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Special Report

Friday Lightning Round: What parts of ObamaCare won't last?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Each week we ask you to vote in our online poll for your favorite panel topic for the Friday Lightning Round this week we decided to let you choose and Charles' pick won. It's a popular choice.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Question is, what parts of ObamaCare will be gone by the end of this year? And the correct answer is by midyear the individual mandate will be gone and probably the parts that allow the administration to bail out the insurers if they are in financial trouble.

BAIER: Elise?

ELISE VIEBECK, THE HILL: I don't know if the individual mandate will be gone, but I think it will be weakened because the administration will grant a kind of immunity to people who had trouble signing up on healthcare.gov or on their state exchanges as well as people who would have been eligible for the Medicaid expansion in states that chose not to take it. I also think insurance companies will actually see greater financial revenues from the federal government in order to shore up the weak risk pools that we could see a result of the website's problem.

BAIER: Big vote out in Washington, union solidarity in Everett, Washington kind of shaken a bit as this vote about Boeing, whether they are going to vote to stay there or they are going to move out to South Carolina. Steve, what about this and that what does it say about unions?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I think the kinds of fights that you are seeing both here and across the country are surely a signal of the last gasp of a dying set of worker protections that unions have provided in the past. I think the most interesting thing about this particular fight is the very different views of younger workers and older workers. Now, part of that is obviously explained because older workers can see the pensions that they've worked for right in front of they want to fight hard to keep them, and younger workers obviously aren't going to be affected as immediately.

But I think there is something bigger at play as well. I think younger workers generally, not just union members, understand that the era of, you know, huge pensions, big giveaways, deferred compensation, that's just coming to an end, whether you are working government, whether you are protected by unions, whether you work in the private sector.

BAIER: 12,000 high paying jobs on the line out there. We will watch it, the votes tonight.

Winners and losers this week, Steve?

HAYES: Well, the obviously winner is Aaron Rodgers – that's the right answer, there is no other answer despite what they might say. He threw three fourth down completions to win a game to go to the playoffs against his chief rival in the Chicago Bears, and the Packers are headed to a very cold playoff game at Lambeau Field this weekend.

The loser is the New York Times. The Times published a huge piece last weekend that was designed to change the narrative on Benghazi and made an allegation that there was no Al Qaeda involvement whatsoever and that no one in the government, the author said, believed that there was Al Qaeda involvement. There are plenty of people who believed that there was Al Qaeda involvement, involvement of the affiliates, involvement of associated terrorists, who said so in public and who have said so after the report was published. So I think the report backfired.

BAIER: Elise?

VIEBECK: My winner is well, related to the storm we are experiencing here in the Northeast. In fact there are many retailers who didn't have a great Christmas who are now selling out all of their inventory to people who are scared to leave their home because of the storm. So for those retailers, happy New Year.

And the loser is all of the millions of users on Snap Chat and Skype who were hacked this week. Not so happy new year for them. It's very interesting the rise of these hacktivist groups. We're probably going to see similar attacks in the New Year.

BAIER: OK, Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: Winner are the Antarctic penguins whose life has returned to normal after the evacuation and the rescue of global warming research passengers who were polluting their pristine environment and disturbing their mating habits.

The winner of the week -- oh, actually, the loser of the week is the Justice Department for taking on, regardless of the merits of the case and how it turns out, the optics of the government taking on the Little Sisters of the Poor. It isn't even the big sisters of the poor.  It's the Little Sisters of the Poor. It isn't the Little Sisters of the Middle Class. It's of the poor. If you want to take on somebody and you are the Department of Justice, take on the Packers, not the Little Sisters of the Poor.

(BOOS)

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: You had to throw that in at the end, didn't you?

HAYES: I was with you until the end.

BAIER: Until the end you had Steve.

Alright, thank you. Elise, thank you for being here. I would love to have you back.

VIEBECK: Thank you.

BAIER: That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for a superstar in the making. Plus, the SR Bing Pulse highlights.  

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