All-Star Panel: Is ObamaCare unraveling?

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 8, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have made clear all along, when it comes to working with states that we are flexible with the way that they implement the Affordable Care Act. The decision to postpone implementation of this provision of the Affordable Care Act will have no significant impact on implementation overall of the Affordable Care Act. And that's because we are interested in getting it right.

SEN. BOB CORKER, R – TENN.: There was supposed to be a technical corrections bill at the end of this that never occurred. And what we're seeing right now is the many flaws coming out in this piece of legislation.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, ObamaCare continues to have some changes, basically regulations and rules coming from the Health and Human Services Department, the HHS. Now, more than 20,000 pages of those rules defining ObamaCare.

We're back with the panel. A.B., one of those came out late Friday, a holiday Friday, which said that essentially 16 state-run exchanges can take people's word for it until 2015 on whether they qualify for -- whether they get affordable insurance from an employer or not, in other words, if they make the exchange in order to get federal subsidies.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, there have been some back and forth on what the HHS is going to do. It's not that we'll be completely unverifiable, but there is going to be a delay in verifying whether or not you have that option, not necessarily -- they will track your income, but whether or not you have the option through your employer.

Really, essentially, without confusing anyone anymore, let's talk about the fact that the exchanges, which are supposed to be up and running October 1 and are not on track to do so, are supposed to enroll young and healthy people. That is the measure of cost control. So even if you try to slide this so you bring everyone in because they are going to get all these subsidies and it's not verifiable and it sounds so appealing, you are still bringing in people with preexisting conditions who are shopping for insurance, gaming the system if they look to do that. You are not bringing in young, healthy, new consumers. And that is still the goal, that's the lever by which this whole system is supposed to control costs.

So the administration -- it might be a blatant play at more enrollment, but it's still not going to end up meeting the goal, which is so that the costs are controlled you have a big broad pool. It's still going to be a pool of people who have conditions trying to get the best plan.

BAIER: Right. And these changes are happening. We have the employer mandate pushed back. We have a letter from Senator Hatch that says why is the administrator asking for 107 percent for the federal subsidies before anybody has been paid $1?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Because the entire enterprise was a gigantic bait and switch. The administration tried every gimmick in the book so that the president would say ObamaCare won't cost the treasury a dime. He said it again and again. And anybody over the age of nine would understand that if you are going to increase – if you're going to give health insurance to 30 million new Americans, of course it's going to increase the costs. It's a law of nature. But they pretended with all the gimmicks and all these postponements and suspensions are now the parts of the bill that are either going to raise revenue or control cost.

The employer mandate was a way to get the fines or the insurance provided by the employer. So that's out of the way. It's going to increase the cost. Well, it was postponed now, which was a way to know if somebody is cheating in getting a subsidy in the exchange is out the window. It's going to be enormous amounts of abuse. And the idea of enrolling young people, there is no incentive if you are a 20-year-old to spend a fortune on a plan with all kinds of bells and whistles when you pay a fine and it's cost effective.


KRAUTHAMMER: So what we're going to end up with is a bill that's going to be implemented because they're going to hook people on the exchanges and the subsidies with all the fraud and abuse, and once people are getting that we're going to have to raise taxes hugely as a way to cover it as it is done in Canada and in Britain.

BAIER: It's important to point out, that as A.B. mentioned, you can still check income whether they qualify, but whether they have insurance through their employer is the part that's getting pushed back in these 16 states.

Bottom line, Fred, this is kind of like a quilt work of different states. It's all different because they didn't all sign on together.  Where does this go? Does this actually launch in October and then January 1st 2014, do you think?

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Something will launch in October. I'm not sure what it is. Jay Carney said they are interested in getting it right. They are mainly interested in getting it going, however, you know, whether it's ready or not. And they are going to have something, and they are going to be handing out subsidies.

And the truth is, it is almost impossible once you are giving somebody money to get that back. Look what happened on the farm bill. What was the farm bill was about, food stamps? The food stamps eligibility has increased incredibly, first under George W. Bush and then in the stimulus under President Obama. That failed. The original idea was to bring back some of that money. We don't need food stamps going to that many people, and to try to do any of that, it's impossible. You can't take the money back.  That's why they want to sign these people up.

So something will get going. It may not be a coherent, workable, health care plan, but -- health insurance plan, but, boy, they will be handing out the subsidies.

BAIER: And 10 seconds, A.B. Is health care the big issue in 2014?

STODDARD: It's absolutely the big issue and it's the one issue that unites the Republican Party with all its separate wings. So Democrats are really dreading defending this in a third election.

BAIER: That is it for the panel, but stay tuned for an effort at a video metaphor.

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