All-Star Panel: True fallout from ObamaCare becoming evident?

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," December 9, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.

EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HEALTH CARE ADVISER: People are going to have a choice as to whether they want to pay a certain amount for a selected network or pay more for a broader network.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Which will mean your premiums will probably go up.

EMANUEL: They get that choice. That's a choice we always make.

WALLACE: Which means your premium may go up over what you were paying so that -- in other words --


EMANUEL: No one guaranteed you that the premium wouldn't increase. Premiums have been going up under --

WALLACE: The president guaranteed me I could keep my doctor.

EMANUEL: Under president -- and if you want to, you could pay for it.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: That's without the period.

What about this? Let's bring in our panel.

Steve Hayes, senior writer for the Weekly Standard, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.


STEVE HAYES, WEEKLY STANDARD: This is what we may call incremental honesty where the administration used one set of arguments beforehand to -- to pass the bill and now we are hearing oftentimes in the voices of those where it's most -- its strongest proponents that the things that they had said before they passed the bill were simply not true.

You can really apply what Ezekiel Emanuel said there that -- the addition, the fact that he said if you like -- if you can pay for it, you can keep your doctor. You could say the same thing to a large extent with your insurance plans, even though they might change. You could say the same thing to access to hospitals.

It is going to end up, I think, it is sort of an irony, the people who had designed ObamaCare from the beginning had wanted to level the playing field in health care, in the health care field, and what I think is likely to end up as a result is an even broader difference between those who are going to be able to afford the best care and everybody else.

It's just that that second group is going to end up as a result is an even broader difference between those who are going to be able to afford the best care and everybody else. It is just that that second group will end up much, much larger than I think anybody who was pushing ObamaCare envisioned.


A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL.COM: Well, I think we've learned that, I mean, weeks ago that you're not going to get the plan that you once had. You won't be untouched by this law. Most people will be affected by it. There is no guarantee that if you're working for a company right now that tells you everything is right, that next summer when the waiver expires for corporations you might now learn that you're going to be dumped into the exchanges.

So you were always -- this promise turned out not to be true. We learned that weeks ago. But what the promise was, though, was that the care would be affordable and I think the concern is now that even when the web site problems are fixed and Democrats are hoping there is a period now before December 23rd, it might be a sort of a quiet period and then December 23rd you have a rush of enrollees who are going to actually be ensured by January 1 if they get the payment system built.

The concern is later on, do people who are in the system six months from now believe it's affordable when they look at the out-of-pocket costs, the premiums and the deductibles, can you -- after paying a $12,000 deductible as a self-insured person, even afford the next care that's going to be kicked in by the insurance company.

That is the problem for ObamaCare. Until it's deemed affordable, it won't be appealing even to the people that weren't looking for a specific doctor.

BAIER: We, obviously, have been down in the weeds in a lot of these things. And Jim Angle has been covering it. A lot of our correspondents have been covering it. The New York Times has now -- did a story today about the deductibles. Pretty detailed, in which -- a quote here.  "Caroline F. Pearson, a vice president of Avalere Health, the consulting company that has analyzed hundreds of plans, said, quote, 'The premiums are lower than expected, but consumers on the exchange will often face high deductibles and high co-payments for medical services and prescription drugs before they reach the cap on out-of-pocket costs. $6,350 for an individual, $12,700 for a family."

Now subsidy qualifications. Here they are. Making less than -- if you make less than $28,725 for an individual or $48,825, for a family of three.  Now if you don't make less than those numbers, that dollar figure, you don't qualify for subsidies and the deductibles could hit those high numbers.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And that's -- and that is another truth emerging. I think what's happening here is not just a matter of what's affordable. It's a matter of a vast deception. The idea that you can keep your doctor, you keep your plan, was meant to say to the 80 percent of Americans who at the time the bill was debated had told pollsters they liked what they had.

It was a way of saying, you will be unmolested. The bill is only a narrow attempt to help the unfortunate who aren't getting help. And who would deny that? It's going to be a small -- and what happened with Jim Angle and with Fox and with those few outlets who actually read the bill, and went into it in details, including the rise in deductible, including the fact that millions are going to lose plans unwillingly, including the fact that premiums are going to go up.

And including the fact you're going to lose choice. All of this was in the bill but nobody looked at it. The members of Congress didn't even read it and that Pelosi said we'll learn what is in it after it passes and what we learned what's in it as we now learned with the deductible is that it was a bill to redo all of American health care that would include everybody who liked this plan, as a way to socialize the system to get millions of Americans subsidizing others in a way that they never imagined.

That's why you have to have all the young and the healthiest in the bill.  So the deception was you will be left alone. It was never in the bill. It was always an attempt to revolutionize everything and what's happening now is exactly what was written.

BAIER: But is it working? This is Doctor Ezekiel Emanuel, again, the brother of the former chief of staff now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, about what's happening next.


EMANUEL: No one has launched a big P.R. campaign to get these people signed up because of the problems with the federal web site. We are about to launch a big P.R. campaign and that I think is going to persuade a lot of people to sign up.


BAIER: Is it working?

HAYES: Well in a version, in a way, what he said was true. The administration didn't want to have more people signing up with that bad web site for the first two months because of all of the back-end problems so in a sense what he's saying is true. But the idea, as he implies there, that people are now just suddenly going to become aware of ObamaCare and now going to rush to sign up because the benefits are so obvious is preposterous.

It is very clear to virtually anybody who's been awake for the past two months that this is a disaster. It's getting worse and none of the promises have actually come to pass.

STODDARD: The challenge is, even if they get everyone they need and it's three sick people for every one person to sustain the program, even if they get everyone -- the prices are set for 2014. Are those prices affordable?  If they don't get everyone they need, the insurance companies' reassess in the spring, and then the prices for 2015 will be higher.

BAIER: But after the election?

STODDARD: Well, that could be -- right, yes. We don't know how long Democrats have before they literally cut and run. I mean, there's a lot of questions about how long they can wait.

BAIER: Next up, Congress threatening new Iran sanctions? Could that happen this week? And a nuclear deal hangs in the balance with Iran. The panel breaks it all down after the break. 

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