• With: Charles Krauthammer

    This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 20, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Charles Krauthammer now joins us. He has that brand new book. This book is "Things that Matter." It's selling like hot cakes.

    Charles, I know you have a thought about "Duck Dynasty" because just about everybody across the nation does. Your thought on this "Duck Dynasty" controversy?

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS POLITICAL COMMENTATOR/SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, look, I don't think it's a First Amendment issue. The First Amendment is to protect against the government intrusion on speech, and the government is not involved here. This is an issue that we perennially have. What are the limits of speech that we police ourselves through boycotts, ostracism and firing? In terms of just a law, of course, any organization can let anyone go over anything that person says. The issue here is was this over the line. I think if you are doing a reality show, the essence of the show is to show these, shall we say, unusual people who are extremely popular because of their unusual mountain-man style, lifestyle, speech and all of that, then you shouldn't be shocked if you really hear something like this. So I think it's a huge overreaction everywhere. I think people ought to live -- the essence of a tolerant society is that you tolerate the discretions and lack of tact, and you don't lose your job or your show or whatever over that kind of thing.

    VAN SUSTEREN: One quick question about your op-ed today, the story of the year. What's the story of the year, Charles?

    KRAUTHAMMER: Story of the year is how the country and the nation is beginning to understand the degree to which ObamaCare is a revolution in medicine. It was sold as something that would simply make the current system, a private enterprise system, increase the competition and the fairness and all of that in fact. In fact, as we learn every day, as the Washington administration changed the rules, or to the insurers around, treat them as if they are wholly owned subsidiaries. This is a federal takeover of a sixth of the U.S. economy, which was what conservatives had been arguing from the very beginning. It was obvious it was the essence of ObamaCare. And now as it begins to be implemented, everyone is able to see it. And that's the reason there is such a tremendous reaction against it in public opinion, and I don't see that stopping.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know what? I think it's so interesting in terms the biggest stories of the year -- I think one of the biggest stories of the year is the fact that the media is now so surprised where, if it had done its homework to begin with, they wouldn't have been particularly surprised, because there's nothing new in the story except that the website was a flub.

    KRAUTHAMMER: I agree with you entirely. All of the essential elements that everybody is shocked about, the cancellation of the millions of plans held privately, that was all in the bill. It was -- a lot of it was actually predicted in the regulations. Right now, the regulations that the administration itself has issued estimates that there are about 50 to 70 million Americans who, in the future, meaning probably next year, have plans provided by employers that can be cancelled because they don't meet the arbitrary requirements the administration has imposed on healthcare plans. This was all in there. No one looked at that time. Remember, as Pelosi said, we're not going to know what's in it until we pass it. Well, we passed it. And now we are learning what's in it. And those who didn't look at what's in it, are all of the sudden shocked and dismayed. And that's the reason the Democrats are stuck with this. There is no way to un-do what is being done right now.

    VAN SUSTEREN: We only have 30 seconds left. In your op-ed, you said, "I don't care a whit for the insurance companies. They deserve what they get."

    KRAUTHAMMER: They are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the government. The idea that this is alternative to government control, which is the way it was sold, was a fraud. This is government control disguised as an independent system. But the way that Obama and HHS change the rules every hour on the hour is an indication of how little autonomy the insurers have. This is nationalized medicine. And we're now getting our first bitter taste of it.

    VAN SUSTEREN: Charles, thank you very much. Nice to see you, sir.

    KRAUTHAMMER: A pleasure. Thank you.