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Gov. Bobby Jindal on ObamaCare rollout, dysfunction in Washington; Reps. Becerra, Blackburn talk changes to individual mandate
Written by Chris Wallace / Published October 27, 2013 / Fox News Sunday
Special Guests: Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Marsha Blackburn
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," October 27, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
The troubled launch of the ObamaCare Web site front and center on Capitol Hill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is more than a Web site problem. And, frankly, the Web site should have been the easy part.
WALLACE: Designers of the site grilled by lawmakers on what went wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I logged on to create an account, was able to do so. I just never received a confirmation e-mail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it didn't work?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It didn't work.
WALLACE: An HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius under fire.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: The majority of people calling for me to resign, I would say, are people who I don't work for.
WALLACE: We'll discuss the ObamaCare rollout and the dysfunction in Washington with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who has a new plan for the GOP. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Then, a growing number of Democrats are demanding changes in the individual mandate.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: It should be a transition year for one year. There should be no fines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the president should man up and let us know who is responsible and who is in charge here and fire them.
WALLACE: We'll talk with the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Xavier Becerra, and the vice chair of the committee investigating the Web site problems, Republican Marsha Blackburn.
Plus, is the U.S. eavesdropping on world leaders' phone calls? Our panel weighs on the impact on foreign policy.
And, our power player of the week -- Fox's Charles Krauthammer on his 30 years as a leading voice of American conservatism.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Deep down I believe that ultimately, everything hinges on getting your politics right.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington. President Obama has ordered a tech surge to fix the problems with the healthcare.gov Web site. But even some Democrats are now calling for a delay in the individual mandate.
Joining us to talk about the rollout beyond the Beltway, a critic of the president's health care law, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who's chair of the Republican Governors Association.
Governor, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, R-LA.: Chris, thank you for having me this morning.
WALLACE: President Obama's troubleshooter on the ObamaCare Web site says that the problems should be fixed by the end of November. Here he is.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JEFFREY ZIENTS: By the end of November, healthcare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question: how realistic do you think that that target is? And is this becoming -- how big a problem do you think this is becoming to Democrats?
JINDAL: Chris, I think they'll eventually fix the Web site. But let's remember, this is the easy part. You know, the real critical issue is when it comes time to schedule your grandma's cancer surgery, what's going to happen then? I think this is symptomatic of a bigger problem, and I've long wondered, is this administration the most incompetent or the most liberal administration in recent history, I think this issue, this policy shows that -- to quote Hillary Clinton -- what difference does it make?
This is an incompetent rollout, but it's symptomatic of a liberal ideology that believes government should be running our health care. So, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Eventually, they'll fix the Internet problems. Maybe they'll bring in Al Gore, you know, the guy who says he invented the Internet, maybe they'll fix the Web site. But the bigger is, this is symptomatic. We don't need the government running our health care.
WALLACE: At least 10 Senate Democrats -- I repeat, Democrats -- are now calling for a delay. In some cases, it's weeks, some cases, months, and in some cases, a year, of the individual mandate. What do you think of the president just by the sheer weight of the problems is going to have to bow to that?
JINDAL: Oh, I think the pressure is only going to grow as we see more and more problems with the rollout. You're seeing fewer people sign up. More and more plans dropping. And now, hundreds of thousands of Americans, maybe even over a million Americans learning they're not going to be able to continue in their current insurance. As Americans find out, premiums are higher than they were promise. I think you're going to see more and more frustration build, more and more Democrats and Republicans calling for delays, for repeals. The administration has already delayed the employer mandate. It is harder and harder for them to enough why they wouldn't delay the individual mandate as well.
So, I think you're going to see Democrats and Republicans both responding to the failure of this policy. But let's remember, it's not just that they couldn't get the Web site right, it's just that this is a flawed approach to health care. This idea that government knows best, the idea that you will have a one-sized fits all approach.
This is what happened when you get government that's so vast, so expansive.
Remember what David Axelrod said, in response to all the scandals -- NSA, "The A.P." spying, the Benghazi, the IRS. He basically said the federal government is so vast and so expansive the president can't know what's going on. And that's what's -- that's what we're seeing with this rollout of ObamaCare as well. Once the government gets so vast, I'd argue it's almost inevitable you're going to have these failures, these kinds of mistakes, these kinds of problems.
That's why we as Republicans don't think it makes sense to let the bureaucrats in Washington decide how we'll get our health care.
WALLACE: Well, Governor, let's take a look at health care in your state. Twenty percent of the people in Louisiana are now uninsured. That's tied for fourth among states with the highest percentage of uninsured.
You decided not to run your own exchange, leaving it to the feds. You turned down the Medicaid expansion. Question: aren't you leaving a lot of folks in your state of Louisiana out in the cold?
JINDAL: Chris, I think we need to do health care reform from the bottom up. This is what we do in Louisiana. We're the only state that has a state operated network of charity hospitals. We transformed those. We had 10 state operated hospitals when I became governor.
Now, nine of those are public/private partnerships, saving taxpayers over $100 million, improving the quality of care for example in Baton Rouge, going from a 10-day wait to a 10-minute wait to get prescriptions. Six-month wait for cancer services in another city where they're seeing specialists now right now, to another city like Charleston where if you had a broken bone or if you need special service that a lot of times, you had to travel many miles, and now you can get that care locally partnering with the private sector. In our managed care and our Medicaid program, we took 900,000 individuals got them into private insurance plans where they're getting preventative care and primary care, again, saving taxpayers another $100 million improving health care outcomes.
If you believe the federal government, if you believe the Obama administration and all the numbers they put out, our uninsured rate with the exchanges and everything else, should be 6 percent or less. To us, it made no sense to expand Medicaid, where over for every uninsured person you're covering, you take more than one person out of private insurance. So I think if you let the states approach health care reform, we can do it better in a D.C.-based approach.
In Louisiana, we're not only putting more people on private plans. Not only are we reforming the charity hospital system, we're also going to have more people working in the private sector more than any time in our state's history. And you see average incomes going up. And that's really the best solution, is to give people good paying jobs and the ability to afford their own health care.
WALLACE: But, Governor, an editorial in your local newspaper, "The Times-Picayune", criticized you this week for refusing to take $16 billion in aid, in funding, for Medicaid from Washington. I want to put up some of what the paper had to say. The wrote, "Without the expansion, 242,150 poor Louisiana residents won't have access to the insurance offering the Affordable Care Act was designed to provide".
And they note that other Republican governors who opposed ObamaCare like you do, like Kasich of Ohio and Snyder of Michigan, are taking the Medicaid money to help the folks in their state.
JINDAL: Well, again, if we did Medicaid expansion in Louisiana for every uninsured person, covered more than one person would be taking out of private insurance.
Secondly, you would need 41 percent of our population, Chris, would be in Medicaid, I think you need more people pulling the carton in the cart. Third, it would cost my taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over 10 years.
This isn't free money. The Oregon study also shown that just expanding Medicaid doesn't necessarily improve health care outcomes. After two years -- this is a credible story, nonpartisan study -- showed no improvement in physical health care outcomes after two years of Medicaid expansion, just giving somebody a Medicaid card, not giving them health care access.
What we're doing instead, there was a "Lake Charles American Press" editorial also saying, praising our public/private partnerships, saying people are getting better access to special health care for the first time. We're going to have a level one trauma center here in Baton Rouge, first time, a level two trauma center in Lafayette, in New Orleans. We've got the V.A., LSU Children's Hospital, Tulane, working together on ultimately a $2 billion modern health care complex.
We believe we've got a better approach. Helping people buy better insurance, 900,000 out of an outdated paying for services, now paying for outcomes approach. We've got a better approach to provide services to those people. And, again, if you believe the exchange claims and I'm not sure they're going to hit these targets, but the uninsured rate in Louisiana will be below 6 percent. We think a better way to provide for that 6 percent is through the public/private partnerships, through value health (ph), not in a one-size-fits-all Medicaid program. And this money is not free.
WALLACE: All right.
JINDAL: Let's remind ourselves. I know people like to think it's free.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on this with you because you talk generally talk about better approaches. As we've pointed out at the beginning, you're just not the governor of Louisiana, you're also the head of the Republican Governors Association. And the RGA has started running ads saying, in effect, that the real impetus, the real progress, the center of the strength of the GOP is in the states, not in D.C. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JINDAL: In Washington, they love to talk about things, and very little if anything gets done.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY, R-S.C.: The hardest part about my job is Washington, D.C. But what I know is I'm not going to let Washington slow us down.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: America's comeback without a doubt is happening here in the states.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WALLACE: You said famously right after the 2012 elections that the Republicans have to stop being, quote, "the stupid party". You also say they have to stop just being anti-Obama. That is not enough.
Is that a problem with the GOP here in Washington?
JINDAL: Oh, absolutely. I think you look at the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. I think folks all across the country, Republicans, independents, and Democrats are frustrated. We as a party can't just be a party of no.
The only place you see conservative principles being applied today are in state capitals and local government, whether it's school choice, whether it's cutting taxes, taking on public pensions. Whether it's lowering the unemployment, growing the private sector again, here in Louisiana, we're setting records for the number of people working, but you're seeing that in 30 states across the country led by Republican governors. And that's why we need to show voters, conservative principles work, and to see them working, you don't need to look no further than our state capitals.
WALLACE: Well, you talked about conservative principles working, you have started something called America Next to try to come up with an affirmative, conservative agenda for the nation's problems. Given how poorly Republicans did in the 2012 election, whether it was with Hispanics, or young people, or single women, do you need a new, different, positive agenda to try to win those voters back?
JINDAL: Absolutely, Chris. Now, we don't need to change our principles. We don't need to become a second liberal party. But the whole idea behind America Next is we're going to offer detailed policy solutions consistent with our principles on issues like energy, on education, on health care, and growing the private sector economy, we need to win the war of ideas.
Prime Minister Thatcher famously said you've got to win the war, the debate of ideas before you can win the next election. We've got to be more than the party of no. Look, our country has got a critical decision to make. My generation needs to choose again or renew those principles of freedom to say the American dream and prosperity, that is a path forward.
WALLACE: Governor --
JINDAL: President Obama is offering more government.
WALLACE: Governor, we're running (inaudible). I mean, give me an example and don't get wonky on me here, give me an example of a new, fresh conservative proposal that we're not hearing now that you think would be more attractive to one of these groups that is not voting Republican right now.
JINDAL: Well, look, I think you see a lot of creativity around education reform at the state level, whether it's giving letter grades to public schools, holding people accountable on terms of student growth in terms of how they're learning, in terms of school choice, of dollars follow (ph) students into public schools, online school, private schools, independent schools, dual enrollment programs. I think it's also changing the way that we teach that for example in Louisiana, a child can start the day in a public school and take courses throughout the day from a multiple providers.
I think an education reform is one example. It's way to help empower every child in America to get a great education and pursue the American dream. Democrats are so beholden to teachers unions. They're stuck in a decade's old approach, top-down, one-size-fits-all learning. That's just one example of how we can contrast our conservative principles actually empower American families.
WALLACE: Finally, and we have much less than a minute left. I got to ask you -- 2016, you obviously got a lot of ideas about the future of this party, you say, the strength and the ideas of the party are coming from the states not from Washington. Why wouldn't you run for president in 2016?
JINDAL: Well, Chris, the honest answer I don't know what I'm going to do in 2016. I'd say two things. One, as Republicans, we've got a lot of elections we have to win before. Thirty-eight governors races. We've got a midterm elections.
But I've also say this, what's even more important than who's running is what we would do if we were to win the majority back and win the White House back. That's why America Next is so important. This is not going to be a super PAC, it's not about ads, it's going to be about policies, detail policies.
We must stick to our conservative principles. We can't just be the party of no. Let's offer a constructive alternative about how young people, about how every American can pursue the American dream, how prosperity lies in a growing private sector, not a larger government, not more government programs we can't afford.
WALLACE: But you're not ruling it out, are you?
JINDAL: No, I'm saying at this point I don't know and I think it's too early. I want to be focused on is winning that war of ideas, that debate of ideas. Let's go win that fight, then we'll deserve to be a majority.
WALLACE: Governor Jindal, thank you. Thanks for joining us today. It's always good to talk with you, sir.
JINDAL: Thank you for having me, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, the Obama administration says young people are key to the success of its health care reform program, but will they sign up?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I talked to the mom and, you know, my family and friends, and they're just like it's not worth it.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Are you scared off at all by the technical problems?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently, there are problems for other people, but I had a positive experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Fox's Peter Doocy reports, next.
WALLACE: All the focus on the problems of the healthcare.gov Web site is really about a bigger much: ObamaCare only works if young healthy people sign up, giving insurance companies more revenue to pay for the added benefits for older sicker customers.
So, we sent Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy to investigate how young people are dealing with the Web site the individual mandate.
DOOCY: Have you been to healthcare.gov yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I looked at it very briefly.
DOOCY: Just out of curiosity?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
DOOCY: Have you been to healthcare.gov?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DOOCY: And what brought you to healthcare.gov.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mostly, I was curious about it. I stopped in on it a little while ago to just kind of see if it was up and running and what I might be able to learn about the plans there.
DOOCY: And what were you able to learn?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, not a whole lot.
DOOCY: On the streets of D.C., we found just one young person who was actually enrolled in the new exchanges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was perfectly pleasant. I had no problems.
DOOCY: And even though glitches have plagued healthcare.gov so far, they will not prevent young consumers from signing up even eventually.
Are you scared off at all by the technical problems?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at all.
DOOCY: How come?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I trust that the government, especially Obama, will do everything that he needs to do make sure that it works.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'd probably go back and check it out again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would prefer not to pay a fine. I think I would put up with the, you know, the unpleasant system before I would give the government free money.
DOOCY: But there are some young people who say paying a fine will save them time and money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I plan on just paying the $95. I looked on some Web sites, other Web sites, some articles saying that how it's probably better to just pay the $95 and deal with it.
DOOCY: So the administration can't count on her, but for the Affordable Care Act to work, they need to hope that this year, 2.7 million others about her age are willing to pay the premium rather than pay the penalty -- Chris.
WALLACE: Peter Doocy -- Peter, thank you.
Let's bring in two lawmakers at the center of this debate. Here in Washington, California Congressman Xavier Becerra, head of the House Democratic Caucus. And from Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn, vice chair of the House Commerce Committee, which is investigating the troubled rollout of ObamaCare.
Congresswoman Blackburn, HHS Secretary Kathleen is finally going to testify, before your committee this week, on Wednesday, what are the one or two top things that you want to find out from her?
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TENN.: Well, we want to figure out from here is number one, how much money has been spent, is being spent, and is going to be spent on this Web site and on the problems that are there. And number two, we have privacy concerns with individual's information making sure they are going to be protected. And number three, we want to look at the expectations. What they expect people are going to see on this Web site and when? When they think it's going to be fixed?
WALLACE: Congressman Becerra, even as a supporter of ObamaCare, you've got to have questions for Secretary Sebelius. What do you think she needs to explain to the committee and to the American people?
REP. XAVIER BECERRA, D-CALIF.: Chris, perhaps the most important thing is to tell us when she really believes that we're going to have the Web site up and running the way it should. The administration, the president, everyone now is saying by Thanksgiving, people should be able to go through it.
BECERRA: That's going to be important because you want to give people the time to look over their choices, so that when they do decide, they're ready to go.
WALLACE: Here's how Secretary Sebelius explained the problems with the rollout this week. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: I think that their -- in an ideal world, there would have been a lot more testing. We did not have the luxury of that with a law that said it's go-time on October 1st.
WALLACE: Congresswoman Blackburn, are you satisfied with that explanation? Should Secretary Sebelius resign? Should President Obama fire her?
BLACKBURN: Well, we want her to talk with us before she is out the door. But I tell you -- the incompetence in building this Web site is staggering. When I am talking to health care officials an constituents, they're saying how can you expect the government to handle one sixth of the economy when there is this type of staggering in incompetence on a Web site rollout?
WALLACE: Congressman Becerra, accountability -- you know that if this happened in the private sector, somebody would pay with their job. There is not a chance in the world that this would happen at Apple or Google that somebody wouldn't be fired. Should there be accountability in the federal government?
BECERRA: No doubt there should be accountable. Anyone who got paid by the taxpayers, whether it's those private contractors who got taxpayer money, whether it's the health agency personnel who got money, or whether it's members of Congress who are responsible for the oversight this plan, everyone should be accountable.
But the most important thing right now is making sure we fix the website not fixate on the Web site. And certainly, I hope that no one is talking about shutting down something new now with the health care Web site, because what we want to do is see all those young people and older folks access good get health care.
A gentleman, Andrew Stryker (ph), who's been interviewed, who's from Los Angeles, my city, 34 years of age, three hours to get on that Web site. But what he also says is he saved $6,000 by getting on to this Web site and getting a new policy.
So, three hours, unacceptable. Six thousand dollars savings, that's what you want to see.
WALLACE: Well, look, as we --
BLACKBURN: Well, Chris, let me --
WALLACE: Go ahead.
BLACKBURN: Let me point out one thing. This is a continuation of hearings that we have been doing at Energy and Commerce since March of 2011. We've had a dozen or so hearings that focus on the rollout of ObamaCare. And what is troubling is that repeatedly, we have had administration officials, whether it's the secretary, Marilyn Tavenner from CMS, Gary Cohen from CCIIO who have said, don't worry, or even the contractors who said, don't worry, we're all on track.
And now to find out there was no in the end testing, saying we're not focused on the integration, and that people are being disenfranchised and money wasted, we find that portion of it unacceptable. And I think it is going to -- it does not bode well for what is going to happen to people when they get into the system.
WALLACE: All right. I want to -- Congresswoman, I want to move forward and we're going to get to exactly some of your issues because as we discussed with Governor Jindal, the Obama administration now says the Web site is going to be up and working by the end of November. But is only to give people two weeks to sign up by December 15th, if their health insurance has been canceled, and a lot of people are having their health insurance canceled, which raises the question -- does this whole thing, the enrollment, the penalties, the mandate, does it need to be delayed until they get everything worked up and to give people adequate time to get on the system and to figure out what health insurance they want, Congresswoman?
BLACKBURN: Yes, absolutely. We should have a delay. I wrote HR-2809 which is a one year delay of all things ObamaCare and there should be a suspension of the law to allow people to review this process and I'm pleased that so many Democrats are joining me now and saying, yes, indeed. There should be a suspension because there are too many problems not only with the enrollment but with the mandates, the taxes, the fees, and the penalties.
WALLACE: All right. Let's get into this, because a lot of people may not understand. There is not only an individual, there's not only an employer mandate, there is a coverage mandate that according to ObamaCare, each insurance policy sold has to meet certain standards for the number of benefits. And that's creating a problem. Let's put it in the screen.
Congressman Becerra, in your state of California, Kaiser Permanente canceling the policies of 160,000 people. That's half of its individual business. Florida Blue is terminating 300,000 policies, 80 percent of its individual business.
Is it fair to say to someone, look, this Web site isn't going to be up and fully running until the end of November, but you're going to have to decide on a policy by December 15th -- basically two weeks -- or else you will be uninsured because your old insurance policy was canceled?
I mean, why not do what the Senate Democrats are doing and just delay it?
BECERRA: Well, Chris, the good news is that Americans have six months to go ahead and enroll. If you enroll by --
WALLACE: But if your policy is canceled, then you're out of luck on January 1st.
BECERRA: And there we have to talk to those private health insurance companies who are dismissing people who have insurance. That's the beauty of this new health security law is that no longer will we see that because people now will have access to a choice --
WALLACE: By law, they have to take them out if by January 1st, their policy doesn't meet the ObamaCare standard.
BECERRA: Those policies which were policies that didn't give real good coverage may have to end. But if you applied by December 15, you're set. If you don't apply by December 15th, what you're typically going to find is that by January 31st or February 1st, or new policy will kick in.
WALLACE: You're uncovered.
Let me just ask you --
BECERRA: But remember, you've got 700,000 Americans who today have already applied.
WALLACE: They've applied. They haven't enrolled.
BECERRA: They've applied. They finished all their paperwork. So, now, they're just waiting to hear, and on January 1st, they will be able to start their coverage. And that means over 100,000 in California.
WALLACE: I want to bring up Obama's promise, his biggest promise as he was selling ObamaCare. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you've got health insurance, you like your doctor, you like your plan -- you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman Becerra, as I just pointed out in your state of California, 160,000 people are being kicked off by Kaiser Permanente because their plan doesn't meet the ObamaCare standard. The president is breaking that promise.
BECERRA: So, Andrew Striker (ph) from Los Angeles, California, 34-year-old male, is getting off of his current policy because it's not -- he's paying about $600. And what he found he got on the Web site was that he was going to save about $6,000 in the year. About 60 percent of the Americans who go on to the Web site --
BLACKBURN: Chris --
BECERRA: If I could just finish the point, Chris, of -- about 60 percent of Americans who go on to Web site will find that they will qualify for a plan that costs about $100 or less per month. That's far better than they have right now.
BLACKBURN: Chris, let me get into that.
BECERRA: They need to give it sometime so we can see it work.
BLACKBURN: I've got to tell you -- let -- here is a couple of things. What we're finding from the state exchanges where there is data is most of what you're seeing is the expansion of Medicaid. Already, we have Medicaid, a program with a $43 trillion unfunded liability.
So, set that part aside. And that's what they like to tell.
What you're talking about specifically with policies being terminated, we hear these stories every single day from something business owners and individuals, that individual market places being so adversely impacted. These individuals, you're exactly right, come January 1, they have no access to health insurance.
What we are seeking to do is to make sure that they -- if they do have something, that they are able to keep it. What the president said is turning out to be a falsehood --
WALLACE: All right.
BLACKBURN: -- because they are not able to keep that and they are desperate to figure out what they're going to do for coverage, and by the way, it is costing them more than they are currently paying because they have a policy that meets their needs.
WALLACE: Congressman --
BLACKBURN: And now, they're saying you can no longer have it. WALLACE: We're going to have to end this conversation, but guess what? It's going to continue and I also, Congressman, I owe you to come back to talk about immigration reform, which I promise we will do. And we will be watching this week to hear what Secretary Sebelius has to say to the congressional committee.
Thank you both for coming in.
BECERRA: Thank you.
BLACKBURN: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, our Sunday panel joins us to weigh in on the ObamaCare rollout. Is fixing the Web site the end of the problem or just the start?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are going to get it working as smoothly as it's supposed to. We've got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address these problems every single day.
REP. FRED UPTON (R-MI), CHAIR, ENERGY & COMMERCE CMTE: How can the administration punish innocent Americans buy forcing them to buy a product that many cannot afford from a system that simply doesn't work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Obama and House Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton this weekend both trying to spin the troubled launch of the ObamaCare website to their advantage. And it's time now for our Sunday group. Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst, Peter Baker who covers the White House from "The New York Times" and is the author of the new book "Days of Fire" about the relationship between George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Syndicated columnist George Will and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams. The president said this week the website may have problems, but the plan is just fine. Does that mean, Brit, that once they fix the website, as they said they will by the end of November that the problems will go away?
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- I think we can assume that the website will sooner or later get fixed and that hundreds of thousands of people will sign up using it. But the test, really, Chris, and the administration clearly noticed this, is whether enough young healthy people sign up to furnish the premiums, the money that will be (INAUDIBLE) for the older sick people who will need most of the care. We're seeing two things that suggested that may not be so. One is, that a lot of the signing up that's going on is for Medicaid. Medicaid, of course, doesn't bring in any money. It spends money. It's an entitlement. It spends money. The second is that all kinds of people are getting thrown off their insurance policies.
The president made this explicit, a promise as you can imagine on that, you showed it earlier on the program, that promise is being broken, it has been broken. And it's not clear how many of these people who were tossed off of their insurance policies will sign up for new ones. Many of them may choose to go without, or like the woman in (inaudible) may say well, I just pay the fine. So, I think that there is a serious problem here, not to mention the fact, Chris, and we have got all of these people, 26 and under who were in the sweet spot of the population they want, that is young and healthy who are staying on their parents' plans. So the question is, can they meet the revenue goals, and I think the real (inaudible) doubt then can.
WALLACE: Peter, as we said you cover the White House for that times, take us behind the scenes, how upset are they with this rollout. How -- do they even entertain this -- that they may have to as a lot of the Senate Democrats, at least seven, (inaudible) ten are now talking about delay the mandate weeks, or months, or even a year, and is Kathleen Sebelius is in trouble.
PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, I think they are upset, obviously. Look, this is the second term president now. In some ways, the best days of legislative behind him. The most important thing for a second term president is legacy, and the most important legacy for this president is certainly going to be health care. If he can't get this right, that's going to be, you know, the biggest problem for his presidency in history books.
WALLACE: A delay?
BAKER: A delay you would think would not be that big of a deal, with they are having to lay down the marker on it with Congress on the Republican shutdown, Republican government issues -- I think they have a harder time admitting that they want a delay, but they have not completely ruled it out.
WALLACE: And Sebelius?
BAKER: I think Sebelius at the moment is safe because they much like George Bush, like other presidents, they don't like tossing their people over the side under pressure. They feel like they are giving in to chattering classes where and I think they will resist that as long as they can.
WALLACE: As we said, the key, the business plan of ObamaCare depends on getting young, healthy people to sign up in private insurance to pay premiums to pay for all the benefits for older sicker people that ObamaCare is going to extend. But take a look at this, and Brit mentioned it just a moment ago. In Washington state, 35,000 people of newly enrolled 87 percent in Medicaid, in Kentucky, 26,000 new enrolling, 82 percent in Medicaid. In New York, 37,000 enrollment, 64 percent in Medicaid. George, the business model just plain doesn't work if they are signing up for government insurance, which means they don't pay anything as opposed to private insurance, where they pay the premiums the rest of ObamaCare.
GEORGE WILL, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You showed the graphic a moment ago about how many people are losing their coverage in California and Florida. It is possible. As more people since the first of October have lost their coverage than have signed up for the Affordable Care Act, the government program, in all 50 states. The premise of Obama care lost in Congress, they lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in the 2012 election. They may be winning now in the implementation of it. You mentioned ten Democratic senators who are for delay. The two candidates for the Senate, in Georgia and Kentucky, Democratic candidates, have now endorsed the delay. So, there is (inaudible).
WALLACE: And let's put up again those statistics. Just in case you didn't see them, because they are quite remarkable about the people who are losing health insurance, not gaining it. Florida Blue terminating 300,000 policies because they don't meet the new ObamaCare standards. Kaiser Permanente in California, 160,000 canceled, these are people who had health insurance in the individual market, who were happy with it, and they're being kicked off, because the new -- under the new ObamaCare mandate, that doesn't meet it. And to pick up on what George said, the House Speaker Boehner said, more people could actually lose health insurance in the month of October than sign up for it.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I get this sense, but people -- on the Republican side are enjoying this moment. But this is empty rhetoric. When you speak to the insurance executives in Florida, in California, they say they're canceling those policies, Chris, because ObamaCare has requirements. Ten categories or mandates for levels of coverage. The current policies don't meet them, so they have to cancel them, but they're extending -- they're extending offers to the very people who are losing them for better packages at lower costs with more benefits.
WALLACE: No, no, that's not true.
WILLIAMS: It is true. Let me just tell you something else that you said. You said oh, but, you know, January One, these people lose their coverage. In fact, the insurance companies are saying, we will make sure that on January One, you have coverage. This is not the apocalypse.
HUME: Juan, look, what about this -- the president promised explicitly, we heard it on this program, if you like the coverage you have now, you can keep it, period.
HUME: These hundreds of thousands of people evidently like the policies they had. Because they kept paying for it. They're now being told they can't have those policies any more. That they must -- they must have policies that involve coverage for things they may feel they don't need.
WILLIAMS: They're going to get better coverage, Brit, at potentially lower cost.
HUME: Whose idea of better coverage? Their idea or the government's?
WILLIAMS: They -- what they are offered, it may be their idea. Right now ...
HUME: It may be their idea.
WILLIAMS: Right now all that insurance companies are saying is, we don't need the requirements under ObamaCare, but we're going to offer you a better deal!
HUME: No, we're going to offer you a government mandated deal that may or may not be a better deal for the people involved. There are people who are elderly people who've been required to pay for maternity coverage.
WALLACE: We had to end this segment, I just to want to point out that we had a couple of weeks ago, a letter that a 62-year-old couple who have their own business in (inaudible) -- under the ObamaCare, they were losing their policy, the new policy, the cheapest policy they were being offered, the deductible was going to double to 5,000 a person. Visits to specialists, if one of them had to see a specialist, were going up from $35 a visit to $100 a visit, and their premium was going up. So, the idea that they are going to get more for less. You know what -- there is no free lunch. Panel, we have to take a break here, but when we come back, new allegations, the NSA has fired not just on our enemies, but also friends, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A Sunday panel debates what it means for the relationship with our allies, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I believe that ultimately, everything hinges on and getting new politics right.
WALLACE: But it is not just a book about politics. Krauthammer writes about his real passions.
KRAUTHAMMER: It shows the best of what (inaudible) can do.
WALLACE: Stay tuned, our panel will be right back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS KUCINICH, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN (D-OH): We know the monstrous national security state is the product not of a single party, but of a system of government.
GARY JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The NSA has made a mockery of our privacy values. There is a record of every cell phone call and every Internet transaction made in the U.S. today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Former congressman Dennis Kucinich and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson at a Washington rally yesterday calling for the end of government surveillance of Americans. And we are back now with the panel. Well, the latest revelation apparently also from NSA leaker Edward Snowden is that the U.S. government apparently monitored the phone calls of at least 30 world leaders including most infamously, of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was holding up a new encrypted cell phone to say you can't touch me now. (inaudible) there.
WALLACE: Brit, we've heard about mass data collection, but when you are talking about targeted, the phones of our allies, our friends, people that President Obama sits in the Oval Office with? And who are at summits with? Is that over the line?
HUME: Well, do we know if the phones were being actually listened in on, and calls recorded, and the substance of the calls noted or is this another case where yes, we have -- have her phone calls, we know who called her and whom she called and when and for how long they spoke? My own guess is that is that which I've just described, and moreover, this has been going on for a long time in one way or another. We spy on foreign leaders. They've spied on our leaders or tried to. We're better at it, perhaps, than they are, and they don't like it. And now that it's all out in the open, the people who are affected have to be indignant and we have to be appropriately apologetic and say that we didn't do it and we won't do it anymore.
WALLACE: The initial U.S. response, Peter of, you know, "Everybody does it doesn't seem to be holding. And let's put up some examples of that. Merkel and the French President Hollande are now asking for new agreements with the U.S. on spying. And we should point out that the president had to get on the phone and just hold it there for a second, guys, with Merkel and Hollande this week to apologize, and Merkel and Brazil's president who was also spied on, are pushing the U.N. resolution on Internet privacy. How big of a deal is this in the White House, Peter?
BAKER: Oh, I think it's a big deal. I mean, you know, Brit is right, this is hardly the first time that we have spied on friends and allies. I remember during the Bush administration it was revealed that we were spying on the U.N. delegations at the very moment in 2003, we were looking for their support on the Iraq resolution. But it's one of these things where the government don't like to talk about it, they don't like to confront it. It's certainly a blow to German pride, the French pride to suggest that Americans are able to and willing to do that. And I think, you know, it is interesting that the president's -- the people have told the Germans that he didn't know about this. But Jay Carney said we are not doing it now. We will not do it in the future, he didn't say we weren't doing it in the past.
WALLACE: It started under George W. Bush, but it continued under President Obama.
BAKER: It did. And he said, he would change that (inaudible), this is the interesting things -- there is more continuity from President Bush to President Obama on some of the security issues than a lot of people would have imagined. And that's, you know, it's -- there is a lot of blow back now for the president with his allies.
WALLACE: George, is it fair to say that the rules are changing on spying on our friends at least?
WILL: A new technology has given government new powers. We know about governments as they use the powers they get. I'm more sympathetic to Angela Merkel than I think, Brit is. I don't think her indignation is synthetic, and I think to understand it, you have to understand that she was born in 1954 in East Germany, she grew up under the surveillance state administered by the Stasi, the secret police. If you want to understand that, go to the movie, go to see the movie "The Lives of Others." 2006 won an Academy Award as the best foreign language film.
HUME: I have seen it.
WALLACE: Pretty good, pretty scary.
WILL: So, evidently, did Mr. Snowden who reportedly was influenced by this. Certainly, we know that -- Bill Buckley saw it, and he said in -- afterwards in a column he wrote, I turned to my companion and said that may be the best movie I've ever seen. If you want to understand how creepy this world is, understand what was like to live under a real surveillance state. WALLACE: I just want to point out that I was nowhere near Edward Snowden when I saw the movie and so I cannot be held accountable (ph) in this.
WALLACE: Juan, your thoughts?
WILLIAMS: No, the thing is, I was just watching Gary Johnson and Dennis Kucinich. I mean I'm curious, because there is no suggestion that Americans are being spied on. I mean the suggestion that the NSA is doing that is just -- that's not real. But NSA spying on Americans -- Let me say this, spying on ...
WALLACE: They are collecting phone records.
WILLIAMS: Well, yeah, but what we're talking about here is affecting foreign governments. And with the regard to Merkel and to all these others, I think that there is the sense, again, that the United States has superior technologies Peter was saying, and there is some wounded pride. But you can't ask people to stop spying. That's just not reasonable, not rational. And to say that President Obama, oh, we should somehow cut back now now, I just -- I think he is right to say he's ordered a review. He says they are going to have a review because there are things that we're technologically capable of now that maybe we shouldn't do. But it's not the case that we should stop spying. That's just ridiculous.
WALLACE: In the time we have, I want to pivot to another subject, because speaking of problems with friends, there's a real, serious dust up right now with, perhaps, our closest ally other than Israel in the Middle East, and that's Saudi Arabia. Our closest Arab ally who seems, George, to be increasingly unhappy with Obama policies when it comes to Syria and Iran and and Egypt. How big a deal is this?
WILL: It's a big deal when Syria -- which is long, sorry, Saudi Arabia, which is long (inaudible) on the Security Council, turns it down. Because they say the cooperation, the requisite cooperation with the United States is not possible because the president of the United States is not engaged, to put it politely, or reliable to put it candidly.
WALLACE: Well, and let's talk, I mean in the case of Syria, they're very upset because they feel the U.S. is not pushing hard enough to overthrow Assad. In the case of Iran, they are very upset with this new rapprochement with Rouhani, who is Saudi Arabia's big threat they see in the Middle East, and in Egypt, they think we are too soft on the Muslim Brotherhood.
WILL: It is difficult to overthrow Assad when you have made him an indispensable interlocutor in your negotiations over chemical weapons.
WALLACE: Peter, what are your thoughts about this dustup? How serious is the breech with Saudi Arabia?
BAKER: They're clearly making their feelings known. Not just with the Security Council seat they have now turned, but in newspaper articles and in leaks and so forth, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece this week about Prince Bandar, who used to be very close to the American establishment. It is a big deal, obviously, but what they're pushing President Obama to do, are things that President Obama doesn't have support here to do. He doesn't have support here at home to be more involved in Syria. We saw what happened a few weeks ago when he tried to do even a small military strike.
He is caught between those international dynamics where there is more agitation for more action in Syria because it's gotten so bad, and the domestic politics, which are not in favor of that.
HUME: A point that he just made, the president doesn't have the political support to do these things. In other words, the key point is the president is being asked by a foreign ally to do something hard. This president doesn't like to do things that are hard. He likes to do things that are politically easy. If it's politically hard, there is a great likelihood he won't do it.
WALLACE: And we should point out just briefly that Saudi Arabia had never been on the Security Council. They'd lobbied to be on the Security Council. They were elected to be on the U.N. Security Council, and then they suddenly said no, and one of their spymasters said this isn't a message of disapproval to the U.N., it's a message of disapproval to the U.S. Thank you, panel. See you next week, and remember, our discussion continues every Sunday on panel plus. And we're going to talk about ObamaCare. You can find it on our website, FoxnewsSunday.com. And make sure to follow us on Twitter, @foxnewssunday.
Up next, our power player of the week. For 30 years a leading voice for American conservatives.
WALLACE: In a town filled with smart people, Charles Krauthammer just might be the most thoughtful. You may not always agree with him, but it's always worth listening to what the influential conservative columnist has to say. Here is our power player of the week.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, COLUMNIST: You earn your living giving opinions. Which is quite a nice way to live, actually, because everybody has them, but for most people, they've given for free.
WALLACE: Charles Krauthammer is talking about being a pundit. Both in print and on television, he has been offering his trenchant, (inaudible), conservative opinion for nearly 30 years.
KRAUTHAMMER: Nobody worries or cares about what Obama says because it carries no weight.
WALLACE: Now he has put together a collection of columns and speeches called "Things that Matter." There is a common theme.
KRAUTHAMMER: The sense of the limits of human nature, the limits of power, and the limits of what the state government can do. Which I think would make you something of a small government conservative today.
WALLACE: You write that "politics is the indispensable foundation for things elegant and beautiful."
KRAUTHAMMER: Deep down I believe that ultimately, everything hinges on getting your politics right.
WALLACE: But it isn't just a book about politics. Krauthammer writes about his real passions -- chess, mathematics, space. Baseball.
Any common themes there?
KRAUTHAMMER: Yes. They're all quite useless in a mechanical sense, and elegant. Anything performed to a high level of beautiful form, whether it's walking the balance beam, or whether it's playing shortstop, it shows the best of what humans can do. I find it moving.
WALLACE: Krauthammer had a terrible spinal accident 40 years ago that left him largely paralyzed.
KRAUTHAMMER: There will be no is second round.
WALLACE: While he can type, he often dictates columns. It hasn't slowed him down a bit.
WALLACE: You write conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.
KRAUTHAMMER: Oh, absolutely.
WALLACE: He says liberals tend to be nice, but foolishly think that everyone else is nice, too. As for the flip side.
KRAUTHAMMER: Liberals imagine that to want to, for example, reduce food stamps or to cut back on the welfare, only -- that can only be advocated by people who are truly evil, and enjoy throwing orphans in the snow.
WALLACE: But the most astonishing column is one he wrote within hours of the attack on 9/11. He said we had entered an age of terrorism. A war with radical Islam that demanded a military response, not a judicial one.
WALLACE: You seemed to see the whole thing clearly within hours.
KRAUTHAMMER: This was a whole new kind of enemy. It was existential. It wants to see our destruction. It believes that we are inherently evil, exactly as the other isms did, and that we could not treat it like a crime.
WALLACE: Which is why Charles Krauthammer left his first career as a doctor. Because history was happening. And he wanted to be part of the flow.
KRAUTHAMMER: Tom Stoppard once wrote about the life of a writer in one of his plays. You spent your life putting words together. Every once in a while, you get them in just the right order, and it gives the world a nudge. That's what I live for.
WALLACE: Be sure to tune in next week for part two of our power player profile of Charles Krauthammer. We'll look at the terrible injury Charles suffered and his quiet resolve not to allow it to limit his life. And that's it for today, have a great week. We'll see you on the next "Fox News Sunday."
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