OTR Interviews

McCain: ObamaCare is the ultimate experiment in social engineering

Veteran senator takes on the just-released official ObamaCare enrollment numbers for October and the growing call to let Americans keep their insurance plans and delay the Affordable Care Act

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Sure looks like the Democrats in the House and the Senate are in political panic. The number two Democrat in the House, Congressman Steny Hoyer said President Obama needs to, quote, "Come up with a solution sooner rather than later" and over on the Senate, already two Senate Democrats now proposing bills to delay parts of ObamaCare.

Republican Senator John McCain joins us. Nice to see you.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, Greta. It's interesting times.

VAN SUSTEREN: So very interesting times. So Senator Landrieu in your neck of the woods U.S. Senate has -- she has a bill keeping the affordable care act promise act, which is sort of interesting that we now have legislation to keep promises.

MCCAIN: Yes, that is a little unusual that what we have already said was going to be the law now we have to pass another law to make sure that we are -- look, it's a lot deeper than Senator Landrieu and others who just want to extend delay things for a year. Look, fundamental problems. People who want to keep their insurance, health insurance and they like it she they should be able to keep it insurance companies that want to continue to sell policies that as they have before, should be able to do that as well, and of course, this whole debacle the telling people that they are going to benefit by paying higher premiums which is the case with any young person that science up is -- flies in the face.

That's the ultimate in social engineering. And finally, finally, this is the first legislation that has to do with entitlement. It was passed on strictly party line basis. And in the 2014 campaign I think you are going to see a lot of those four statements during the debate and vote on ObamaCare.

VAN SUSTEREN: Not to dump on the Democrats. It was along party lines, but every single problem that we are facing right now, with the exception of the website, every single one of the problems we are facing right there in the legislation from day one if they ever either thought it through or read the bill at all. Suddenly act like they are so surprised this is happening is really quite stunning.

MCCAIN: One of the things that's stunning is didn't somebody in the White House or over on the other side of the I'll say wait a minute, we can't tell people standards in health insurance if they are not theirs they are not going to be able to keep it. Didn't somebody say wait a minute, at some point these chickens are going to come home to roost? That's what is so intriguing about this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Actually extremely disappointed because in letting the president keep making that statement means one of two things. Either number one, the president didn't understand his own legislation, hadn't thought it through because it was right there from day one about people losing policies or he was deceitful. Neither one is very impressive for the president of the United States. Does he want to be uninformed about his own signature legislation or be deceitful to keep making his promise?

MCCAIN: There was a story in "The Post" I think it was that it a discussion went on in the White House. Well, we shouldn't really be telling people that they can keep their insurance policy they like it because they are not going to be able to. It's clear it's in the law. And then supposedly the political side said well, this is the only way we are going to sell it well, then somebody should have asked the question. Isn't at some point the truth going to come out on this?

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, for the life of me I can't figure out Senator Landrieu's legislation. What it does is it is to try to keep people so people can keep their health insurance. But it is -- if it were passed, it would say that they were force insurance companies to rewrite these policies. But we can't force these insurance companies to do that. The United States doesn't -- government doesn't have the power to do that I mean, I don't even understand what this possible bill could -- how it could solve anything.

MCCAIN: Panic does funny things to legislators and others. They are flashing around. And what we Republicans have to do is, number one, is first of all, let them try to sort this out but, second of all --

VAN SUSTEREN: Like how though?

MCCAIN: They are not going to be able to.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the solution in give me the solution?

MCCAIN: Well, the solution is first of all to let people keep their insurance --

VAN SUSTEREN: -- they are gone. The policies are gone.

MCCAIN: I know or at least reinstate them. Second of all, allow the insurance companies to give a menu of whatever that they want to provide, third of all, medical savings account and fourth of all, medical malpractice reform. Let people go across state lines to in order to if they can get a better insurance policy in another state. And remove this whole tax incentive for employers to provide employee's health insurance.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is repeal.

MCCAIN: That's repeal. That's exactly right. That is total repeal in every other way because what ObamaCare is an experiment in social engineering. In other words, making young healthy people pay more which they shouldn't have to in order to subsidize the health care for people who are older and unhealthy. That is the ultimate in social engineering.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of your popularity on Capitol Hill, the House and the Senate? 9 percent?

MCCAIN: People complain and I don't blame them. I use the same line a lot of times maybe a thousand that approval is so low that paid staffers and 101-year-olds. Now I have heard from my mother-in-law paid staffers. Now blood relatives are gone. This is an interesting time and what debacle that's taking place in Iran which maybe we can do on another program --

VAN SUSTEREN: -- I will be here.

MCCAIN: And the entire solution of American power influence in the Middle East I'm telling you focus on ObamaCare. Long term what John Kerry is trying to do in this Iranian agreement can lead to a disaster of incredible proportions because it does not keep the reign Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you very much.

MCCAIN: Thanks for having me on.