One Year Anniversary of Health Care Law

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 23, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: First, it goes to the appellate court. There is the district court, then there are appeal courts, and then it goes to the Supreme Court. But here is the key point, though. And I said this in the "State of the Union." I don't want to spend the next two years refighting the battles of the last two years.

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL, R-VIR.: For the Obama administration to oppose this expedited review to me is unconscionable. It strings this thing out to potentially for years of litigation where we could perhaps with their agreement have an expedited review in the Supreme Court.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, the healthcare law was signed into law one year ago today. And you look at the latest polls, here's one from Fox News opinion dynamics, and the question, do you believe the healthcare law will be repealed or not? And there you see, no, 56 percent, it won't be repealed.

We're back with the panel. Thoughts on the healthcare law and what was talked about there, Charles, about the expedited review, it's going to eventually get to the U.S. Supreme Court.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It will, although it will be a race, whether the court will decide it or people will decide it. The decision on whether it's repealed will be made on Election Day in 2012. If the Republicans win, they will also win the House and Senate and it will be repealed. If Obama wins it becomes the law of the land and un- repealable until the end of time.

I'm not sure it will get to the Supreme Court before that. And I would prefer if it were to be repealed. In a democracy it's probably -- it's best if it happens by a vote rather than by the fiat of the Supreme Court.

But, I think that's why it's so important in the presidential election because it is the central issue highlighting the major issue of the campaign, the major issue between Republicans and Democrats, the size, the scope, the spending, the debt, the reach of government. That is what the mid-term election was about. That will be what the general election is about.


A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: Well, I think I disagree with Charles. If the president wins re -- the Supreme Court could act before the summer of 2012, in which case, the rejection of the mandate would really cause the whole thing to fall apart, it would really hinder President Obama's re-election campaign. But even if he were re-elected and there was a Republican House and Senate it would lead to the end of the bill, the unraveling of the - excuse me, of the law itself.

If the mandate is supported by the court's ruling, it builds the political support, eventually, for the law probably becomes more popular and it will probably change public opinion somewhat better from today. Today public opinion stands exactly where it did a year ago. It's mixed in the middle, but slightly more people oppose the law than support it.

Mostly, majorities are confused about what it's in the law, still a year later after the long battle and the administration's, ya know, millions of dollars spent and time spent to try to educate the public on its benefits. Some people even believe that it's been repealed. So there's a lot of confusion that they still have to work with.

I guess they hope, optimistically, that means there's room to grow its popularity. But I think if you look at the fact that only 12,000 people have joined the high risk pools, that's three percent of what the administration expected would be filling these pools. If people aren't taking advantage of that and you look at the incredible expansion of Medicaid and what's that doing to bankrupt states, I don't know how it becomes more popular over time.


STODDARD: If after a year you have three percent people joining this, sorta central tenant of lowering costs.

BAIER: And Steve, it's the Medicaid that's the biggest question for states, for governors when they talk about it, the flexibility that they would like. And two, the question about these waivers, more than 1,000 of them issued to various corporations, unions, and others.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: And the fact that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to who gets them. I mean, it's so confusing to people, the way that it looks. But if you look at where public opinion was a year ago and where it is now, it's actually the case that if you get into the guts of many of these polls, the standing of the law has slipped, of health care reform, has actually slipped ever so slightly. That is really amazing to me, and not only because you had political promises from leaders, Democratic leaders in Congress saying, the more people know, once this is implemented, it will become more popular, but also because this -- the problem with the way that the law is going now is that people still don't get it. They don't know what's in it. And what they do see, the costs going up by $115 billion according to CBO, doctor shortages, that Jim Angle talked about, is problematic.

BAIER: That is it for panel, but stay tuned for a lesson in composure.

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