the way we get there, is
that Republicans won`t be afraid of the conservative primary.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, that`s a shift in the incentive structure. It`s
basically, the NRA uses a stick, right? If you don`t vote this, we will
primary you, right? And this is a way of help saying --
DEL PERCIO: It`s a solution to what is a political problem right.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, what`s going to happen, Susan --
WONG-ULRICH: When this, and it will, goes through and everybody`s pretty
happy with what`s going on, then who`s going to get punished or who`s going
to get blamed?
HARRIS-PERRY: Even when Obamacare goes through?
WONG-ULRICH: Yes, when this goes through and everything`s fine and it`s
primarily funded by health care. But what`s going to happen?
DE PERCIO: I somewhat disagree with the premise. I think that there are
going to be plenty of snags with Obamacare. It is almost impossible to put
this kind of program, even in one state, never mind across the country.
There`s going to be significant problems. We`ve already seen it.
So, as those problems happen, it`s pretty much going to back up what a lot
of -- even moderate Republicans, who were against the Affordable Care Act,
HARRIS-PERRY: But we`ll never get to a set of Obamacare snag if the snag
is government shutdown. So, I mean, part of I`m interested in bringing the
business community into this, is this idea about uncertainty and this
notion that uncertainty is bad. And as you pointed out, Ari, even these
continuing resolutions are six-week measures. I mean, this is six weeks is
not -- is not an end of uncertainty.
WONG-ULRICH: We`ve talked about this how many times, though? How many
times we talked about it? And again and again and again, and I wrote that
story two years ago when the law passed.
So when is this going to stop and are we going to get to a point where
there isn`t all this confusion? Because the American public is absolutely
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just look at the calendar, even if you get it --
HARRIS-PERRY: Stay right there. There`s a lot more on this. Stay right
More when we come back, because if it`s not one thing, it`s another.
Republicans in the House have another plan to wreak havoc. This one comes
with a ransom note.
HARRIS-PERRY: Well, the imminent government shutdown feels fraught with
uncertainty about what will happen next, we do at least have some blueprint
to follow. The real fear of the unknown is still a couple of weeks away on
October 17th. That`s the day that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned
in a letter to Congress that the government will run out of money if
Republicans make good on their threat and force another showdown over
raising the debt ceiling.
The United States` AAA debt rating was downgraded for the first time ever
the last time that Republicans took us to the brink of default, but at
least, they were only requiring spending cuts in exchange for holding the
debt ceiling hostage.
Now, we are faced with the possibility of another first. Going to the
brink, and this time around, the GOP`s debt ceiling bill wildly understood
as a ransom note of sorts includes a wish list of far right gimmes that are
only marginally related to debt reduction. Among these are approving the
Keystone Pipeline, allowing offshore drilling, Wall Street deregulation,
slashing money for public health, and because it wouldn`t be a Republican
showdown without it -- a one-year delay on the implementation of Obamacare.
And, Cristina, also, the newest one that happened here on the middle of the
night, because why not -- was to throw a birth control measure, right?
That all of this was, all of these are the things, you know, OK, these are
the things we care about. We couldn`t get them by getting a majority in
the Senate. We couldn`t get them by getting a Republican president, so
we`re going to write a ransom note.
CRISTINA BELTRAN, AUTHOR, "THE TROUBLE WITH UNITY": Right. This is about
governing by hostage, right? We`re just going to demand the situation and
get things we couldn`t get by a normal Democratic process. And, you know,
I want to pony in a unicorn.
But I think the other thing we keep forgetting or we were talking about at
the break was, you know, that the fiscal crisis, going from crisis to
crisis is also distracting us from doing any real governing.
So, all this giant aggressive performance of governing, and we`re not able
talk about immigration reform. We`re not able to talk about gun control.
We`re not able to talk about a whole series of things that are actually
really critical that we can`t even have that conversation about, because
we`re just -- it`s all about provoking the voters again and again. Just
provoking and animating their votes.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Ari, our colleague, Chris Hayes, on Friday night was
saying, let`s root for a government shutdown because it`s an inoculation
against that debt ceiling hostage crisis. He`s like, if we shut it down
now, we`ll solve these issues before we get there. Do you buy that
MELBER: I disagree with that. I also think that while some of them want
the pony, a lot of them don`t even want the pony.
MELBER: How do you -- how do you bargain with someone when I say, OK, I`ll
give up everything so we can get to the deal, and they go, well, but part
of my deal is, I don`t want a deal. I want to shut it down, I want to
create chaos or I want to go back home and show people I`m making it this
much harder for President Obama or Washington in general, whatever the
enemies are in their sad world view, right?
So that`s what we found. The president did allude to that in his remarks
on Friday. I thought they were significant, but understandably
overshadowed by the more significant international developments.
What he said was something very important. He said, I went through this
with y`all once to try to cut the deficit and we did. And we`ve cut the
deficit and reversed a trend over the last 20 years. And federal spending
is down, whether he thinks that`s good or not, it`s down.
And he goes, now I`m finding that although we had that last time, 2011 debt
ceiling sequester, that`s how we got here, y`all don`t care about that.
Y`all don`t care about that, because what you really want to do is to have
chaos. That`s ulterior.
HARRIS-PERRY: There you go. So, that is -- see, to me, this is like the
old version of the Joker in the "Batman" films versus that really brilliant
one that Heath Ledger played, right? Because old Joker used to want
HARRIS-PERRY: But when Ledger played it, it`s no. I`m just -- I don`t
care who blows up anything up. I am just here to create chaos.
MELBER: And that`s why Alfred says to Batman, some people just want to
watch the world burn.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, we want a big, emotional, dramatic performance.
BELTRAN: And the world will burn, by the way, if we go into default. This
is the real --
BELTRAN: Absolutely, right? So to me, this is -- we`re talking about
global -- we`re talking about going back to recession. We`re talking about
interest rates. And it`s all above most people`s heads.
But the fact of the matter is, we can get pulled right back down to where
HARRIS-PERRY: This is the fight I just had in Nerdland. I said, OK, we
said that if we went over that fiscal cliff, it was all going to be
terrible. We said, if we shut down the government, it`s all going to be --
so just be really straight up with me. Really, if this happens, it`s going
to be --
WONG-ULRICH: Not the shutdown.
HARRIS-PERRY: Not the shutdown, the debt ceiling piece. What I don`t want
to be is the cable host who tells you, it`s going to catch fire, and then,
it happens, well, no, no, no. That didn`t catch. So --
WONG-ULRICH: I hate crystal balls and I hate fires, but here`s what`s
going to happen -- if interest rates go up, this will affect us on a global
scale, OK? This could possibly push us down. If interest rates go up, the
cost is not just $1.4 billion in a shutdown.
The cost is billions in the economy overall and globally as well, because
the way the markets work, if it becomes much more expensive to borrow, then
we`re going to see the markets suffer, companies suffer, 401(k)s suffer and
that stuff trickles down, unfortunately, because it goes into jobs, et
cetera, et cetera. That actually can happen because shutdowns cause --
MELBER: In plainer language, what happens is --
ULRICH-WONG: I thought it was Nerdland.
MELBER: When the U.S. wants to spend money it doesn`t have, it doesn`t go
to a bank and borrow, right? It issues these bonds or prints money. And
what we`re talking about is totally severing that and not paying those
bonds back. And we don`t know, both U.S., people hold those bonds,
foreigners hold those bonds, foreign entities hold those bonds. China
holds a lot of those bonds.
So, we don`t even know how bad it is. We know it`s bad and we don`t even
know how bad because we don`t know how severely the markets will react.
HARRIS-PERRY: But this is what you guys used to be so good at, those
Republicans. Seriously, this is the thing that makes the world feel unsafe
to me is -- I used to be able to count on Republicans to serve business
interests. And even if I disagreed with what those interests were, I had a
sense of the predictability of them, right?
And I look at it now and it feels more like Democrats are serving business
interests and Republicans have become the populist -- or at least the Tea
Party aspect of it -- and that makes me very nervous.
DEL PERCIO: It should. It makes me very nervous.
The other thing that you have to take into effect, though, is while all of
these things, I believe, are very real and I agree with everyone on set
about how dangerous it will be if we go on default, the American public has
been brought to this brink so many times in the last couple of years. We
told sequestration will ruin the country -- 66 percent of the American
public says, doesn`t affect me at all.
DEL PERCIO: We were told that a shutdown, oh, my God, we can`t have a
shutdown. We`ve been hearing about it for two weeks. You know what? We
hear the shutdown is not nearly as bad --
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, every time.
DEL PERCIO: So, what happens is, people start feeling very disconnected to
Washington. They don`t care if you`re a Democrat or a Republican, you`re
part of the problem, you`re there, you`re trying to scare me, I don`t have
faith in government.
DEL PERCIO: And when people don`t have faith in government, they don`t act
responsibly. And that`s the big deal. And that`s how the Ted Cruzes and
that`s how some of the people go home to their district.
So, this debt ceiling is a very dangerous thing. And I don`t like the fact
that the Republicans are playing with fire on this. It will ruin them.
BELTRAN: They don`t value the value of the governing, right? When you
don`t value governing as a practice, you end up with this sort of obscene
HARRIS-PERRY: And if you don`t believe in any source that is telling you
this is bad, because it feels like chicken little or the buy who cried
wolf, it`s also hard for us to warn over and against it.
BELTRAN: And the collateral damage is all over, but no one can see it.
HARRIS-PERRY: And it`s mostly the most vulnerable who are -- we could just
debate on this all day. But we can`t, because there`s apparently more
things to do.
Carmen Wong-Ulrich, Susan del Percio, and Cristina Beltran -- thank you for
And up next, the rethink underway when it comes to sex workers. That is a
new hope possibly for justice in the Marissa Alexander case next.
Stay with us.
HARRIS-PERRY: One in every 100 African-American women is in prison. In
2010, black women were incarcerated at nearly three times the rate of white
In 2011, according to the FBI, 64 percent of children arrested for
prostitution and vice were black. More than any other racial group, and
according to a recent report by the correctional association, 3/4 of
imprisoned women have suffered severe, physical abuse by an intimate
partner during adulthood and 82 percent suffered serious physical or sexual
abuses as children.
The connection between women`s experiences of abuse and their incarceration
is a phenomenon sociologists Beth Richey refers to as gender entrapment.
But this morning, maybe there`s a glimmer of hope, at least for some of
those behind bars for alleged sex work.
The highest-ranking judge in New York state, Jonathan Lippman, took
historic action last week when he announced a new initiative, to treat most
alleged sex workers as victims rather than criminals and to steer them
toward medical treatment, job training and other social services.
Twelve states, including New York, currently have "safe harbor" laws that
protects minors who are caught in sex trafficking, but Judge Lippman`s
initiative appears to be the first in the U.S. to also protect adults. He
told NBC News that it meant that there will be no further victimization of
these defendants by a society that can be divorced from the realities of
this modern-day former of servitude.
Joining the panel now is Seema Iyer, criminal defense attorney, former
prosecutor in the Bronx district attorney`s office and legal contributor
for Arise News. And also, Deon Haywood, executive director of Women with a
Vision in my hometown of New Orleans.
Seema, I want to start with you on this. How big a deal is this judge`s
SEEMA IYER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is phenomenal. Melissa, let
me tell you, I`m a part of the Gender Fairness Committee of the New York
court state system. And this is something that we have been working
towards for the past five years now. And to see our dreams come to
fruition in this point, where the defendant prostitutes are no longer
treated as such, but treated as the victims that they really are.
And by acknowledging that this is, in fact, a victimization of young women
by implementing courts, and not only just implementing courts, because of
this movement, there are now units in each of the district attorney`s
offices that specifically target sex trafficking.
HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So, this is a challenge for me. On the one
hand, my first sense is to cheer this and say, yes, this judge has
absolutely gotten right how much victimization occurs for so many women,
before they ever even enter into a criminal justice system, which often
happens through -- mostly, sort of street work.
On the other hand, Deon, I worry about it in part, because it means there`s
only two roles for a women in the context of sex work.
DEON HAYWOOD, WOMEN WITH A VISION: Exactly.
HARRIS-PERRY: Victim or criminal.
HARRIS-PERRY: And I whether or not if there isn`t some other set of
HAYWOOD: There are. There are many possibilities. Whenever we take the
urgency from any female or any person who makes a decision for themselves,
especially when you think about sex work, most people who enter -- not
underage, or even underage people who enter for survival reasons, not
trafficked, but for adult people involved in sex work, normally, there`s a
reason, it`s circumstances, and a lot of times it has to do with economics.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, poverty, yes.
HAYWOOD: So when you think about entering a system, a system that has been
historically known to cause harm to women, especially minority women, you
have to wonder, either labeling as a criminal or a victim, sometimes, you
know, the two kind of come together.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I mean, Ari, it feels right to me to shift the onus of
criminalization away from women who are engaged in sex work, who often end
up with designations at the state level as sexual predators, right, that
then keep them from having other kinds of jobs, and certainly was true in
And -- but on the other hand, like, I want, there`s a part of me that says,
clearly, underage children, clearly people in certain circumstances. But
also, like if I`m not being trafficked, is there a way for me to say
something other than, I am clearly a victim or a criminal?
MELBER: Well, I think there`s two strains of common law here that are
problematic, one is a sexist approach to the criminal code, which we can
talk all about, and the other, that I think relates to this is a
puritanical streak. So, we have this notion about what a sex crime is, and
in the area of prostitution, which we know to be a very old profession, we
have generally a lot of sexist notions embedded in the law. I`m not
talking about culture sexism in the way people talk, I`m talking about the
way people deal with this.
I think this is a step forward away from that. But I don`t think it
extinguishes all of these other contradictions. One common example would
be that sex work is legal, as soon as you start recording it in this
MELBER: So two people can have a prostitution-type scenario, but if you
put it on a video camera and it`s a pornography video, that`s OK, and
there`s a lot of money made off of that. Whereas a private pattern sex
work, it`s still illegal, right? Why does that make any sense?
IYER: It sounds like the conversation is turning towards whether you`re an
entrepreneur as a sex worker.
And, Melissa, I have to tell you, I just finished watching a few trials,
sex trafficking trials, where there were women who testified, who were
completely empowered by being a sex worker, who took time off from the job
to have a child, with a pimp, and maybe they didn`t have Obamacare yet, but
they went back to work the next day.
MELBER: Good linkage there, huh?
IYER: Always connecting the dots on MSNBC.
But my point is this, there is that third category of women who says, I
want to be a lawyer, I want to be a journalist, or I want to be a sex
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, pause for me, because I think there`s a lot of
complicated stuff going on here. But we`re going to talk about this for a
bit more, but also a new chance for justice, not only in this case for
potential sex workers, but was also for someone who we`ve covered who is
innocent here in the sense that know that she was victimized.
The question of whether or not she is innocent in the face of law, which is
the issue that Ari has brought up for us here, Marissa Alexander, when we
HARRIS-PERRY: Last spring, three months after the killing of Trayvon
Martin put Florida`s "Stand Your Ground" law at the top of every newscast,
Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville mother of three, was denied a "Stand Your
Ground" defense in her trial with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Now, Alexander has always contended it was her husband, Rico Gray, who was
committing the assault in 2010, physically attacking her at home, nine days
after she gave birth to their premature child.
She maintains that she fired a bullet at a wall as a warning shot after he
threatened to kill her. And for that, Alexander was convicted. And her
20-year sentence over Florida`s 10/20 mandatory life sentencing law for gun
crimes provoke significant protests. Those protests bore fruit Thursday
when a district appeals court ruled Alexander will get a new trial.
Though, once again, won`t be able to invoke the "Stand Your Ground" law.
Wrote Judge James Daniel, "We reject her contention that the trial court
erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida`s
`"Stand Your Ground"` law. But we remand for a new trial because the jury
instructions on self-defense were erroneous."
Joining us now is attorney Faith Gay, co-chair of the National Trial
Practice Group at her law firm Quinn Emanuel. She is representing Marissa
OK. What has happened here? What is the difference between the "Stand
Your Ground" issue on the one hand versus what this judge has done to give
us a new trial?
FAITH GAY, NATIONAL TRIAL PRACTICE GROUP: Well, it`s a great day and it`s
an extraordinary day, because she has a new trial and now she has jury
instructions that don`t require her to prove her innocence. The jury
instructions in the first trial made her prove that Rico Gray, her
estranged, violent husband, actually assaulted her in order to be acquitted
and to mount the self-defense case she wanted to mount.
Now, the burden is back on the state, which, of course, is the American way
and the Floridian way. And everything is righted. She`ll have a chance
for a fair trial.
What she doesn`t have is "Stand Your Ground" immunity, which is a separate
proceeding in Florida, what happens before a trial. So, she won`t have
that, but she can mount self-defense in the trial.
HARRIS-PERRY: Why would she need "Stand Your Ground", given the Castle
Doctrine, given the realities of simply most states have around the
capacity for self-defense in the context of your own home?
GAY: Well, absolutely, you don`t have to have it. It is an extra step
that Florida provides, and albeit a controversial one, that you can have
receive absolutely immunity, not have to stand trial in a pre-trial
proceeding on the "Stand Your Ground" doctrine. You don`t have to have
that to mount a full-throated self defense and trial.
HARRIS-PERRY: Deon, for me, part of the reason we`ve been following the
Marissa Alexander case so closely, in addition to it being connected in
certain ways with the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case, it`s my
sense that it`s often harder for African-American women to provoke -- for
the injustices to African-America women -- to provoke the same sense of
community outrage, the same sense of spirit behind them that we often get
for the victimization of black men and boys, because we have a long
history, a trope around lynching that we can talk about, that we know to
put our fingers on.
HARRIS-PERRY: Is there something in the work that you do around sort of
how do we make sure that these cases of injustice also get our attention
and our enthusiastic support and media attention and all of that?
HAYWOOD: It`s the stories. It`s the stories of the people directly
affected. One of the methods we`ve used at Women with a Vision and
throughout the South, and it is also historically what African-Americans
do. Most indigenous people, the way we share our experiences is by telling
stories, whether it`s getting them out to the media, making people aware of
it. But we have to think about how the criminal justice system views
gender or women who, quote/unquote, "commit" violent crimes or perceived is
And helping people check their own bias around -- black women are always
seen as loud. Oh, they scare me, they`re so much. And I think that
carries across the board when people are put before the courts to be
HARRIS-PERRY: And one of the things, often for women of color, African-
American women, around this particular bias is a sense that they can`t be
victimized. That you can`t have victimized a black woman, because she`s
just so, you know, all of what she is.
IYER: I disagree, Melissa. And I think it`s the battered women`s syndrome
that has now translated into rape trauma syndrome, has carried along with
it women historically. And especially in this case, you have Rico Gray,
who is pretty much of a women`s terrorist --
HARRIS-PERRY: Admittedly, like, he says it himself.
IYER: Sure, exactly. So I don`t think that Marissa was not acknowledged
for being a victim of domestic abuse. I think that this is not the right
case to get on the bandwagon, because I don`t think that the jury
instructions are going to change the results.
MELBER: And say what the battered women syndrome.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, OK. Do both of those things -- talk about the battered
women`s syndrome and talk about this question, which I want to come to,
which is, whether or not we are now going to get a different outcome, now
that we`re going to get different jury instructions as soon as we come
We`re going to take a look at the prosecutor at the center of the Marissa
Alexander case. You might remember her from the George Zimmerman trial.
Her role this all of this is extremely important. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CORRINE BROWN (D), FLORIDA: All we was asking and all the community
is asking for is mercy and justice.
ANGELA COREY, FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Congresswoman, I showed her mercy
when I sat down with her and I offered --
BROWN: And 20 years is not even justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was Democratic Congresswoman Corrine brown of Florida,
all up in the face of state attorney, Angela Corey, when Marissa Alexander
was sentenced to 20 years in prison after she turned down a three-year plea
deal for firing what she claims was a warning shot at her abusive husband.
We learned Thursday that Alexander will get a new trial.
And Corey, who unsuccessfully prosecuted George Zimmerman, could hardly
wait to announce that she will be trying the case again. A statement
released by her office read, "The defendant`s conviction was released on a
legal technicality. The case will be back in circuit court in the fourth
judicial court at the appropriate time."
So, Ms. Corey seems perfectly enthusiastic to put Ms. Alexander back in
jail, keep her there for 20 years.
GAY: Well, with all due respect, it`s hardly a legal technicality to shift
the burden of proof and require a woman who`s been brutalized over and over
again to prove her own innocence. So, I respectfully disagree that it`s a
legal technicality. And I think it will be a whole new trial when the
burden is actually on the government to show what happened in this
And frankly, if you widen back the stage a little bit, for the last six
months, for the last year of Ms. Alexander`s life, that`s what`s going to
be on trial here. And it`s not a pretty picture for the state.
HARRIS-PERRY: Is Angela Corey running for office in this moment? Like, I
don`t mean, as she actually signed up on a ballot, but I`ve got to say, I
am stunned by what feels like a certain kind of enthusiasm for prosecuting
this case. She did not shoot her husband. I know -- and we talk about
this for a second.
But there was no one who at the end of that incident who was shot. She had
a newborn child. This feels like -- and, Ari, maybe you can help me here,
because I think that people understand the sense of fairness and justice on
the one hand and then law on the other. And that are disconnect in this
moment feels very extreme.
MELBER: Yes, I think, look, this case got a lot of attention as people
around the country learned about what "Stand Your Ground" can do to the
self-defense doctrine and how it is applied and like how so many other laws
and elements in the legal system, we see it applies with racial disparity.
I think the biggest issue is actually mandatory minimums. That`s why we
see such a huge amount of jail time on the table, which we know prosecutors
use to, I would say, bully and push defendants. And I think mandatory
minimums, we know, from the studies that we`ve seen, while technically
automatic, are actually applied far more often in the case of African-
American defendants than defendants who are white. We know that.
That`s a different question than what`s going on on the inside of this
case, which you`re going to try, and which like all cases turns on facts
and law. But when you broaden out to the systemic level, this is an area
where these things are used more aggressively against certain types of
HARRIS-PERRY: I hear you. But it does feel to me, though, and, Seema, you
said this is not what`s going on. But it feels to me like part of what
happened in the Zimmerman case, was there were a set of jurors who
fundamentally understood that Mr. Zimmerman could feel afraid at night in
the rain facing the person, the physical body, that was Trayvon Martin.
HARRIS-PERRY: And that part of what the disconnect here is, is that it is
as though this woman, a brand-new mother who has been in circumstances of
domestic violence and assault by this man, shouldn`t have been feeling
terrified and afraid.
IYER: OK. Because, Melissa, you have to look at that moment in time. At
that moment in time, during the confrontation between Rico and Marissa, at
that moment in time, she left, OK? She left that location. She had to
travel through the master bathroom, to the living room, through the
kitchen, into the garage.
She said the garage could not be opened. She said she could not go out the
front door or the back door. So, at that moment in time, she then
collected the gun, went back into the house --
HARRIS-PERRY: But why does she have a responsibility to get out of this
circumstance when Mr. Zimmerman -- seriously, as a matter of law.
IYER: I`m not talking about the law. I`m talking about what it says, the
self-defense statute says that imminent fear of bodily harm, at that moment
in time. So, by lapsing and going into the other room and taking a break
in the sequence, that to me, under the law, is not self-defense.
HARRIS-PERRY: And yet, and yet, Seema, before we get to Marissa Alexander
and talking about the question of the victimization of sexually trafficked
girls, isn`t this precisely the kind of argument where people would say --
well, you weren`t locked up, there wasn`t a gun to your head, why don`t you
IYER: Oh, that -- I agree.
HARRIS-PERRY: It feels very connected in the sense of how these long-term
aspects of victimization of women, then in the moment of the court, you`re
suddenly not meant to take into account any of those --
HAYWOOD: Right, right.
HARRIS-PERRY: -- contexts.
IYER: What you`re getting at, and it`s terrific, because it`s what we were
saying about this whole domestic abuse syndrome, this syndrome, this
psychological experience of the battered woman, why does she go back over
and over again? And through time in the court system and in psychological,
that`s translated into rape trauma syndrome, the experience of the rape
victim. Why doesn`t she report right away? Why does she go back and
continuously get victimized?
Again, go further into this idea of sex trafficking, and why now, we allow
experts to testify about the brainwashing of the prostitute, and why she`s
HAYWOOD: But when you say prostitute, when you talk about a sex worker,
there are many levels of sex workers and why women are engaged in sex work.
I also think you have to look at, when you -- like, who`s the victim? And
you`re talking about rape.
Rape is one extreme over here, and there are many women, across this --
globally, globally who are involved in sex work, and it is about their
survival and it is about feeding my kids. It`s about paying my rent and
it`s the decision that they make.
They don`t feel raped.
HAYWOOD: They don`t feel -- they don`t feel compromised, but what they do
feel is victimized, sometimes by the very systems that are in place that
are supposed to protect them.
HARRIS-PERRY: We do have to stop. I don`t want to stop. This is like --
I`m having a -- this is like the feminist graduate course I want to teach
all day afternoon.
But that said, we will be keeping our eyes very, very closely on the case.
Obviously, the question of whether or not justice can now be done is key to
all of this. And we`ll also keep watching these questions around sort of
what happens for young women and for adult women who are in the context of
And you know, we`ll always have Ari at the table to have these
conversations. Thanks to everybody.
Ari Melber, whose series about inequities in the criminal justice system,
"Presumed Guilty," can be seen on MSNBC.com. Please go check that out.
Seema Iyer, Deon Haywood, and Faith Gay -- thanks to all of you.
Up next, we are going to shaken off and go a different direction. If
there`s a child in your life, bring her back in the room right now because
the woman behind "Doc McStuffins" is coming to Nerdland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTOON CHARACTER: That means she knows what`s wrong with you.
CARTOON CHARACTER: Boppy, you`ve got a bad case of the prickle thorns.
CARTOON CHARACTER: What?
CARTOON CHARACTER: Let`s put that diagnosis right here in the big book of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: That was a scene from the smash hit "Doc McStuffins," the
Disney Junior animated show about a girl who has a clinic for stuffed
animals and toys. Now, Doc was the number one cable TV show in 2012 for
kids ages 2 to 5. Not surprisingly, it was the number one free school
series in total viewers and among women 18 to 49.
Now, if you have a little one at home, odds are very, very good that you
are already familiar with Doc, Stuffy, Hallie, Chilly, and Lambie.
Or if you are a regular MHP viewer, you may also know, because we love to
talk about her on our show. We love to talk about Doc, because Doc
McStuffins is just all things wonderful and nerdy. Season two began
earlier this month.
And I`m very pleased to welcome to Nerdland the show`s creator and
executive producer, Chris Nee.
All right. I`ve got all kinds of Nerdland questions.
CHRIS NEE, CREATOR, "DOC MCSTUFFINS": I`m ready for it.
HARRIS-PERRY: Why is Doc McStuffins black?
NEE: It really was a very early discussion with Disney. I think it was
the very first discussion when they bought the show. There was no artwork.
They said, look, we`ve been looking for a property that has someone of a
different race. I said, you know what, that sounds great.
And I think my lesson to everyone else is it`s such a simple decision to
make. We don`t think about it anymore after that. You create a great
character. We made this decision. And now, we see how that impact has
just sort of trickled out into the world to make sure that we have
representations of all different kinds of kids so that kids can look at
themselves and see themselves on TV, which is so important.
HARRIS-PERRY: Why is Doc McStuffins` head so big?
NEE: That is a very good question that has come back to haunt U.S.
although, she looks good in her walk around because they always have big
heads. It kind of looks normal.
Look, she`s a very smart girl. She needs a place to put all those brains.
HARRIS-PERRY: Now, Doc is a doctor, as is her mom.
HARRIS-PERRY: But Doc McStuffins dad is a stay-at-home dad.
NEE: He is.
HARRIS-PERRY: Why is he staying at home?
NEE: You know, we knew that we wanted to have a doctor in her life, and
with so many pieces in this puzzle, it was easy to make the dad the doctor.
I said, no, I`d rather that be the mom. what happened was even for myself,
we started writing the show and there has to be a parent at home because of
the age of the kids.
I kept writing that the mom was at home. At some point I was like, did she
go to medical school in, like, Tijuana? She`s -- no doctor would be home
It was this moment that I had to really check myself and say, OK, if she`s
a doctor and she`s a successful doctor, dad needs to be at home. Some day,
we`ll learn he has a catering business, but I also think it`s great that
he`s at home and cooking and taking care of the kids.
HARRIS-PERRY: I do too. I wonder if there`s ever going to be -- you know,
we do a lot of black hair segments. I wonder if there will be a moment
when dad has to contend with, you know, Doc`s hair.
NEE: Yes, deal with the hair.
Actually, that`s more of an animation issue. We`re trying to get the hair
in there. There are a lot of things we`re working on. But the animators
might kill me and now you? I`m just going to blame you when I say let`s
animate each strand of hair.
HARRIS-PERRY: Let me ask you this. There are some real Doc McStuffins in
the world, the Artemis Society. And so, you know, your point. Well, we
didn`t mean to make her black. Once we did, it`s had an enormous ripple
How have they responded to Doc?
NEE: It`s really been an extraordinary experience. I mean, people have
asked me, did you expect to have this impact? And it`s like, you know, the
level of hubris, if I were to think that my cartoon was going to start a
movement, would be like rolling down the purple carpet. You know, I
couldn`t imagine that. But they bring such meaning to this show.
And, they -- you know, these women are reacting as adults, really. I mean,
they want to say it`s for their kids, but when you talk to them, they`re
reacting as adults saying that`s the character I never saw of myself. And
we see how one decision and one character can make a huge difference.
There was one doctor who said to me -- and the show had only been on the
air for about six months. So, she was a doctor watching the show with her
son. Her son turned to her at one point and said, mommy, can boys be
doctors too? Of course, my answer would be like, maybe some day, son.
HARRIS-PERRY: When they give up their catering business and doing the hair
NEE: That`s like a seismic shift that happened in six months. It took one
character to put us in a place -- and all of these doctors I just did an
event with them recently. They say, you know, for the first time in our
professional lives, I walk into a room as a doctor and people don`t assume
I`m a nurse. That`s amazing.
HARRIS-PERRY: Right. People expect to see them.
We`re over time, but I have to ask one quick yes or no question. Does Doc
McStuffins support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act?
NEE: She has no comment at this time.
HARRIS-PERRY: Chris Nee, thanks so much.
That`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`m going
to see you next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
Right now, it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT."
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