All-Star Panel: Can ObamaCare be fixed?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Stars


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 21, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You can get your questions answered by real people 24 hours a day in 150 different languages. The phone number for these call centers is 1-800-318-2596. I want to repeat that, 1-800-318-2596. Wait times have averaged less than one minute so far on the call centers.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: President Obama in full sales job in the Rose Garden today. We're back with the panel, now including Mara Liasson, National Political Correspondent of National Public Radio. A busy day at the White House. You were in the Rose Garden. What about this in the fallout that you are hearing over there in the White House where it's going?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, this is a big problem. And they have to get this fixed. This is not just about the most significant legislative accomplishment of the Obama presidency on which his legacy really rides. But this is about the whole premise that the government, a smarter government can do good things for middle class people. They have got to get people signed up. And the people who are the least likely to call a call center in 150 languages are the young people are used to doing things by computer, and they're the ones who have to sign up in order to avoid having this thing collapse of its own weight.

BAIER: 150 languages?  Wow.


BAIER: Senator Coburn said on "Meet the Press" that ObamaCare is going to fail on its own right because of essentially what you are saying, that the sick people are definitely signing up but the healthy ones aren't.

LIASSON: Well, you know, there are two parts to this. One is that the young people are the most likely to be deterred by these glitches or by these problems because they just want to push a button. That's what they are used to. One click and you get something from Amazon.

There's another issue, which is this penalty, which is $95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater, for the first year. The dirty little secret about this is there is no way to enforce this. The only way -- the IRS is banned from coming to your house and taking your $95. If you apply for a tax refund, they can clip you the $95. But that's it. So there is not an incentive in the form of a penalty to get to you sign up, and there is no, at least right now, an easy way for you to sign up if you are young and healthy.

BAIER: Yeah, will heads roll over this whole debacle? And Democrats and Republicans are calling about that. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, was asked about Secretary Sebelius this weekend.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your reaction to Republicans calling for an investigation, calling for Sebelius to step down?

NANCY PELOSI, D-CA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: That's ridiculous. But, nonetheless, do I think what has happened is unacceptable. It has to be fixed. And that's what will happen, and I believe when the president comes forward he will have what the fix -- how it has been fixed and what the process is from here forward.


BAIER: We didn't hear how it has been fixed but Secretary Sebelius she's going to testify now next week. Pete, what about this?

PETE WEHNER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It's going to be tough testimony. She has been avoiding it. She has been finding scheduling conflicts. I understand why. There are going to be really hard questions she won't be able to answer. I think whether she stays or leaves is somewhat beside the point.

This is an indictment, not just of the Obama administration, which is important enough, but this could be a kind of political inflection point because you have to remember that this is the kind of program that liberals have been aiming for half a century, this kind of ObamaCare, getting universal health care coverage though, in fact, this doesn't provide that but the idea of it. And they are attached to the hip at this. And if this is -- they got what they wanted. It was all Democratic votes. And if this kind of chaos keeps going and the trauma that the American people have, this is going to really hurt liberalism.

BAIER: Jim, it's ironic that for all the back and forth over the fight over ObamaCare and the shut down the debt ceiling increase, ObamaCare itself may be the thing that delays ObamaCare.

JIM ANGLE, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Correct. They have so many problems. I mean, if the president were going to write a book about this, it wouldn't be "The Audacity of Hope," it would be "The Audacity of Hype," because the administration has gone out and sold this product, and now people start looking at the rates, and everyone except in the states where regulations were already high, premiums were already high is going to experience sticker shock. We know that from dozens of examples in 40 states.

BAIER: Does it get delayed?

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: I think it does get delayed. I think it's in part because the people that are hurt the most are in the middle class and they are the ones the White House worries about the most.

LIASSON: You are talking about the individual mandate being delayed? I think it's possible that the enrollment period might be extended. I don't think the individual mandate is going to be delayed.

BAIER: OK, that is it for the expanded panel. But stay tuned for Bing results and an example of why it's always important to match the images with the story in TV.

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