OTR Interviews

ObamaCare key to survival: Winning the PR war

Liberal nonprofit advocacy group gets $1.1M to find Affordable Care Act success stories, but overcoming the disastrous rollout will be a monumental challenge


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

HARRIS FAULKNER, 'ON THE RECORD' GUEST HOST: Well, we are about an hour away now. HealthCare.gov is going down, dark for maintenance. That means you won't be able to get on the site. It's just one of many ways Americans are feeling the impact of ObamaCare. Remember, the deadline to start this whole thing was tomorrow. Now they are shutting it down. Just a few minutes ago you heard from doctor who raised a lot of red flags, including a 90-day grace period for companies to pay doctors.

Can you imagine your mortgage company giving you 90 days to pay? People wouldn't pay. "The Washington Examiner's" Susan Ferrechio joins us now. I'm still reeling from that, Susan. This is unbelievable. Why are we hearing this from the White House? If doctors feel they are not going to be paid in a timely manner, they are not going to want to work in this system.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, 'WASHINGTON EXAMINER': It's all part of the rollout. You going to start hearing more about it when people start trying to use the healthcare plans and they go to their doctor and they find out the doctor is not on the plan or the doctor finds out they are not going to get paid. We really haven't gotten to that point yet.

We are at the point where everybody is trying to sign up for this thing and having a hard time because the website as have you been saying isn't up and running, isn't functioning yet. Secondly you have a lot of people who are shying away from signing up for coverage because the premiums are really high. The deductibles are high. It's not gotten off the ground yet.

But, when it does, we are going to start running into the problems that you have been talking about on the show, particularly the doctor reimbursement issue, availability as well, so all of these things sort of a rolling system of problems associated with the health care law. We are going to start finding out more in the New Year if people sign up.

FAULKNER: Well, I guess former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right: We have to pass it to see what's in it. Apparently, we'll have to live with it for a while to see what's in it, too. Susan, in terms the messaging coming out of the White House, I ask you why isn't the White House telling us anything? I see this as bad news. In a way, the bad news about the White House is keeping us from focusing on the bad news about everybody else?

FERRECHIO: The issue with ObamaCare are two major issues, the first one, of course, the website is not working. People can't get on it to sign up. That's a technical problem. The next issue is the bigger more fundamental problem with healthcare law. Is it affordable? Is it accessible? Is it going to work? Are people going to be able to get the healthcare they want? Those are big question marks right now.

We are really hearing a lot of bad news. There is this big push trying to rebrand, remarket as the president said a few weeks ago this whole health care law, so they're paying company, "Families USA," a liberal leaning group to try to send a message that there are people getting affordable health care. They are going to make big push in the coming weeks to try to throw out a message of people getting affordable health care. They just started on that right now.

If you look on their website, what you are seeing are a lot of folks saying they think the health care law is going to help them. You are not seeing a lot of people say hey, look, I just signed up for health care plan, it's affordable for me it's what I'm looking for. You are not hearing a lot of those stories yet.

FAULKNER: And they spent a million dollars on this website to tell people the so-called good stories. Susan Ferrechio joining us tonight on a Friday. Thank you very much.