Meet the Press | October 27, 2013
>>> you. obama care fix is on, but will it work? here are some of the latest developments. the end of november is the timeline the administration is now targeting to have the obama care website running smoothly. the latest report is that 700,000 applications have been filed but nobody will say how many have actually enrolled. secretary kathleen sebelius is to testify this week before congress as some republicans continue to call for her ouster. and even democrats now are urging change, ten senators calling for open enrollment to be extended beyond the current end date of march 2014 . we wanted to help you understand some of the impact of the president's health care plan around the country. we're going to talk to the ceo of florida 's largest health insurer cancelling 300,000 of its policies just this week. we're going to talk to him in just a moment. but first i want to turn to democratic senator steve beshear , republican governor john kasich in neighboring ohio . i wanted to take this out of washington because in kentucky you set up your own health care exchange . in ohio , governor kasich, you declined to do so until the federal government comes in to do that. let me start with you. the president says there is no excuse for this terrible rollout for obama care through the website. are you as frustrated with how all of this has started? governor kasich?
>> is that to me?
>> yeah. well, look, david , the problem is obama care doesn't control costs. secondly, it's going to drive up the costs for the vast majority of ohioans. it threatens business to grow beyond 50 employees, and frankly, what i think has to concern everybody, this economy is stalled and people don't know what the future is going to bring. and when people are uncertain about the future, they sit on their wallets, and that's why we're not seeing the kind of economic growth that we need to see that's so vital to create new jobs here in the state of ohio .
>> that's the argument against obama care, but obama care is here. i'm asking specifically about the damage done by a troubled rollout that you're seeing in your state .
>> well, that's got everybody just shaking their heads. and that's like three things. the government almost shut down. now they're tapping somebody's phone and now this thing. this is creating an issue of confidence in the minds of the american people and doubt with people around the world, which is really serious. now, here's what i think, david , at the end of the day . i think people need to sit down. the obama administration needs to open itself up and figure out how we can get some sort of bipartisan movement moving forward. we sit in a room, we figure out what's good, what's bad, how do we fix it. the problem is in washington, they talk past each other and can't seem to get anything done and it doesn't seem to make any sense.
>> we start with what is the law of the land . the governor doesn't think it's going to work, but now, this is the plan and it's not working when it comes to limitation. how disappointed are you with this rollout where you think you have a good story to tell because you set up your own exchange ?
>> at 12:01 a.m . when our exchange opened up to enrollment, kentucky started swarming all over our exchange , all over our toll free lines, and in about four weeks, we've had over 300,000 kentucky yaians trying to sign up for obama care --
>> mostly medicaid , though. it's not young people getting the insurance plans to really make this system work, correct?
>> of the 26,000, 21,000 are in medicaid , 5,000 are in qualified health plans, but we've got another 10,000 going onto the plans that are in the process of choosing. you know, it's a lot quicker to get somebody enrolled in medicaid once you find out they're eligible. when you go to the plans, they've got to look at all the details and pick the plans that they want. you know, this is working in kentucky . we had and have some of the worst health statistics in the country. and it's been that way for generations. the only way we're going to get ourselves out of the ditch is some transformational tool. that's what the affordable care act is going to do for us.
>> how frustrated are you at the troubled rollout at the federal level which is impacting, what, 36 states that have not set up their own exchanges?
>> number one, i'm happy about kentucky . number two, the thing is not working on a federal level yet, but it's going to. the advice i would give the news media and the critics up here is take a deep breath. you know, this is a process. everybody wants to have a date where they can declare victory or defeat or success or failure. that's not what this is going to be all about. it took us about three years to get medicare really working the way it should, and this --
>> the president is the one who said, if this is going to be successful, you've got to get young and healthy people signed up by a date certain or else the model doesn't work to keep premium prices down. is it the news media doing that, or is it the ones who drafted the law who says, this has to happen or else it can't work?
>> in kentucky , about a third of folks going on medicaid and getting qualified health care plans are under 30 years old. that's what's going to happen around this country. people are going to sign up for this. it will take a while to get it in process, but i guarantee we'll make it work because it's good for the american people .
>> governor kasich, i assume --
>> one thing i have to tell you, the rollout is the least of the problem here. the rollout looks like a disaster, but in my state most ohioans are going to pay higher cost. in fact, this is not going to control health care costs. here in ohio , we have reduced our medicaid growth from 8 or 9% to less than 3%, and we believe we have to have significant payment reform, that when people do the right thing to drive towards quality and lower prices, there ought to be a sharing of the savings among everyone. i mean, the problem with obama care is it doesn't get to the nub of the problem, which is higher health care costs that have been out of control. when you roll it out, if it rolled out perfectly, it's not going to achieve what america wants. that's the difficulty here.
>> you took on your legislature because you said we need to accept federal money for medicaid because you said it's more important when you go to heaven than whether you kept government small is what did you do for the poor? you seem to be articulating a view that's not just compassionate but reflects the belief that the more people you help that ultimately you can control costs that way. if there's more health care , better health care for more people in ohio , costs will have to come down. so how were you not in line with what the president believes about the potential strength of obama care?
>> well, first of all, david , as you can tell, i've articulated my opposition to obama care. but chief justice roberts gave every state an opportunity to try to get federal dollars to improve medicaid . now, we have many mentally ill people in this country who are being treated terribly. we have people who are drug addicted and drug addiction is in every demographic, every race, every income level. and we also have many veterans who are covered. so ohio gets a good deal. we get $14 billion of ohio money back to ohio to deal with some of the most serious problems. and, you know, i'm not going to ignore the mentally ill and i'm not going to ignore the drug addicted or veterans or very poor working people on my watch. but that doesn't mean i embrace obama care because i don't think it's right. we have our own program that reduces medical costs, we have our own private sector in a payment reform that we believe will improve quality in lower cost. that's the direction we ought to be going, not some laboratory, cooked-up -- i'm convinced the people who created obama care never worked in business and probably never spoke to a businessperson as they were putting this together.
>> what do you believe, governor beshear , is the ultimate future of this program? does somebody have to get fired before they get it right at the federal government ? and to governor's key point, although you might take on since there are a lot of remnants of health care that goes back to mitt romney who certainly was in business when he was the governor of massachusetts laying out that plan, will prices stay low enough for consumers to justify obama care?
>> yes. i believe it's going to be the case.
>> should somebody get fired for how poorly the rollout has gone so far?
>> i'm not going to give the president advice on hiring and firing, but when things go wrong, like they go wrong in our state , i take responsibility for it and i fix it. that's what secretary is sebelius and the president are doing, they're taking responsibility for a bad rollout. they're going to fix it. everybody needs to chill out because it is going to work. these plans and medicaid are directed toward prevention and wellness, and that is the future of health care , and i think everybody knows it.
>> all right, i'm going to leave it there. governor beshear , governor kasich, a lot more to discuss on this as time goes on. i appreciate both your time this morning. thank you very much.
>> thank you.
>> thank you.
>>> after president obama signed the affordable care act into law in 2010 , he often repeated this statement.
>> if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. no one will be able to take that away from you. it hasn't happened yet, it won't happen in the future.
>> well, that turns out that it may not, in fact, be the case. hundreds of thousands of americans are receiving notices that their plans are being canceled because of the guidelines set by the health care law . in florida , for instance, the oldest and largest health care plan provider, florida blue, the state 's blue cross and blue shield company, confirmed it is cutting 300,000 policies. joining me now from london is florida blue ceo pat geraghty. mr. geraghty, thank you for being here. why are you cutting these people from their insurance?
>> well, david , we're not cutting people. we're actually transitioning people. what we've been doing is informing folks that their plan doesn't meet the test of the essential health benefits , therefore, they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange , and, in fact, with subsidy, many people will be getting better plans at a lesser cost. this really is a transition, and, in fact, the 300,000 figure is the entire year. so it's really 40,000 people for january 1 , and we're walking them through that transition.
>> so if i've got health insurance that i now like, you're writing to me and saying, look, i've got to cover -- i've got to give more comprehensive coverage under this plan as a result. you've got to go find something else. you're going to pay more, chances are, but maybe if you qualify for subsidies, maybe you'll pay less in the end. there is still a disruptive accent. you can talk about migrating, you can talk about transitioning. i'm not just asking about florida but asking you to look more broadly. there are people who have what they like and they'll end up paying more. there is some sticker shock that will be out there with this law. is that fair?
>> david , what i can tell you is that in florida , because that's what i represent, in florida we are doing 3,000 education seminars from the beginning of september through the end of march, making sure that people understand what their options are. we're in all 67 counties, we built retail centers, we're reaching out to our customers so they understand what their choices are. and we believe people will find choices there that work.
>> my question is, will people pay more?
>> people who are subsidized are probably going to have the opportunity to pay less. it really is an individualized issue. and there may be some people who pay more, but it really depends on your individual circumstances.
>> you met at the white house with senior aides going through this obama carroe rollout. as an insurance executive, you signed up basically for a deal here, which is to say, okay, we'll cover people who have preexisting conditions. we'll do that if you can deliver us some more business. give us younger, healthier people who probably aren't going to need our insurance, and that's how we'll make money and balance out the fact we're going to pay more out, covering people with preexisting conditions. that was the deal. is this model going to work based on the rollout you're seeing?
>> well, there is no denying that the rollout has had bumps. and we actually expected there would be bumps in the beginning of the process. the good thing about the meeting we had at the white house is it was very positive, it was candid, we laid issues on the table, we had a good exchange with the folks at the white house and we had a commitment, particular commitment around a piece called direct enrollment. that direct enrollment allows us, the insurance industry , to help the administration get people signed up. as that gets prioritized, we'll be able to help bring people into the exchange , and we think that that will be a big lift for the installation of the affordable care act .
>> did you warn the white house that they could face this, they could face this kind of tough rollout? did they ignore some warnings?
>> david , i think the real issue here is we have to work on how do we fix this, we're working together to be positive about how to fix this, we're working with the state --
>> i know what the goal is. did you warn them this could go bad?
>> david , we're not looking backwards . i think it really is about how do we move forward and solve this? we serve millions of people across the state of florida . it would be a distraction for me to spend my time looking backwards . i spend my time figuring out, how do we serve the people in florida that were trying to bring most education about their options so they can help their families.
>> i'll respectfully point out i didn't get the answer to the question i was looking for. i do appreciate your time very much today. thank you.
>> thank you.
>> we'll have more on our roundtable on the obama care fallout, but first the obama care rollout is not the only problem president obama is dealing with. the revelation of spying on our closest allies and out reach to syria and iran . andrea mitchell is here, our chief foreign affairs correspondent.
>> we are facing growing outrage with foreign leaders facing u.s. policy and the outrage that we've been spying on them. a new report that the u.s. has been spying on the german leader for more than a decade. president obama is now apologizing to his closest foreign friends as the nsa leak story gets too close for comfort. word from edward snowden that the u.s. has eavesdropped on frenchmen, even on angela merkel 's cell phone . a furious merkel called president obama to complain.
>> the president spoke to angela merkel , reassured her that the president is not and will not monitor the chancellor's communications.
>> reporter: but the white house did not deny that it had happened.
>> is not monitoring, will not monitor. i think you're missing a tense there. you've got your president progressive there, you got your simple future , but you're missing your past progressive .
>> reporter: the secretary of state has been putting out fires here, there and everywhere. especially over u.s. policy toward syria . after two years of war and the assad regime's chemical attack killing more than a thousand civilians, including children, the saudis accused president obama of backing down, even helping assad butcher his own people.
>> the shameful way that the world community accepts the impunity of the butcher of syria is a blot on the conscience of the world.
>> reporter: furious that the u.s. did not carry out its threat to retaliate, the saudis shocked the u.s. by refusing a seat on the protest.
>> i think there is doubt whether the united states is really paying attention, really knows what it wants to do.
>> reporter: the saudis and israel also worry about iran . is the u.s. too eager for a nuclear deal, too easily charmed by iran 's president, ruhadi.
>> i think no deal is better than a bad deal. i think a partial deal that leaves iran with these capabilities is a bad deal.
>> reporter: secretary kerry said this week that the government shutdown made allies around the world ask, will america be a credible partner in the future? key allies say they're more worried about u.s. policy and spying than american politics here at home. david ?
>> andrea mitchell , appreciate you being here. i want to turn now to republican congressman peter king . he's been an out spoken voice in the republican party on some of these foreign issues. congressman, welcome.
>> thank you very much.
>> let's talk about the spying. there is a view in some quarters. it's bringing together kind of the libertarian left and right saying the spying is under control. is it undercutting america 's reliance on allies for cooperation on anything from economic reform to chasing terrorists? does it have to be reined in?
>> first of all, david , i think the president should stop apologizing and stop being defensive. the reality is the nsa has saved thousands of lives not just in the united states but in france, germany and throughout europe. the french is someone to talk. they carried out operations against the united states , the government and industry. as far as germany , that's where the hamburg plot began which led to 9/11. they've had dealings with iran and iraq, north korea , and the french and the germans in european countries . we're not doing it for the fun of it. this is to gather valuable intelligence which helps not just us but also helps the europeans.
>> but it's deep. we were apparently bugging angela merkel 's phone from the time she was an opposition leader in germany back in 2002 . again, i understand why this is done. i cover these issues, but i think a lot of people watching us right now are thinking, what is it we're doing? you mentioned the hamburg plot. we share intelligence with germany . they're allies in this fight, not someone to be looked at so skeptically.
>> first of all, we do share intelligence and we've saved many lives in germany because of the intelligence we've given them. we're not doing this to hurt germany , but the fact is there can be information that is transmitted that can be useful to us and ultimately useful to germany . i think, again, this is out there. snowden put it out there, and it bothers the hell out of me that people in my own party such as rand paul, justin amosh, people on the left, somehow they try to exult snowden . this guy is causing tremendous damage to the country, and we shouldn't be on defense. i think the president -- quite frankly, the nsa has done so much for our country and so much for the president, he's the commander in chief. he should stand with the nsa. he should be there with general alexander and the troops there.
>> why don't we have a bigger debate, then, in congress? we really haven't had a debate in congress since 2001 to say what's appropriate use of executive power , what's appropriate use of spying that goes on? drones came up this week in the collateral damage from drones. what are the powers the president should have to fight terrorism? it seems like congress doesn't really want to have that debate because they're afraid to do it because they don't want to look weak. finally, some are saying let's push the debate out into the open.
>> i'm not afraid of anything, but if we go too much into the open, then we let the enemy know what's going on and we create problems. the idea is we have to have a stronger fence, we have to have stronger spying, if you want to call it, stronger surveillance, and as far as the use of drones, the fact is every war there is collateral damage . unfortunately, innocent people are killed. but the efforts of the u.s. to protect innocent lives, i say, is unprecedented. you want to go back to hamburg and what happened in world war ii when thousands and thousands of civilians were killed, the fact is this has kept americans alive, it's also helped people in the mideast. i think we should stop being so worried about drones. tell them not to worry about people being killed by drones and starbuck's. the president goes to fort meade . he can find time to go to blasio, he can find time to go to fort meade .
>> what would you say to reassure the saudis and other sunni muslim regimes who believe that the u.s., by not doing enough on syria , by opening up talks with iran , are essentially turning their back on traditional alliances and em powering iran -- and again, it's important to point out the sunni-shiite split in the economic world are huge right now, and that's why the saudis are so concerned.
>> when the president apologized in 2009 with the way he was treating israel in 2009 and 2010 , and now with a terrible policy on syria , he went back and forth, led the allies in one direction, went another. i'm not apologizing for the saudis , but i understand how they're very distrustful of the president right now, i understand why israel is very distrustful. i think he's got to be firm, he's got to be consistent. what he did in syria was undefensible because it send so many mixed signals and caused people to lose faith in our country, which should be the wrong thing because we are still a pillar of strength in the country. but the president, again, is so apologetic, and by going overboard with iran and dismissing israel , he's sort of leaving the saudis out there and again, solely inconsistent. i think we'll look back on syria . the mixed signals he sends about syria over that two to three-week period will have lasting damage .
>> if in the end sitter yathe syrian regime are forced in the end without using military force , that debate should continue. i'm out of time right now. thank you.
>> thank you, david .