Meet the Press   |  December 29, 2013

Castro: Health care changes improving Obamacare

Castro says changes to Obamacare are improving the program after its troubled rollout.

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

>> let me ask you about health care . the news this morning is that there have been 1.1 million americans that have enrolled via healthcare.gov, a surge we have seen in the last days and weeks. back in september, the secretary of health and human services , kathleen sebelius , said this was the standard of success.

>> what does success look like? well, i think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of march 2014 .

>> so we're about 1.1 million now, certainly far short of that standard of that goal. if you don't reach it, what are the implications?

>> well, obviously, we're going to try as hard as we can to reach it. the affordable care act is something that's good for the country. it really is a new day for the american people . they can't be denied now because of preexisting conditions. they won't hit lifetime caps, and we have been a little bit behind the curve. but on christmas eve and the day just before that, there were about a million people either on the website or made a phone call to enroll, and so we've seen the numbers spike up incredibly since november 1st .

>> do you believe that the individual mandate will have to be delayed? is that something worth considering?

>> no, at this point i think that we should continue with the law. you know, the administration, of course, has made some adjustments, but david, there is not a single big law like this that america has passed, probably in our history, where there haven't had to have been changes made to it to tweak it to make it better. so some of those delays you see the administration making are really in the best interest of the american people and made with the intent of serving the american people and getting people health care in a better way.

>> the fight coming up in the new year will be over the economy and jobless benefits that are set to expire for americans who are out of work. what are the economic ramifications of letting those benefits expire?

>> well, obviously, you've got about 4.1 million long-term unemployed in this nation. in texas alone, we've got 66,000 people who as of yesterday lost their benefits. 235,000 people in all who will lose their benefits through midway in 2014 . so it's not only the benefits which, by the way, only average about $300 a month. so it's not only the benefits to them but also all of that economic development for the country, for retailers, for grocers, et cetera , so it's going to have a huge impact on our country if congress doesn't do something about it.