• With: Joe Rago, James Freeman, Steve Moore, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Matt Kaminski

    GIGOT: So that's the motive here? Reduce the individual market, push everybody into the federal exchanges because they need them to finance the subsidies?

    RAGO: That's partially it. The other reason is political control. When they're defining how health care's financed, they're also defining what kind of benefits that must be covered, what medicine actually is. And that's the other side of the coin.

    GIGOT: James, were you buying Kathleen Sebelius' "I take responsibility" here --


    FREEMAN: If the question is, what does it take to fire her? I wonder. Because this is really a Barack Obama production here. But I do think a vulnerability for her at that hearing -- she gave that November 30th date. Mike Rogers, the congressman, said, you need two months just to make sure it's secure, just to do the testing. This is another problem. As they try to convince young people to buy uneconomic policies, that they're now saying, is your data even going to be secure? I think this thing could unravel very quickly if young people don't sign up.

    GIGOT: Steve, what's the political response here, particularly from the Democrats in the Senate? Are we seeing them begin to get nervous about this? Any breaks with the administration?

    STEVE MOORE, SENIOR ECONOMICS WRITER: You know, we are, Paul, at least in Congress, not in the administration, and that's because, you know -- I think the website problems have been almost a distraction to the real problem here, which is this is trying to sell the American people on the Edsel. They're looking at the product now, they're finding that they're losing the insurance they want, the insurance they want, and they're being forced into something that --

    GIGOT: Right.

    MOORE: -- for many of Americans, will be more expensive. So what you're seeing is a lot of what we call the red-state Democrats who are getting very nervous about what the political impact of this will be.

    There are some people who think even on Tuesday's elections, in some of the states, it might be an issue, because people are just hopping angry about the product that is being forced upon them.

    GIGOT: Do you think, in the end -- I mean, the real danger for the administration in implementing this is you get a group of eight or nine Democrats who break off and say, look, we insist on a delay of a year, something like that. Is there any sign they're going that far yet?

    MOORE: Not quite yet, Paul. But I'm going to predict there will be a huge ground swell of support, not just in the Senate but some of the House Democrats as well, saying we can't live with this, we're going to have to put this off until after the midterm elections, which would mean a one-year delay.

    GIGOT: Joe, is there an opportunity for Republicans to cut in here and maybe offer an alternative that's better?

    RAGO: Right. You would think so.


    Look, the flaws and problems with this program are real. But this program is also creating an opportunity for them to offer a genuine reform alternative. Saying, look, you had these choices before. Here's what we want to do, X, Y, Z, to give you those choices back.

    GIGOT: Yeah, expanded choice, expanded doctor choices, networks, all of that.

    All right, thank you.

    When we come back, the NSA controversy grows as a new round of leaks pit the spy agency against the White House over who knew what about our overseas intelligence operations.


    GIGOT: New fallout this week from the ongoing NSA controversy as fresh leaks pit the spy agency against the Obama administration over who knew what about the surveillance of world leaders and as members of Congress demand an investigation and possible curtailment of the collection of foreign intelligence.

    We're back with Joe Rago. Wall Street Journal editorial board members, Mary Anastasia O'Grady and Matt Kaminski, also joining the panel.

    So, Mary, are you buying the claim that the White House has offered, that the president didn't know the NSA was listening in on world leaders?

    MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Paul, if the president didn't know, the U.S. is even in worst shape --


    -- than we thought all along. I mean, first of all, the NSA, everything they do is supervised. This wasn't some rogue operation. This is what they do.

    And, you know, a lot of the data we get from Europe is collected in this way, so --


    GIGOT: And also collected --

    O'GRADY: With the help of the Europeans, yes.


    So the idea that he didn't know about this suggests that he's either not being truthful or not doing his job at all.

    GIGOT: Yes, the implication of that -- there's this idea that the NSA is somehow a rogue agency like in a Hollywood film where they've got all these people going out on their own and listening to whatever they feel like, just because, well, it feels good, and we can do is, so we will do it. That's not really plausible.

    MATT KAMINSKI, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Well, the NSA came out this week, on Wednesday, at hearings with Jim Clapper, the head of National Intelligence, and Keith Alexander, the head of NSA, saying, one, first of all, everything we do, we get guidance from the White House. And, yes, we don't always say this information came from this tap. If it's something important, as we got it from the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, that will be fairly clear to the president when he's being briefed.

    GIGOT: So there's some discussion that what should happen is -- we have -- the United States has an agreement with five countries -- Britain, Canada, --


    GIGOT: -- Australia, New Zealand and the United States, five countries -- that we don't spy on each other and they share intelligence. Some people are saying we should include Germany and France in that group of five to make it a group of seven. Do you agree?

    KAMINSKI: No --


    -- because the Germans and France want to go there, but it's a special relationship we've had with the English-speaking world that's there. It's built up over decades of trust.