Earlier this week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) seemed to apologize for referring to the Affordable Care Act as a “one-size-fits-all federal government dumb-ass program” and “an awful piece of crap.” But last night, during an appearance on Fox News’ ‘On The Record,’ Hatch — who may face a Tea Party challenger in his re-election bid — doubled down on his description, saying that the law is “a lot worse than that”:
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, senator, you’ve been quoted in terms of the health care bill saying that it is an “awful piece of crap and a dumb ass program.” Now how do you really feel about it?
HATCH: I guess I should tell you how I really feel because it is a lot worse than that. It really is a bad piece of legislation, everybody knows that, including the president. I don’t see why he keeps pushing it. They know it is not going to work. If he gets reelected within a couple of years he will though his hands in the air and say it is not good. We have to go to a single payer system.
Hatch voted against the law, but was initially part of a group of bipartisan senators headed by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) who sought to build agreement for comprehensive reform. Hatch left the group out fear that they would endorse a public option and full-blown employer mandate, both of which were not part of the proposal or the existing health law. Then, as now, Hatch warned that those provisions would lead to single-payer health care. “If we go to a government-run system, I’ve got to tell you, everybody in America is going to be very sad,” he told Van Susteren in 2009.
During that appearance, Hatch also emphasized his willingness to work across partly lines saying, “I’ve negotiated with everybody from Henry Waxman, who is one of the most liberal members of the House, to Ted Kennedy, one of the most liberal members of the Senate. I’ve negotiated with both President Clinton and President Obama. I like every one of them.” Indeed, Hatch even supported an individual requirement to purchase health insurance in 1993, a measure he now vehemently opposes.