Meet the Press   |  November 03, 2013

2: Deval Patrick talks health care

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick visits Meet the Press to talk about health care in his state.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with governor mitt romney , republican 2012 nominee. governor, i want to ask you about the future of the republican party . my knowledge of where republicans are seem to reflect the split, the retention of the party . on the one hand you have republican governors. there's 30 of them actually governing out in the states. at a national level, however, you have a republican party that seems more fixed on opposition, opposition to the obama agenda as they would, of course, defend to be the right place to stand in that policy. but that tension has real consequences in terms of whether the party can become a national party again at the national level. can they get the white house back. how do you view that tension. you already said you think the strategy on the government shutdown was wrong. how does that tension resolve itself? what's your prescription?

>> i think what you're going to see is without a president to, if you will, discipline our own party , you're going to have a lot of different voices taking the party or wanting to take the party in different directions. we're going to listen to that as a group of voters, and ultimately the people are going to be able to make their decision. i think you'll find that we will be very anxious to choose someone as our nominee in 2016 who we think has the best prospects of actually winning and getting the country back on track to create jobs again and to give the american people the prosperity and the hope they've been looking for.

>> but isn't this the issue? look, the reason there is a tea party right now goes back to president bush . i actually think it goes back to the beginning of a more robust security state. after 9/11, the government expands to deal with security, there's also medical part d , there's government spending and the bailouts, which conservatives start to rebell against and president obama continues that. and the answer has been john mccain in 2008 and mitt romney in 2012 , and there is a lot of the conservatives who say, hey, guys, that's the wrong approach. we've got to have more conservative nominees if we're really going to get healed in this party , they are not the answers. yet you seem to be doubling down on the idea that electability is the key, but the ranking party says, no, we've got to get back to our conservative roots.

>> electability and conservatism conservatism, i think, goes together. you have a party which is conservative. in my campaign, i think i made it very clear how i was going to get america working again, how i would get a balanced budget and start reducing our debt. i had a very conservative platform, and that kind of conservative platform, i think, is the foundation of any kind of successful campaign in 2016 . i just happen to think you want to combine conservatism with the ability to get elected. you want someone who can garner the support of people across the country to say this is a person i trust who will implement the kind of conservative approach that i think america is looking for.

>> how formidable is hillary clinton if she is the nominee? can a republican nominee beat her?

>> she's a very well-known figure. obviously if she becomes a nominee, we'll be taking a very close look at her record to see what she's accomplished and where america has gone. i would think people would have to think the last four years or five years have not been a great time for american interests around the world. she'll have a record to be examined. hopefully we'll have a nominee who can do that effectively and demonstrate his or her own record and have a strong track record to say, you know what? i would rather have that person because that person can get america working again.

>> governor romney , i appreciate your views. thank you.

>> thank you for having me.

>>> coming up is mitt romney 's successor in massachusetts , governor deval patrick . thanks for being here.

>> hi, david.

>> you heard governor romney describe it as not telling people they could lose their plans and disaster because of this failed rollout website .

>> the affordable health care act is not a website . i think governor romney knows that, the american people know that. it does a lot of good for a lot of people that has already begun, i'm confident of that. the website in massachusetts that we started implementing in 2007 was also imperfect. it got fixed. and governor romney was right when he said it would be a model for the country, and it has been.

>> but i'll take you back to some of the comments he made back in 2009 and 2013 . a fundamental promise he made to the american people . watch.

>> if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, period. [ applause ] no one will take it away no matter what. so the first thing you need to know is this. if you already have health care , you don't have to do anything.

>> so no matter what, if you like your health care plan, you don't have to do anything. was that a broken promise, or was that deception or both?

>> neither. for 95% of the people in america , that is the truth. for the small number of people who have a health care plan which, in fact, will not insure them when they get sick, it is not true. and that's the whole point. if you have a preexisting condition, if you have the kind of health care that disappears when you need it most, the affordable care act says that has to end. it's also true that medical costs are number one cause of bankruptcy in america . that ends with the affordable care act .

>> 2 million people have been told that they don't have health insurance that they can keep, and then you say, well, you can get another plan, except you can't because you can't get on the website . so was this not sold --

>> well, that -- excuse me, david, go ahead and finish.

>> go ahead.

>> i'm sorry to cut you off. the website is a convenience and right now it's not working very well. it's not the only way to get information. you can sign up on the phone, you can do it in person, and in very short order you'll be able to do it on line. the obvious benefit of the website is to be able to compare plans, to shop, because as you shop, you save. and that's why it's urgent that the president get it fixed as soon as possible.

>> here's what the " washington post " reports this morning. the a nnatomy of this debacle, and it quotes president obama as saying, it's the website that's set up. all of that is well and good, in other words, other things they're doing to get people enrolled, but if the website doesn't work, nothing else matters. and yet you're saying this morning that the website is not health care , it's just a website .

>> if the website is permanently flawed, we've got a serious problem. but we've got a rollout problem for what, three or four weeks? it took us two years to get our website right in massachusetts . and now we have virtually universal coverage, 90% of our residents have a primary care physician , we are healthier, it has not broken the budget, more businesses offer insurance to their employees than ever before, one of the highest levels in the country, and it is approved by 84% of our population. i think that what this whole situation has pro dusd duced is actually a favor for the white house and the president. i, among others, have always been saying the president needs to be out talking about the fundamental good the affordable care act does for people, and this is provoking him to do so, and that's a great thing.

>> well, i'm not sure he considers it a lesson. here's the final point. this is critical to me. how do you know, how can you ensure that young people who don't feel they need health insurance are ultimately going to sign up to get the health insurance ? and if that doesn't happen, this model doesn't work nationally.

>> that's a key issue, and it was for us in massachusetts , the so-called invincibles, those young, healthy, mostly men who are, in fact, free riders , and there are some 30 million free riders in the united states , people who get their health insurance -- excuse me, get health care but don't contribute to the system, and the rest of us pay for it in our premiums and in taxes. and the mandate requires a basic principal of insurance, basically, which is everybody gets insurance, so you spread the risk and begin to bring the cost down. that's what happened in massachusetts , and in time that's what will happen with the nation.

>> that's a big if, right? on a thasnational level, that's a big if.

>> actually, it's not a big if. we have experience in massachusetts , and it's shown to be not only wildly successful but wildly popular. if we're going to have states be models of democracy, let's not have them be stuck in the lab, let's scale them, and that's exactly what the massachusetts plan does.

>> coming up here, we'll talk more about this. some of the bombshell revelations from the 2012 campaign about hillary clinton and governor chris christie . could the news be a game changer for 2016 ?

>>> and later, fall from grace . he was once new york city 's top cop, and now