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Morning Joe
updated 4/2/2013 11:48:48 AM ET 2013-04-02T15:48:48

The rising cost of health insurance is the biggest challenge for many people in Vermont, but Obamacare's Medicaid will soon allow individual states to take in hundreds of millions of federal dollars to help employers struggling with insurance costs.

Obamacare’s Medicaid will soon allow individual states to take in hundreds of millions of federal dollars to help employers struggling with insurance costs, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

“The biggest challenge for me as a small business person is the rising cost of health insurance,” he said Tuesday on Morning Joe.

Shumlin, a Democrat, said Vermont spends 20 cents of every dollar on healthcare. If costs grow at the same rate for the next 10 years, healthcare rates will double in the next decade.

“If anyone thinks that’s not a jobs killer, I don’t know what is,” Shumlin said.

The Affordable Care Act will extend health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans by expanding Medicaid and spawning a new market for individual plans. But in a national poll released this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that just 37% of Americans now approve of Obamacare, while 40% oppose it.

Some GOP legislators resist Medicaid expansion and question the ultimate effect of the program. But by October, there will be availability of healthcare for people who were priced out of the market, said David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Obama. In addition, individuals with preexisting conditions will have access to healthcare.

“I think it’s a mistake to run away from this program,” he said. “I think you have to embrace it because it’s going to make a big difference in the lives of a lot of people.”

Since its enactment three years ago, the Affordable Care Act has curbed the health insurance industry’s worst abuses, placed basic coverage within reach for a generation of young adults, and made birth control more accessible to reproductive-aged women.

Video: Governors set pace for the expansion of Medicaid

  1. Closed captioning of: Governors set pace for the expansion of Medicaid

    >> senior adviser --

    >> who says that to kids?

    >> you didn't advise him on that.

    >> people say he doesn't relate well to congress, but there he was having them on the lawn.

    >> that's good. all republicans there. all right. director now of the university of chicago 's institute of politics, and msnbc contributor, david axelrod at the table. also with us, the chairman of the democratic governors association , governor of vermont , one of my favorite states, peter shumlin . welcome. good to have you here.

    >> good to be on with you.

    >> a lot going on. we start with obama care. want to launch into it?

    >> let's launch into it.

    >> okay, fine.

    >> you taking the money?

    >> great things with the money. we're insuring vermont .

    >> do you want florida's money?

    >> we'll take all the money we can get.

    >> texas' money?

    >> the great thing about obama care for vermont , the affordable care act is this, we'll take in hundreds of millions of federal dollars to help employers deal with struggling health insurance . and, you know, everyone knows, i'm a small business person, came to governor's office as a business person , not a politician. i can tell you, biggest challenge for me as a small business person is the rising cost of health insurance . look at the money. right now in vermont we're spending 20 cents of every dollar on health care . if our health care costs grow for the next ten years, at the same rate they did for the last ten years, that will double in the next decade. if anyone thinks that's not a jobs killer, i don't know what is. we'll ensure our people and have a great plan.

    >> the cbo says, david , help me out here, i'll ask you to put on your political analyst hat and not a hat as someone who worked with the president.

    >> i got to find the right hat.

    >> that's a big hat to take off. but, you know, if i'm running against a democrat in 2014 , i know they didn't want to talk about obama care in 2012 and 2010 . i'm going to bring up the cbo numbers that say health care costs for americans are going to rise by a third, going to be 5 million kicked off over the next ten years. how did democrats do a better job embracing obama care in 2014 when all of this kicks in? all of these rules kick in.

    >> well, also, what kicks in is going to be availability of health care for a bunch of people who have been priced out of the market. also, what kicks in is the ability for people with pre-existing conditions to get health care . i as someone who has a child with a significant medical problems, i went through that experience of having a hard time getting insurance because she had a pre-existing condition. so those are things i think that democrats can run on. and, i mean, i think the governor can speak to the fact that are disputes as to what the ultimate effect of the program will be. but i think it is a mistake to run away from this program. i think you got to embrace it because it is going to make a big difference in the lives of a lot of people.

    >> it is also a huge jobs creator. this is what we forget in this discussion. as governors, we have to balance uth abo budgets. we got to make things happen. the bottom line is, any employer will tell you, the biggest challenge they face, costs they cannot control, is the rising cost of health care . we got to get this under control. the way you do that is by bringing the uninsured into the pool, so you're not shifting costs to those who are paying, businesses mostly, and ensure we have a sensible system.

    >> and that's -- even conservatives will say, you talk to -- florida takes the medicaid money or not, texas takes the medicaid money or not, if an uninsured person shows up with their children at an emergency room at 11:00 at night, hospital has to take them anyway. you're shifting costs in a way that is much more haphazard.

    >> i think what the governor says is really important. the question is, what is your alternative? because the status quo is unsustainable. one problem the republican party had in last campaign is they didn't offer a credible alternative. they were against this, but they didn't have an alternative and everybody understands or a lot of people understand that there is an inexorable increase in cost is unsustainable.

    >> bill kristol at the national review symposium i was at said, hey, we got to have alternatives. republicans in the past had alternatives. we had alternatives to bill clinton 's health care plan. we had alternatives to budgets. we have to do that again. i think they're starting. let's talk about the key governor races that are coming up. good luck in jersey, baby.

    >> yeah.

    >> our guy has 74%. how do you beat chris christie ?

    >> you know, i went through a storm -- tropical storm irene and saw my poll numbers go through the roof too. it is a lot easier to see your poll numbers go up after the storm than delivering on a rebuild. i can tell you, you can make some problems there. here is the point about chris christie . he's one of the few governors in america who said he was going to come in, we have more new governors elected in 2010 than anytime in american history erk ca he came in and said we'll make jobs. he has the same unemployment rate , very high, 47th highest in the country, that he had when he was elected. he kicked the middle class in the teeth. property taxes go up. he's vetoed minimum wage bills. he's against a woman's right to choose. he's fighting gay and lesbian equity issues on every issue that the blue state of new jersey believes in. whether social issues or economic policies , he's kicking the middle class in the teeth and killing jobs.

    >> sounds like an awful record. i'm going to bet you, i'll take chris christie even money .

    >> hey, listen, i will not deny it is an uphill battle. realistic about this. we know we're behind. i do not believe it will be anything like what it is now and we'll see terry mccauliff, moderate pro business governor win.

    >> he's going to make a bet, he's going to lose it and you're going to lose your mustache. i love america. let's talk about virginia . mark halperin , this ken cuccinelli made some mistakes, no doubt about it. a lot of republicans --

    >> understatement.

    >> yeah. that said, guess who is ahead. terry is losing by like three points, right?

    >> depends on the poll. it is close though.

    >> it is close. we were saying earlier that if you look at just the media coverage , terry should be up by about ten points now and he's not. i think that spells real problems for democrats, even in virginia .

    >> yeah. why is it so close and what does terry have to do to win?

    >> part of it is close because people haven't really focused on this race yet. what he has to do to win is bring cuccinelli into greater focus. the fact is he's to the right of mcdonald . he's a guy who i think is unacceptable to large numbers of voters there. it is going to be close in virginia . virginia is like two states. part of virginia is a suburban state. and part of it is very much a southern state . and it is going to be close. i think at the end of the day , cuccinelli may be too heavy a lift for the republicans .

    >> you say he has to take a look closer and focus the campaign on him, he could do like governor shumlin and what you said to buzz feed, cuccinelli makes mitt romney and his 47% comment look moderate. no more extreme example of a tea party candidate for governor than cuccinelli . have you read his book? he characterizes both social security and medicare as goodies.

    >> he is a middle of the road guy.

    >> no question about it. i run a state, he's the master of this, but he's hit it on the head. ken cuccinelli is out of touch with a majority of virginians. if you look at what happened --

    >> why is he winning?

    >> excuse me?

    >> why is he winning now?

    >> david just said, no one is focused on the governor's race yet. here's the point. contrast that with terry mcauliffe who has been creating jobs since he was 14 years old, a moderate pro business governor, i think virginians are going to say, listen, for jobs and economic development , we're going with a moderate bipartisan approach that will be terry mcauliffe . this guy called medicaid , medicare, sorry, and social security goodies. last time i checked we paid in for social security and get a return on your investment, we hope. the bottom line is, ken cuccinelli is the example of the tea party challenge that kicked the republicans in the teeth in the last election. here they go again. bill boiling, the lieutenant governor there, there is an example of a moderate republican . ken cuccinelli 's team kicked him out of the state, he's not running and now you have an example of what we saw before. ken cuccinelli running against a moderate pro business democrat, i think terry mcauliffe wins that race.

    >> this sounds like 2009 , bob mcdonald , right wing nut , wrote a thesis paper at pat robertson 's law school saying women should be barefoot and pregnant or whatever. you heard this over and over . he was an extreme -- he was up by 20 points.

    >> well, the difference is, here are a lot of republicans saying they don't have a lot of hope for cuccinelli and they're not going to be very much out front. as for mcdonald , they were all out for him. i think that if terry is -- lost last time, he's a better candidate than he was and thought about the mistakes he made, but he still never won a public office before and that presents a burden for democrats. winning your first office is tough state wide. as many strengths as terry has, he still has to prove he can appeal to the parts of virginia that republicans do well in.

    >> and, david , as you know, politically, washington, d.c. is light-years away from richmond. politically. and how does -- how does terry make that -- make that jump? terry is a lot more d.c. than he is even richmond.

    >> i think the governor hit it on the head. he's going to talk jobs. and that's fundamental issue to people across the state and he's going to run as a jobs creator and business man. and, you know, that will be -- i think he has to curb his natural ebullience, but, you know --

    >> an understatement.

    >> not do shots on the air in the morning.

    >> but on mcdonald , versus cuccinelli , it is one thing to explain what you wrote in law school , another thing to explain what you've been doing for the last few year. cuccinelli has gone from one controversy to another. so he --

    >> he wrote terry 's opposition research book.

    >> broad issue. we see on the front page of "the new york times".

    >> pretty surprising he's had -- i'm sorry. go ahead.

    >> exactly. connecticut with really big gun legislation. what's happening with the federal gun -- why can't --

    >> depressing story about that.

    >> it is really depressing. it is going to be completely watered down. if that. really? really?

    >> i'll tell you what i find remarkable. not just that 90%, including 86% of republicans support pack ground checks, but now they're going after the trafficking laws --

    >> say that again.

    >> 86% of americans support the background checks , expanded background checks . more than 90%. 86% of republicans .

    >> let's just stop there. 86% of republicans nationwide support criminal background checks and background check for people with mental health problems.

    >> i just want to say this, i come from the city of chicago , we know we have had a violence problem there, a lot of it has to do with straw buyers arming street gangs . there is no doubt in every law enforcement will tell you that stronger trafficking laws combined with universal background checks would make a real difference. people are afraid of the nra and trading their jobs for young lives in places like chicago. and it is a terrible blight. hopefully people will step up and do the right thing. it is extraordinary to have all the country on one side and the congress on the other.

    >> yeah.

    >> all right, david axelrod and governor peter shumlin , thank you very much.

    >> great to be with you.

    >> governor, thank you for being here.

    >> thank you for having us. we'll bring you some good vermont maple syrup --

    >> i need some. i love it.

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