OTR Interviews

Coburn: We have a preexisting condition in this country right now ... the Un-Affordable Care Act'

Doctor-Sens. Tom Coburn and John Barrasso give a long-term evaluation of President Obama's Affordable Care Act


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 1, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: During today's speech, President Obama taking a swipe at Republicans, saying many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn joins us. Nice to see you, sir.

SEN. TOM COBURN, R-OKLA.: Nice to see you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: I thought that was a swipe at some of you and your colleagues. But you come out with a report called "Prognosis." As I understand it, reading the report, is that you predicted some things and now -- a while ago, and now you are trying to see if your predictions were right. One of which is let's talk health care costs. You say you predicted they would go up.

COBURN: Yeah. And if you look at the average new insurance policy, it's going to cost 40 percent more than it did last year. That includes higher deductibles and higher costs for a policy that's not like the one you had and not -- you don't like it as well. Doesn't give you the same access that you had. So, we know the costs are going to go up. And we know the average. And a matter of fact -- we had the head of the Cleveland Clinic said three quarters of the people who lost their insurance are actually going to get insurance that they don't want.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you listen to President Obama today, it sounded like the greatest thing to happen to America.

COBURN: Well, look, that's politics of it. We have preexisting condition in this country right now. It's called the Un-Affordable Care Act. And what we have to do is eventually fix it. The president's 28 times has done fixes to it because the law was so lousy. Most of those are going to get challenged in court. Ultimately, since we don't have standing, we have to have injured parties to bring those cases.

But the fact is their motives were good. We needed to fix the health care system but the one thing they forgot is markets allocate scarce resources better than any government program. If you want to make something expensive, have the government run it. And that's exactly what we have done. We have made health care for millions of Americans less affordable with less access.

VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned preexisting conditions, and that's the one I think that probably pulls at most Americans. You made a prediction about preexisting, that patients were preexisting conditions that they will still face care restrictions. And then in your report you say -- you explain that even with this provision in the ObamaCare that there is still going to be restrictions for those people.

COBURN: There was two levels of this. Remember, in the intervening period, there was this pool of funds that they shut off very early for people with preexisting conditions. So that's number one. Most of the promises that were made over the last three and a half, 4 years didn't come to fruition for those people with preexisting conditions.

Now, with preexisting conditions, you will have access -- which I agree with, I don't disagree with that, as a physician, for sure. But the access you have is limited, one, very expensive, based on age. You know, that's the main requirement. Age and whether or not you are a smoker. And the limited choice of who is going to be your caregiver.

So, yeah, I don't think you will find anybody on Capitol Hill that doesn't think we should have not taken care of that and, also, not taken care of a lifetime limits, which the Affordable Care Act did. Most of the bills that run alongside that at the same time did it anyway.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you the one -- the medical device tax. For some reason that really makes me upset because now you have 32 Democrats in the Senate and 42 House Democrats who want to repeal the medical device tax. And the thing that makes me a little bit crazy about that one is that it was in the bill from day one. They never bothered to read the bill. And then suddenly, after the bill was passed and they find out that their constituents are medical device makers, suddenly they want it repealed.

COBURN: Here are the facts. 47 percent decrease in investment by medical device companies in this country since --


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not saying that. And I understand your position that it should be repealed. I'm saying like, you know, is why didn't anyone bother to receipt bill in the first place? Now suddenly, these Democrats suddenly think, oh, that's a terrible thing because it's their constituents?

COBURN: It's their constituents. And that tells you that it's not about policy, it's about politics. And we should have never had a deal about politics. If you want to move big things in this country and solve big problems, you have got to do it on a bipartisan basis. This bill never had any bipartisan support. That's the reason that it's going to fail. It has failed so far. If you look at numbers and affordability, you have a 5.9 million people in 35 states lose their insurance. They have signed up, quote, "today, 7.1." We don't know what portion of that will stick because they have to pay the bill. That's when you have insurance, is when you have actually paid. But, 5.9 million people now, four million of those now have come into the exchanges to get a policy that they can't afford or is less affordable to them, with a group of caregivers that are different than what they have.

VAN SUSTEREN: To insure about 3.1?


COBURN: No. We have got 4.1. No, that 4.1 are people that will buy it. Two million people have made a choice to say this is not a good deal. I had insurance, I was happy with it, I could afford it. Two million people have now said, I will take the fine because it's better for me to put the same amount of money that I was putting in my insurance policy in the bank to cover me. And if I get sick, then I'll sign up.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, always nice to see you. "Prognosis." And I assume we will get another version before you leave office?

COBURN: Probably so.

VAN SUSTEREN: Another one.

COBURN: Good to see you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you.