Report: Harvard professors angry over high health care costs

Reaction from small business owner


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 6, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: But now, when they have to pay more, they're up in arms about it.

Isn't that a little bit hypocritical that some of the president's supporters at Harvard are saying, this is a great deal for America, but when I have got to pay more, it's terrible, it's awful?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can only imagine the question you would be asking me if The New York Times reported that the faculty at Harvard was getting a great deal.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, apparently, Ivy Leaguers are finding out that the health care law is, well, poison ivy. It turns out the very fixes backed by some Harvard professors are now ticking off fellow faculty members who now are stuck with paying for it.

Small business owner David Houston says you really don't have to be a genius to see this one coming.

You know, I think we have gotten into this before, this notion that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you want to cover everybody, preexisting conditions, keep your kids on a policy and not expect to pay more for it, you're smoking something. And I know, of course, at Harvard, they don't do that. So, that begs the issue here.


CAVUTO: Why should this be a shock? What do you think?

DAVID HOUSTON, CO-OWNER, BARNEY'S BEANERY: Well, it's not a shock to most of us out here in the real world.

You know, you start with a 2,000-plus-page bill that nobody read. It's administrated by the same government -- government that can't balance its checkbook or find its e-mails, and of course it's going to be a disaster. It just seems like it was way too complicated. It's just too much.

CAVUTO: But, you know, for guys like you, and you have businesses to run, and try to see through all these rules and regulations, and you can protest all you want, but it is the law of the land, and to hear liberals tell it that it's not going anywhere, so deal with it, what do you think of that?

HOUSTON: Well, you know, I think it's going to be tough to get rid of it. I don't see that there's any political motivation, even on the Republican side, to get rid of it.

It may be something that we have to trim around the edges and we might be stuck with it for a long time. It's very tough. I don't -- I don't really hear any strong opposition to it, other than talk radio and some voices in the media.

CAVUTO: You know, David, I have heard from others, though, who argue, liberals in particular say -- who love this thing and they say, time is our friend, because the more time passes, the more it entrenches and weaves its way into our system, and you can't -- you can't extract it.

What do you think?

HOUSTON: I think that -- I think that's probably a pretty good argument. I think that they're right. I think the longer it goes outside -- I don't think time is on our side here

We have a new Congress now, so maybe they can take drastic action quickly. But I do agree that you get another four years down the line, it's going to be very tough to get rid of this law, like there are so many laws that...

CAVUTO: Well, has it meant for your -- I'm sorry, David.

What that has it meant for your shop? Like, look, how has it changed what you have to do, what you have to police, the laws and regulations you have to adhere to? There are tax forms for this now. What?

HOUSTON: Yes. Well, there's two -- there's two big burdens.

One is the financial, obviously, that we're covering a number of people that we -- we're just forced to cover them because they have the hours and they have to be covered.

CAVUTO: Right.

HOUSTON: And then the other is the work burden of it of the accounting of it, of preparing all the correct forms to make sure you're in compliance with every aspect of it, because it's a very tricky law.

We have attorneys that we call regularly to ask them questions about this. Well, what are we doing this? And they will say, well, right now, this is what we're thinking, although it could be different. In fact, sometimes, they say the law says this, but it's been suspended for now. We don't know how long that suspension will last. It may change in a moment's notice.

So, it's -- the unpredictability and the workload of it are also a huge burden.

CAVUTO: All right.

Now, you're a business owner, so who better to talk to on this? The argument for this law has been that your expenses, your health care expenses would have been going up a lot more without it, that as eye- popping as they are, they would have been climbing a lot more rapidly without it. What do you say to that?

HOUSTON: Well, just untrue.

We have had to cover a lot more people than we normally covered before. And, you know, I just think this is one of those things -- you know, the whole health care debate spins around the idea that health care is this unique part of the economy that can't be handled the normal economic weights and balances.

And it seems to me, I mean, there's things that are more important than -- to us on a daily basis than health care, like food. And the market seems to take care of that very well. I think a market-based solution -- I think there -- I think there would be a good role for the government in making it comprehensible to the normal citizen, like they did with the nutritional labels and they made everything very easy to understand.

They could have done a little bit of that and a few mandates here and there. But it just didn't need to be 2,300 pages long and so -- such a labyrinth.

CAVUTO: Who do you think you are, David, a Harvard professor, for God's sakes?


CAVUTO: All right.


CAVUTO: All right, very good points, all, very commonsense points, all.

David, thank you very, very much.

HOUSTON: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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