All-Star Panel: Evaluating the unintended consequences of ObamaCare

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 2, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Take advantage of these marketplaces. Folks need to sign up. We need community leaders like to you share with people what the Affordable Care Act means for them and help even more Americans sign up for coverage.

JAMES CAPRETTA, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: I think they are between a rock and hard place here. The time is very short and they are trying to take the health care law, ObamaCare, mainstream by any means possible. The country is very divided on it. It was passed on a very partisan vote.


SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: And now the administration is looking to it a lot of different places for help in selling the health care law as it rolls out, and now delaying a very important deadline that's going to be pushed back to 2015. So let's bring our panel to talk about that. Nina, I will start with you. We have had this news that the president has talked about librarians and we're hearing school teachers and all kinds of different places are going to be used to roll this out, convince people that it's a positive thing. But there's a lot of selling to be done, still.

NINA EASTON, COLUMNIST, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: They are mounting a massive public relations campaign to sell what is a very divisive law as we just heard passed on a mostly party line vote, and it's been a very divisive law.

I thought it was very telling that the baseball league and the National Football League said no thank you, because not only in terms of being part of this campaign, this informational campaign, because not only has this become, it's always been politically divisive. The question now is when it starts actually hitting people and they actually feel the effect of it will it become toxic? Before it was viewed as benign. So you get to keep you kid on your policy until they are 26th. People with preexisting conditions, you know, won't be bounced out of the system. It's going to extend either -- generally we talked generally about extending insurance to people who don't have it now.

But now we have studies coming out saying that healthy people, like a healthy 40-year-old, is likely to pay two to three times that amount what they are paying now if they are buying an individual policy. That's sticker shock. That's shocking. That's a really hard pill to swallow even if it means that people with preexisting conditions or sicker people might be paying less. So it's really going to be hitting people hard.

It's interesting, as you alluded to, they are also having issues with businesses. And they have now pushed back the deadline for businesses to comply with the mandates and that for a year as we were just kind of joking around the table here until after the 2014 election.

BREAM: Yes. This is the 2015, the employer mandate, which is that they have to provide certain coverage for employees is moved back to 2015. What I want to read you a little bit of what Senator Barrasso had to say, he's a Republican, also a physician, said. "Delaying the employer mandate is a clear admission by the administration that the law is unaffordable, unworkable, and unpopular. It's also a cynical political ploy to delay the coming train wreck associated with ObamaCare until after the 2014 elections." I'm guessing you wouldn't use the words train wreck for this?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: No, not at all. I think Senator Barrasso, on Saturday it was Pat Roberts, the senator from Kansas, they are all saying, oh my gosh, the world is about to end. The sky is falling. Nina says people thought this was sort of benign when it was about the fact that your kids could stay on your insurance policy as parents or people with preexisting conditions -- you know, I think for some people and especially Republicans, this has always been the end. They don't like it. They have been consolidated in their opposition and permanent, and they are now trying to make sure that it has a bad launch.

BREAM: But what about the hard numbers that Nina cited, this piece today, and there are many studies that are coming out that say healthy people are going to have to pay a lot more, because universal coverage isn't free. That doesn't just come out of air.

WILLIAMS: No. But the fact is most people get their insurance through their employer, so most people aren't going to be affected by this.  So what we're talking about, and what the Journal did today was to take a very health, nonsmoking male, I believe he was 40 years old, and then to compare him to someone who is sick and what their rates would be under this new plan, and say, well, currently that healthy male would only have to pay a base fee. Now their fee is going to be pumped up because under this new plan, as you know, people who do have preexisting conditions, people who are sick are going to be included, and insurance companies as they compete will not be able to eliminate those people or say we won't cover you, so the numbers will go up some.

But, it's just not the case that, you know, everybody walking down the street is going to pay a higher fee or not be able to get to their doctor.  A lot of these doomsday scenarios, you know, some of them may come to pass Shannon. I don't know. But the fact is it's not going to be the sky is falling in the way that you hear.

BREAM: At least not until after the 2014 election, according to Charles. There is a connection there.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Cynicism is always the right assumption when dealing with this administration. I think Senator Barrasso is exactly right. The dates aren't accidental. And I would say, Juan, that the one person who called it that train wreck, ObamaCare, was not a Republican. He was the Democratic senator head of the Budget Committee, Max Baucus, who knows of which he speaks.

Look, what in the end the bill is, it's a massive transfer of wealth from young it to the old. Young people are going to be paying double and triple what would ordinarily be paying in health insurance if the premium were linked to the risk, which is the way that would be for the last 600 years in insurance. But it's not. It's linked to what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid agreed upon as the risk ratio, so they are going to be doubling and tripling and that's the effect. The free lunch part of this affair is now over.

BREAM: There's no such thing, first thing I learned in business school. Thank you, panel. That's it for the panel. Stay tuned for a reporter who did his very best not to become a part of the story but didn't exactly succeed.

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