Interviews

Rep. Huelskamp: No Kansans enrolled in ObamaCare on day one

Kansas lawmaker on health care battle

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 4, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, you think that is bad, the home state of one this law's biggest cheerleader, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, might not be on board with this law.

Kansas Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp says that not one person in his state signed up for ObamaCare on day one. Now, I'm wondering what that could be, Congressman. Could it be that it was clumsy, there was the government shutdown? I'm trying to give every benefit of the doubt.

What was going on?

REP. TIM HUELSKAMP, R-KAN.: We're not for certain. We put out a call to see if anybody signed up. Since then, the first day, we couldn't find anybody according to the largest insurance company in the state.

Personally, I have been online waiting on hold virtually for 89 straight hours, still can't get signed up. It's not working well, so it might be the system itself, but I don't think there's much appetite in Kansas anyway.

CAVUTO: You have been on hold for 89 straight hours?

HUELSKAMP: I have been on hold since 12:01 a.m. I disagree with the president.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: That's a very expensive phone call. I hope it's a local call.

HUELSKAMP: Well, it's a virtually on hold on the computer.

So, members of Congress are supposed to sign up. I have been waiting to do my duty under ObamaCare, and still waiting, Neil.

CAVUTO: Well, the president says -- I can kind of see where he's coming from and others who argue, well, with any big system, there are going to be glitches. It just seems with the shutdown as well, we have got an unusual number of them.

They argue that just -- just wait this out, these will all iron out, these difficulties will work out.

You say what?

HUELSKAMP: Well, I say, go and see what is happening. Other Web sites not run by the government are not having these problems. They're having crowding effects, but they're still getting it done.

We had rollouts of major systems for Microsoft, and -- but when you have government running, it's not working very well. But I don't think there's much take-up in Kansas. Indeed, the biggest cheerleader in Kansas, our insurance commissioner, she said Kansans shouldn't be a guinea pig.

CAVUTO: Yes.

HUELSKAMP: She said wait two months.

I say wait a couple years. And that's what the Republican position today is in the House. Let's push it back. Let's put together something that actually works. And if that's really what we need to do, then we will go ahead and do that. But now it's time to delay it and wait a year for a big -- for the prime time.

CAVUTO: Well, where does that stand sir? You have just sort of read my mind as to in this great debate on the shutdown. The administration is not entertaining anything to do with health care pegged to this budget thing and I guess down the road raising the debt ceiling.

So, what are Republicans going to do tonight, this weekend? What?

HUELSKAMP: Well, we have sent, I believe, 12 bills to the Senate. The Senate has not had a vote since the government shut down.

I guess they're furloughed over there. But we're keeping open the parks. We're going to fund cancer research for children. We're going to fund emergency disasters. We're going to fund list after list of things. And the pressure is building. And 25 percent of the Democrats in the House have started voting with us.

And I think they're begging Harry Reid to let them have a vote. And we're going to open up this government one agency at a time. I think at the end of the day, the president is going to say, wait, wait a minute, I'm going to come to the table and negotiate.

But, right now, Reid and Obama have stated they want to keep the government shut down, and we're trying to get it back open.

CAVUTO: All right, sounds like you two are still fighting a lot. But who knows. We will see what happens.

Congressman, thank you, very, very much.

HUELSKAMP: You bet, Neil.

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