Alex Witt | December 01, 2013
>>> joining me now, democratic represent of michigan. he's also on the financial service committee. a welcome to you. what are you hearing from the constituents on your end? have there been fewer complaints about the website in the past couple weeks?
>> well, there have been fewer complaints in the last few weeks. i think people are patient because they understand that the problems are being worked on. for the most part, the people that i talk to back home, they just want to have this thing work. they're anxious to see the benefits of the affordable care act apply to them. they just want it fixed. they don't -- most of the people i talk to, they're not part of this political battle wherein the republicans have tried to make this a referendum on the president. they just want to see the affordable care act implemented in a way that works for them.
>> you think once all is said and done and once it's up and running, this won't stay in the mind of voters, this really botched rollout. the people will say, finally it's done, let's move past it?
>> i don't think we can erase the fact the rollout was not handled the way it ought to be. no one can excuse that. for the most part, what i hear from people is not an interest in sort of finding fault or incrimination regarding the botched rollout, but they just want us to get it right. i think that's what we see now. it's not perfect, but it's certainly much better than it was when it rolled out on october 1 .
>> sounds like they're taking a practical approach. they just want it to work, which makes sense. republican mike rodgers from michigan was on the morning talk shows today talking about the affordable care act . let's listen to part of what he said.
>> here's the problem. you have 15% of the population didn't have health insurance when this started, roughly. we think that number was high. we think it was closer to 10. what they've done is disrupted it for the 85% that had health care . and their costs are going up significantly. so we have broken the system to help a few. nobody would fix a problem that way.
>> what's your reaction to that?
>> well, first of all, it's sort of a false dichotomy. there may have been 15% of the population that had no health care whatsoever, but what we also know is that many of the people who thought they had health care , they had health care insurance until they needed it, until they got sick, until they worked in a new job and had a pre-existing condition, until they hit their lifetime or annual caps. so there are a lot of people carrying around a card in their pocket that they thought was a health care card , but really what it was was a get-well card. it did not provide the kind of coverage they thought it did.
>> okay. let's change gears here. i want to talk about iran . an american from your district who's a former marine, he's been arrested and held in iran on espionage charges for two years, since 2011 . i know you've launched a campaign, calling on that country to free him. can you tell us about that and what the latest is?
>> obviously, we're hopeful that with the recent reengagement between the united states and many other countries and the republic of iran that we will see more possibilities for amir to be released. the hope is that it not necessarily be a part of this nuclear deal but that iran recognizes that many of us simply do not trust their word and that one way they can demonstrate that they are serious about re-emerging and reengaging the global community is to release the americans . that they're holding as political prisoners . amir is a former u.s. marine , went to visit his grandmother. he was there for three weeks and was arrested and convicted of espionage. that conviction was later set aside, but he still sits there in an iranian prison. if iran wants to rejoin the international community , they can make a very important tangible step by releasing amir now.
>> but just to confirm, there was nothing in this agreement, the six-month temporary agreement that secretary kerry negotiated in geneva that said americans in this kind of position need to be released? nothing addressed with that?
>> i know there have been discussions in the context of these negotiations, but i do not believe that there's anything in the agreement itself that directly addresses these americans that are held. having said that, i'm very confident the american government has done everything that it can do. i talked to the president not too long ago. he spoke directly to president rouhani about amir and the other americans that are being held. so i'm confident that it's a high priority in the context of these negotiations. the hope is that the americans that are being held will be released, first of all, because they should be. they're innocent. but secondly, because it would be a tangible demonstration that iran is actually serious about reengaging the international community .
>> all right. representative, look forward to speaking with you again. thanks so much.
>> thank you, alex.
>>> 43 million americans are hitting the road this thanksgiving weekend.