OTR Interviews

Rep. Gowdy: ObamaCare fiasco 'most predictable crisis in a long time'

House Oversight Committee wants answers on web development of botched ObamaCare site


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The technical problems piling up and still the Obama administration demanding a last-second change. Well, what was the change? Why did they do it? And did it make matters worse?

Congressman Trey Gowdy is on the House Oversight Committee. He joins us.

Nice to see you, sir.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Good to see you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, what was the last-minute change and why does it even matter?

GOWDY: Well, the last-minute change was they don't want your viewers to know what the real cost would be. They want you to get into the system, have the subsidy apply, so you never see what the actual cost is. And why does it matter? Part of that answer is a pretty complicated technological explanation, which I am wholly unqualified to give. But, the human nature part of it, I can explain pretty well. Greta, I don't know if you have ever been in a jewelry store that doesn't have their prices on the jewelry, it's usually not because the product is too cheap that they're embarrassed to put the price tag on it. It's because you would be shocked to know what it costs. They want you to know it, try it on, and envision yourself wearing it for the rest of your life, and then they are going to break the bad news to you. So they made a calculated decision that you would only see the cost after the subsidy applied. Now, subsidy is just a fancy word for other people's money. I mean, don't you -- I mean, I think my fellow Americans would want to know what the real cost of health insurance is, even if they are getting a subsidy. They would want to know this is what the product would cost if there were not a subsidy.


VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know if I agree with you. When I see cost, I usually want to know what it cost me. And I appreciate sort of the largess of other Americans and if I were getting a subsidy. But when I think of cost, I don't think of like sort of the grand cost. I think what does it cost me?

GOWDY: Well, Greta, I have spent enough time around you. I don't think you are being mayor with yourself. You are a very good person. And I think you would want to know what someone else was having to pay to subsidize, whether it's a car, a computer, or health insurance. If we're going to convince our fellow citizens that we have a crisis with respect to access and cost of health insurance, how you can possibly do that if they don't have any idea what the real cost is? I think by and large people are not selfish enough to only want to know, how does this impact me.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Here is the thing that I don't understand. They are so busy about sort of the finessing or polishing of the final product. That's the least of their problems. You know, you would think that one of the questions at the last minute wouldn't be, you know, let's yank the cost and just show them the product. I would think the last question -- I think the more relevant question is, does this thing work? And like that, I mean, I don't get -- like, was anyone not asking that question?

GOWDY: Well, you know they tested it. They tested it days before it launched on October the 1st. And it was an unmitigated disaster. So, you know, Greta, I come back to this kind of simple thought. This was not a pop quiz the Monday after spring break that was sprung on us. We had $500 million and three years to prepare for October the 1st, 2013. We knew that date was coming. And for political reasons, they did not want to admit that there were any issues. There were implementation issues when they tested it days before the initial launch. But for political reasons, they didn't want to concede that they just rather deal with the aftermath. They would rather explain why it's not working than postpone it, because, after all, that's what the Republicans asked is for a postponement. But this is the most predictable crisis in a long time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly is a mess.

Congressman, thank you, sir.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.