OTR Interviews

Anatomy of White House deception and contempt for Americans' intelligence: Why Pres. Obama had to know millions would lose their insurance under ObamaCare

Karl Rove takes on Pres. Obama's repeated claim that Americans could keep their insurance under ObamaCare - and the ultimate White House admission that it wasn't true


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a FOX News alert. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has just announced a new date. She has now agreed to also testify before the U.S. Senate. On November 6th, she will be there. That's the date she will appear before the Senate Finance Committee. And tomorrow, of course, she testifies at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.

And right now, how is it that President Obama seems to be the last to know? Isn't he president? Isn't ObamaCare his signature program?

First, it was the rollout flop and now --


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: According to news reports, the Obama administration knew for at least three years that millions, millions of Americans would not be able to keep their health coverage.

REP. ERIC CANTOR, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Now, we know this morning, is the president knew these letters were coming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president kept saying, you know, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Your premiums will be going down. But, in fact, the letter is completely contradictory to that.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period.

First, no matter what you've heard, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor under the reform proposals that we put forth. If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep it.

If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. I don't want to interfere with people's relationship between them and their doctor.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As the law states, if you had a plan on the individual market that you wanted to keep, you could keep it, but the law could not order insurers not to cancel that plan.

HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIR DARRELL ISSA: Breaking the president's promise that if you like the care you have, you could keep it. Hell no. The Affordable Care Act in its very rules are guaranteeing millions of people will be thrown out off the health care they want.


VAN SUSTEREN: Karl Rove joins us.

Nice to see you, Karl.


VAN SUSTEREN: Karl, the president is getting a lot of heat for that comment because people are saying that he knew people would lose their health care plans. I'm not so sure that he actually knew it, that he was that connected to it. I don't know if that makes it worse that he was that disconnected from the actual rollout or that he knew and looked the other way. I don't know which is worse.

ROVE: That's a good point. Though, he had to know. On December 19th of 2009, the Congressional Budget Office sent to Congress a letter this was also received at the White House that said, between eight to nine million Americans are going to lose their employer-provided coverage. They thought that would be offset by six million people getting coverage by their employers who previously had not gotten it. But page nine says that, black and white.

March 20th of 2010, just as the bill was getting ready to be passed, on page 10 from a similar letter from the Congressional Budget Office Joint Committee on Taxation, again, they say between eight to nine million people will lose their employer-provided coverage. And that would be offset by some number of people, six to seven million people, getting coverage they would have previously not gotten. But eight to nine million people would not be able to keep what they got.

April 22nd, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services at the Department of Health and Human Services says 14 million people, page seven of their document. These are all people getting the employer-provided coverage.

We also knew right from the get-go that people in the individual market, who bought it themselves, they would not be able to keep their coverage, a large number of them, because every one of those policies was going to be subject to a new series of rules and regulations that were going to add to the cost of those insurance policies. And private estimators suggested that a large number of the individual market would lose their -- would lose their options.

So the president knew this. You are right, Greta. What's disturbing? If he did know it, how undetached are he and his people? I mean, that West Wing is stuffed with a lot of smart people. How unglued are they? How ignorant are they of what's going on? If he did know, how cynical and deceptive was it for the president to keep saying what he said, which was, if you like what you got, you can keep it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, a couple things. All those letters were released to the media. We all get copies of them. And none of the media organizations were particularly moved by those. They just ignored it and they are willing to accept that sound bite that everything is going to be - - you know, if you liked your plan you could keep it. But let me just say -- I guess, this sort of folds into it, too, that now what we are learning tonight Ed Henry is reporting that CGI, which is one of the main contractors for Obamacare, and that they warned in a confidential memo a month earlier that there were problems with the site. Did he not know that or did he ignored that and enforce the October 1st rollout. None of this - - I don't know which is better.

ROVE: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it he ignored a report or that he didn't see a report when he got warned?

ROVE: Yeah. Yeah. Look, I think there are two big questions here. Let's take the first one about the speeches. It may be representative of something. Inside the White House, every remark made by the president, every prepared speech, no matter how important or how routine, is reviewed by the top advisors to the president in a process generally overseen by the staff secretary. Literally, every day that I was at the White House I would get these little slips of papers attached to a draft speech, some would be modest remarks about a sports champion coming to the East Room. Others were major addresses. Every member of the president's senior staff had to read these, review these, and make comments on them. So, the president's people had to know, like the president knew, that this was wrong, that the president couldn't say, if you like what you have got, you can keep it. And yet, for years, smart people like Bill Daley and Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod and David Plouffe read these speeches. Knew it was wrong. And none of them said to the president, Mr. President, your credibility is on the line.

VAN SUSTEREN: Something is really weird here, Karl. I know that I work at FOX. Some think it's a big FOX conspiracy to get the president or something. We all sort of same situation about the ridiculous thing about the video of Benghazi that that assume how sparked the activity at the consulate. It's patently absurd and it kept getting worse. And the late as I think September 25th --

ROVE: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: -- after the 11th, before the U.N. At some point, don't people at the White House know we have videotape? I mean, like whatever they say we catch. And at some point, do they think that we're not going to see this?

ROVE: Yeah, look, I take away from it that they simply have contempt for the White House press corps and contempt for the intelligence of the American people. Their view is, if we simply say it enough, if the president goes out there and says, if you like what you got, you can keep it, that that's going to be enough. If they can go out and say, it was that phony video of Benghazi and say, what does it all matter, we're not going to address that any longer, because they can get away with it. Look, it's corrosive of the president's credibility. But it's also corrosive of our general trust as Americans in the institutions of our government.

There is also another problem here, Greta, which is, if they are as sloppy on this on what they say, how do we know that they are any better on what they do. There is also a policy process inside the White House, and too much of what the president does seems to be haphazard and, you know, sort of thrown together and spur of the moment, whether it is foreign affairs where he says, two years ago, it's time for are Assad to go, and has no plan to do so, or the stimulus where he said, I want to stimulate the economy, but I'll let Congress write the bill, but it ended up being a stupid bill that did not stimulate the economy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Today, I particularly appreciated the woman testifying who is head of CMS, because she apologized. I actually can accept, you know, when people make mistakes. It's tough to be president. It's tough to be any of these jobs. They are really rough -- and if you make a mistake. But when you keep telling us and, in the face of reality is something different, it does, at least for me, undermine my confidence.

ROVE: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, don't keep telling me something that just simply is not true, and then when you get caught with your pants down, at least say you are sorry and explain it

ROVE: Yeah. Look, let's be clear about this. This is not the only outright distortion, deception, untruth being said, told by the president about the Affordable Care Act. He also said our premiums would go down. They have not gone down. He said it would reduce the total amount of health care spending in the country. That's not true. He said it would not add a dime to the deficit. Instead, of borrowing --- sure it does. It borrows half a half a trillion dollars from the Medicare, which is going broke and is running out of money, and has no money to lend, and uses that to fund this thing. He said he would never raise taxes on anybody who made less than $250,000 a year. Yet, the bill is funded by half a trillion dollars in taxes on medical device companies, drug companies, hospitals, health care providers and insurance policies. All of those costs will be passed on to people who make less than $250,000 a year and more than $250,000 a year but happen to be sick. A lot of sick people, people who need a medical device or drug, a lot of those people don't make more -- make less than $250,000 a year.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what's so disheartening to me, Karl, is you and I really want the American people who are sick to get access to medical care. I really do. And to put a bum program up, all it does is sets us back so much further.

ROVE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: We really did need to do something about our health care system. People are hurting in this country.

ROVE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And we needed to fix it but having a bum solution is almost one of the worst things you can do, because now it sets us back.

ROVE: I tried to sign on to HealthCare.gov just before I came, and nine minutes after the last hour, the system is down at the moment and we are experiencing technical difficulties and hope to have them fixed in a hurry, they said. You are right. This is a bum program. This is just not a website. It has a whole bunch of perverse incentives in it, disincentives for people to work and disincentives for people to have quality health coverage, and disincentives for people to be independent in their lives and make their own choices. I don't like the government telling me -- I like my current health care program. I suspect, by 2015, I won't be allowed to have it. Aetna did allow small businesses like mine to renew our policy before 2014 before the deadline, so we don't have to face this disaster until 2015. But I'm really worried I'm not going to be able to keep the policies that I and my employees like to have. And that's --


ROVE: -- supposed to be the system, the solution to our problems is a solution that causes people to lose their coverage?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm going to take the last word on this. But I'm not worried about me. I have been pretty lucky. I will work it out. I really do feel there are so many people across America, middle income or lower- income or don't have jobs, they really needed a solution and if this one -- this one has created so many problems that it's really regrettable.

But I'm taking the last word on that, Karl. Thank you, Karl.

ROVE: Yeah. Better solutions were available.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.

ROVE: Thank you, Greta.