Meet the Press   |  November 17, 2013

Ayotte: 'This is a mess'

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire describes how the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has negatively affected her constituents.

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

>> next we have senator kelly ayotte. senator, welcome back.

>> thanks, david .

>> i know there is a delay between us and we'll bear through that. respond to leader pelosi who, in effect, says there is some hysteria politically around all this, these things will get righted and ultimately people lz t -- will see the benefits of the affordable care act . do you not see it that way?

>> no matter how much congresswoman pelosi tries to spin this, this is a mess, david . i'll tell you what i'm hearing from my constituents. they're writing me about cancellation notices of plans they wanted to keep, rising premiums so some of their deductibles are doubling, they're paying more for health care , people losing hours because the definition of the work week is 30 hours. in new hampshire there is only one insurer on the exchange. 10 of our 26 hospitals are excluded. so this really is a mess, so she can try to spin it, but this -- i think it's time -- the president said he fumbled the rollout. it's time for a time-out which i've been calling for so we can go back to the drawing board and really talk about bipartisan solutions for health reform in the country.

>> so the political headline this week was at the latest gop obama care strategy, keep out of the way. is that right? is this being viewed as a new way to try to end obama care and the affordable care act altogether?

>> well, i think what we're interested in is actually there are areas we need to address. rising costs in health care , that's a timeout for this thing. let's go back to the drawing board . let's not forget how this was passed, david . it was passed on purely partisan lines, no input from republicans. that's what you get when you try to push it through, and as the former speaker said on your show and said previously today when you played the clip for her, we have to pass it so you can find out what's in it. now the american people know what's in it. my constituents are very unhappy with the notices they're receiving and higher premiums.

>> this is what the "new york times" wrote this week about what the president is up against. the failures getting this rolled out, but also this. mr. obama is battling a republican opposition that has refused to open the door to any legislative fixes to the health care law and has blocked him at virtually every turn. there is no republican proposal that i'm aware of that would seek to address the problems, basically 40 million uninsured americans, that the affordable care act seems to address. isn't that true?

>> well, david , i would say this. let's start with the principal that in medicine the first rule is to do no harm. and politicians addressing health care need to do no harm. we would like to get to some bipartisan solutions. let's allow a greater competition, why can't people buy insurance across state lines. if we can drive down costs, we can give people greater access. why not allow people to be treated the same in terms of tax treatment? let's address preexisting conditions. there were state high -risk pools we can buttress. but there are many things the republicans are will to work on a bipartisan basis on, but they are so stuck on this law and trying to implement it no matter what the cost, no matter what to the american people .

>> what is a viable alternative that really solves the problem?

>> i would say let's get to the table on a bipartisan basis and let's make sure we have a plan that has more choice, not less. let's have one where we're driving down costs and increasing competition. have the insurance companies compete in a way that they aren't right now. let's get together and figure out what are the best models from the state law on the high-risk pools to address preexisting conditions. there are many ideas, i think, that we could do that won't harm people that have policies now that they would like to keep. and i think that's the problem that we're seeing is a law that harms so many people who right now were trying to do the right thing and have health insurance , a and now they're receiving she's cancellation notices and higher premiums. it seems to me we should work together to address this health care reform instead of the way this was done on party lines .

>> we're going to leave it there. senator kelly ayotte, thank you so much for your time. i appreciate it.

>> thank you.