Meet the Press   |  December 01, 2013

1: Van Hollen, Rogers talk Obamacare

Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Mike Rogers discuss the Affordable Care Act website.

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

>>> this sunday, the race to fix the president's health care plan takes on new urgency as a key deadline is reached.

>> there are thousands of people every single day who are getting health care for the first time. and by the way, the website is continually working better, so check it out.

>> but is it working as well as it should be? with president obama 's promises to fix healthcare.gov, will the website be fixed well enough to handle the millions of people that could sign up this month? and what will be the impact of obama care on the 2014 elections, and even perhaps the 2016 presidential race ?

>>> plus, an historic week for pope francis with his first major statement, attacking what he calls, quote, the idolatry of money. what continues is a whirlwind change for the vatican. i'll go one on one with cardinal timothy dolan of new york . he is one of the leading cardinals in america. he talks about why the church has turned against obama care and why the church has been outmarketed on gay marriage .

>>> nbc correspondent harry smith with the story of the survivor of the boston marathon bombing. he represents the true meaning of boston strong. i'm david gregory onand this is "meet the press" on sunday, december 1st .

>>> good sunday morning. a big weekend for the future of president obama 's landmark health care legislation, two months to the day since the troubled launch of health healthcare.gov, they put out a report this morning saying they're making dramatic progress and the team is meeting with private sector velocity and effectiveness. that's how the website apparently is working. it also says the site's capacity has been expanded to handle 50,000 users at once along with improved response times and decreased error rates. but the obama administration has downplayed expectations in the past week saying the man could actually outweigh capacity, and today's report indicates there is still more work to be done. the real test lies ahead when millions of uninsured americans could try to enroll by an initial december 23rd deadline. we have mike rogers of michigan. he also sits on the on us and commerce committee over the jurisdiction of health and human services . welcome to both of you and welcome to "meet the press "snoochlt.

>> just your reaction to this report. dramatic progress, private sector -like velocity. the promise was for the website to be fully functioning by now. are you satisfied?

>> overstated. have they made some progress and they brought in some folks to try to bring the functionality up. it still doesn't function right. their own cio said he believed that if they had the ability to get up to 80% functionality, that would be a good day for them. so, a, the functionality is right. here's a part of this discussion that nobody talks about. the security of this site and the private information does not meet even the minimal standards of the private sector , and that concerns me. i don't care if you're for it or against it, republican or democrat, we should not tolerate the sheer level of incompetence securing this site. but the hub accesses would expose the people's information which is bad.

>> congressman van hollen , the claims being what they are today still indicate a truth. the washington editorial points it out this morning that while progress has been made, the site is still not today where it was supposed to be two months ago. and yet the promise is to be fully functioning. are you satisfied?

>> well, david, the administration has hit the big benchmarks they set out, right? 50,000 people at one time, 80,000 people in one day. this is going to take some time before it's up and kicking in full gear. i think what we have to look at is those states where you have well functioning web sites like california , like new york , like kentucky. all of them are signing people up. all of them have a good mix of people --

>> but your own state site not furn functioning very well.

>> maryland is a mess. there is no doubt about it. the question is are we going to work together to fix those problems, and there will be additional problems, or are we going to do what the republicans want to do, continue to sabotage the entire effort, even though they don't have an alternative. yes, we should continue to fix it every day. the underlying concept is good.

>> congressman rogers indicates this is also where the president is going to go. he's going to go on the offensive. he's going to argue that republicans are trying to sabotage this instead of getting it right, that they have no ideas of their own. is that what's going to help improvements here to people?

>> this is unprecedented con physician indication of people's health care . here's what i think they're missing. they're trying to make this a political fight. when you have someone who just lost their insurance , and there are millions of people who got cancellation notices, and the next go-round on the business side is 80 to 100 people will get cancellation notices. here's why i think they're missing the boat on trying to make this a political fight between democrats and republicans. a guy grabbed me the other day whose wife is expecting a baby end of december. they got a cancellation notice. if she has the baby in january, he is absolutely apoplectic about how to pay for it. if she has the baby in december, there is no compassion in that. this is happening hundreds of thousands of times all across the country. they're getting ready to close high-risk pools that have cancer survivors , people who are trying to fight cancer are getting thrown out of their high-risk pools at the end of this year. as a cancer survivor , you want your whole focus to be on beating the disease. they're making a horrible mistake by trying to meet this when real people are are getting hurt.

>> there are people who will get insurance who never had insurance , and you have a small piece of the market who may lose plans. many of those may get better plans. you made your argument. here's the bottom line question which goes to, will this be fixed? look at this poll back on november 18 to the 20th. will current problems facing the new health care law be solved? 54% do believe it will be solved. that's a level of credibility and belief in the system that presumably is very important. but let me ask you, congressman van hollen , we have seen delays in the still of the night . here are some of the headlines. the wednesday before thanksgiving now saying small businesses will have extra time before they can actually start signing up for health care benefits. should the individual mandate be delayed? this is the big part of health care . should that be delayed if you want this to work as well as it can?

>> as you know, they already moved the deadline twice. they moved it to the end of march for the original mandate. we've extended this to december 23rd for people to sign up. we need to adapt. we need to make sure we address problems as they come up and try to work on them on a bipartisan basis. mike says it's not political. in my pocket, eric cantor issued this playbook against obama care the other day. they're not trying to work with us on these issues. yes, there are problems, there's no denying that. let's work to fix them. we know when it's fixed it looks like california , it looks like new york , it looks like kentucky.

>> you're not saying it's the president's job to execute, right? this is his president's idea and it's his responsibility to execute, the federal government 's responsibility to execute.

>> no doubt about that. you have a lot of groups out there running ads telling people not to sign up. you have efforts tonavigators, people trying to sign up. democrats worked with republicans to get the job done.

>> should the original mandate be delayed if that's what it takes to get the program right?

>> as of today, no. if you can't sign up, but right now, it looks like we're making progress.

>> congressman van hollen , it's really important if the original mandate should be delayed.

>> you're punishing these people. the number one reason people didn't have insurance was cost. what this has done is increase cost. so, again, they're making it political. as a matter of fact, they tried to get people to talk about politics at the thanksgiving table by talking about the president's health care law , and at their own family table. if that isn't political, i don't know what is. 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, closer to 10. what they've done is disrupt it for the 85% who had health care , and their costs are going up significantly. so we've broken the system to help a few. nobody would fix a problem that way. and think of the people who are going through all of the anguish today for getting that pink slip on their medical insurance who have cancer, who have a wife that's pregnant. those folks are absolutely apoplectic. that's why i think it's crazy to say if we just tweak it a little bit, we'll take care of the problem. these are real life problems, and these folks are already having a hard time in the economy, and their health care insurance is going up and they have to figure out how to get it.

>> he just put out so much misinformation in two seconds that he can't answer. the reality is it hasn't messed up 80% of the market. the original market, which has already been broken, represents 5% of the market. a lot of those people were losing their health care on an annual basis before. we're trying to fix that. all the information about compromising your personal data, one of the great things about the affordable care act is we're not dealing with preexisting conditions.

>> we're not going to settle this here and now. we're out of time, but obviously this gives you some indication to our viewers about where this debate is and how political it will remain as we move ahead perhaps into the new year. congressman rogers, congressman van hollen , thank you very much. let's get a reality check . i want to turn to dr. ezequiel emanuel. welcome to both of you. the reality test. here's the report saying dramatic progress, substantial progress, more work to do. you wrote in an op-ed some weeks ago that this is the time. this thanksgiving weekend, the deadline is here. is it good enough progress?

>> i think it's good enough progress. clearly, just like google and facebook and all the internet sites are constantly tweaking their sites, constantly improving them. this one still has a way to go. but it certainly is working reasonably well, i, in particular, want to shop and compare. the white house said it will improve either late tonight or tomorrow to the key area where people can see what's available, what the prices are. it's not working that well, but they're promising to have it improved. i think we are going the right direction, and for the first time, most importantly, we actually have effective management overseeing. we have an integrater who is over it.

>> do they have enough young people to go and actually sign up?

>> there are three things to getting folks to sign up. on the one hand, sir subsidies. the congress said one of the reasons they don't sign up is cost. they're going to get hundreds and trillions of dollars in the market for subsidy. that's the reason they'll go in and be part of it. another piece of it is the individual mandate. you guys were talking about this a couple moments ago, but at the end of this year, you're going to be paying a percentage of kwo your income if you don't sign up for health insurance . that gets them in the market, too. the other thing that hasn't launched yet, but a couple months ago before the obama administration believed that the fall would be all about it not working, they thought it would be about a massive outreach effort they were going to launch usingmayors, using governors, trying to get their mothers involved to get folks to sign up, by getting trusted valuable dar -- validaters to talk about it.

>> in california the website is working and up, and there the portion of kids signing up is a portion of the population. so it does look like we are going to have enough if you have that data point. and if we can get the word out, we'll get enough young people .

>> when you hear the politicians that were just talking, and you hear the political debate , a lot of viewers have to be hearing that saying, what about the bottom? when is this actually going to get solved?

>> the website no doubt is going to get solved. tae that's a technical problem.

>> there are other tests down the road.

>> of course, there are other tests down the road. in the long run, in the next few years and end of the decade, this is going to have dramatic improvement. you'll have competition in the exchangers. we're already keeping costs down and will keep them down further. you have improvements in the health care system . hospitals have to work on infections, readmissions.

>> but there is a more pessimistic case, which could be what?

>> the more pessimistic case would be you have insurance moving to the exchanges. the funny thing about this debate is republicans believe that over time would be great. all of their plans, including paul ryan 's 2010 plan, was about breaking down the base and moving people over. one of the things frustrating about this debate is we've gone to a place in politics where we've refused to accept the fact of this reform. the individual market is a place where the recent prices are what they are as we discriminate against the sick and the old and women and people who can't read the fine print of insurance . we are fixing that and it's going to be important that we fix it. it doesn't mean no one will have a tough time in the changeover, and we need to help those folks, but we also need to recognize if we're going to make things better, there is a process of difficulty to do that.

>> i'm out of time, but this is really where i think the administration wants to argue the plus side that you've already seen on the affordable care act and argue the real peril of the status quo. i have to leave it there. but thank you both for being here. we're going to come back and talk a little about the catholic church . why the church has turned against the president's health care plan. we'll be back with my interview with cardinal timothy dolan , the archbishop of new york .

>> mr. president, please, you're really