Thomas Roberts | November 18, 2013
>>> question being, ask obama care be fixed with the president's signature, credibility on the line? what if anything account white house and the president do to keep the law and this presidency from flat lining. the white house 's next self-imposed deadline is coming up november 30th . and two obama insiders say the president's second term now hinges on just one thing.
>> in the short term, as peter said, they're just going to have to slug it through and fix the website. that's the key there.
>> once the website gets fixed, and it will, you have to step back and say, okay, what do i need to have confidence going forward for this law not just in the coming months, but the coming years?
>> okay. so once it gets fixed. how do you measure fixes. according to "the washington post " the administration's goal is for 80% of users to be able to enroll using the site by the november 30th deadline. will that be enough for the president's fellow democrats , though, especially the 39 who defected to vote with republicans on a gop -backed bill to fix issues with the law.
>> what you saw in the 39 people, maybe 9 people had real serious concerns. fact of the matter is, about 30 of them, and i've talked to them, were insulating themselves against sound bites .
>> this is an issue that has to be dealt with. but it doesn't mean, oh, it's a political issue, so we're going to run away from it. no, it's too valuable for the american people .
>> too valuable for the american people . joining me now new hampshire democratic congresswoman carol shea porter . you're among the 39 democrats who voted for friday's republican-backed bill by fred upton . meanwhile, were got the national journal coming out saying at aca obama care is a bill you that voted for, and now it's on life support . we have democratic colleagues saying that the bill guts the aca by allowing to sign up for inferior plans. what was your motivation going the way you went? voting for the other 39 democrats ? is this strictly out of self-preservation?
>> no, not at all. i said in 2010 when i was voting for the health care law , i went there to do what was right for my constituents. and i didn't think to the congressman about this, but in my particular instance, i looked at this as -- it's not on life support -- as i do, about all of the help that it's provided for americans of all ages, and people now have access to health care . but you know, there are some problems with it. and in new hampshire , we did not have the website up.
>> and so there's nothing to compare. and you have the policy. the other problem is, we only have one insurance company . and they created way too narrow a network for people. so doctors were left out and hospitals were left out of the network. so, to me, this is saying, okay, let's take a breath here. let's tweak this, this allow people to keep a policy that may or may not be as good. because there's far more benefits in the new law coming, obviously, in 2014 . but people have three choices. they could either go into the aca, or they could keep their old policy. or they could cancel. and i didn't want that to happen. so this is just a vote for my constituents and people that find themselves in that spot.
>> if we talk about your constituency, you talk directly about new hampshire being a state where the state legislature blocked having its own exchange up. we look at other states like washington, kentucky, connecticut, the governors explain because community leaders grasp the importance of expanding health care coverage and have avoided the temptation to use health care reform as a political football . so do you think it's unfair for people to question your motivation to back fred upton 's bill, knowing full well that that bill is not going to go anywhere from the house. the president has said he would veto it. so it's an effort in futility. but you know your constituents are going to know how you voted? but it doesn't do anything for you because it's not going to get out of the house.
>> right. but the point is, again, i didn't see this as a republican or a democratic effort. and actually, the democrats trying to strengthen and do a much better job by saying that insurance companies had to list all the options that consumers had. and i wish that had passed. that was much stronger. but this was really about the consumer. i talked to my colleagues across the country. it's not working perfectly. some some places it's working very well. but the premiums are still out of reach or they haven't been able to compare. and people need to have confidence that they got the best deal. so you can't say buy a car but we're not going to show you all the cars that we have. we just want you to buy a car now. because the website was down, people didn't have the time to carefully weigh all of this. i am convinced that new consumers, new people on to the market, will look at these policies and say it's a much better deal to go on the exchange, and that they will.
>> democratic congresswoman carol shea-porter of new hampshire , thanks for making time for me. joining me dnc communications director and rnc communications director . i want to start with you, shaun, asking kelly ayotte two time what the gop was offering up in place of obama care. she had no answer. and rick santorum agreed that republicans need to bring something to the table. he appeared on " morning joe ." take a look.
>> saying no is not enough. absolutely not enough. there are plenty of good plans out there implemented at state levels. look, i'll go back to john mccain . john mccain had a health care plan in 2008 , if you look at that plan now, we'll tell you, that's a pretty reasonable plan.
>> what is the gop alternative to obama care at this point?
>> i think there's several. the point that we've been making all along is, if you're asking us, are we going to replace one government takeover of health care with another, the answer is no. if we're going to implement policies that will ensure that people are covered at a lower price, give them better medical care , then, yes. things like portability, so you can shop across state lines. something that's being prevented flight. right now. brings down their costs, allows them to get greater access. and then there's a number of things. lawsuit reform that will allow more interaction with doctors and keep prices down. there's a series of things but i think the difference in approach, thomas , is this, we believe you can do it one step at a time that makes smart decisions that doesn't interrupt service that is not a government wholesale takeover which is what democrats did. is this why we warned that this approach would lead to consequences that we see now. i.e., people getting their insurance canceling. plans and companies saying they're going to drop people. so i think it's a totally different idea of how to approach health care . as opposed to one is government-based and one is private sector based.
>> you refer to every democratic member of congress being voted to making obama care move smoothly. as we heard from congresswoman shea-porter there, obviously actions speak louder than words behind the scenes . but is that the game to keep a stiff upper lip going into 2014 , act as if this isn't making people nervous?
>> well look, i think everyone from the white house on down understands that the rollout has not been nearly as good as it ought to be. but i still defy anyone to find one democrat out there who is doing what sean and his party want to do. which is repeal, go back to the way things were before. not one single democrat has said repeal this thing. we are unified in that. every single republican has said, repeal this thing. they are unified in that. and so heading into 2014 , and this really shouldn't be been electoral issue, but heading into 2014 , i'll take that choice any day of the week, between a party that is committed to expanding health care access and making it more affordable and has a lot on the books to do so. versus another party that hates that idea so much it was willing to shut the government down over it. i'll take that contrast any day of the week.
>> sean , i'm not sure you saw. hold on real quickly. there's this recent interview that compared the u.s. health care model against other countries. it showed that americans spent far more on health care but received far less. in return. when you have this insurance company over the bottom line . it's always the bottom line , what's best for the bank. how do we make money. not so much what's best for patients. doesn't data like this point to why we need a health care overhaul? and what the aca is trying to do in the first place?
>> no, there's nothing -- there's nothing in the aca that deals with cost containment. in fact, that's part of the problem of the reason we have a trust gap right now. because people were sold something that they're not getting. there's absolutely nothing in aca in obama care that brings costs down. what you're seeing, thomas , doctors saying i'm getting out of primary care physician . they're dropping medicare, tricare. doctors, specialties, oncologists or others, it's cash only and seek reimbursement on your own. doctors are saying we don't want to get involved in this. that's the exact wrong way to go. you're seeing that frankly not just here but in canada, too. it's specialized medicine that only the rich can afford.
>> isn't that a trend that started under president bush , where large companies were purging people from health care and doctors were changing their policies based on the failed health care that we had in this country? the bush administration was not looking to do anything with that, although we did get an update with medicare part "d" that did not go so well, as you know. but that update people were not want to be parted from. but when we talk about the costs coming down, that is untrue. there are people who had huge savings from the fact that they have transferred over under the aca. there are people benefits greatly from the fact that there are no preexisting conditions they have to be worried about from actually getting covered. and if it's up to the private insurance companies , we're going to see more people getting these junk insurance policies that they're getting canceled about. what is it about the junk insurance policies that the rnc supports?
>> it's a false choice when you say you support the aca or don't. most insurance companies say they will maintain keeping children on their parents until 26. preexisting conditions is something that most republicans are on board with.
>> sean , you guys make that choice.
>> excuse me?
>> you voted 42 times. republicans voted 42 times to repeal or --
>> repeal or defund obama care. right.
>> that's the problem with the way you guys have --
>> and you guys have repeatedly chosen nothing.
>> okay. let me --
>> when have you put --
>> can i just say this?
>> what are the proposals that you're saying -- you guys haven't put that forth?
>> mo, let sean respond.
>> okay, the way that democrats frame this. is when buying a car, if you don't like the radio. saying that you don't want a new car. the problem is, that's a false choice . you guys have loaded this thing up with so much fat and government bureaucracy --
>> hold on, wait a minute. let's talk about choices because you're willing to shut down the government.
>> over the nga. you stalled the entire government costing us billions for that time period .
>> and now, that was all to choke off oxygen because of the aca. the government was shut down? who owns the government shutdown ?
>> here's the deal. the government shutdown was very clear. we voted to fund everything put it. the mantra at the time was how dare you, it's a law, it can't be changed. now every time the president sees fit to unilaterally do things with executive order delay thing you and the dnc have no problem with a unilateral change of the law when it comes by executive order . but when it comes through the legislative process, how the constitution's laid out, how the system is supposed to work, suddenly, we're the bad guys . but every vote that republicans took was to keep this government operating with the exception of a law that most americans agree is not work and is not working well.
>> sean , i don't think anyone out of rnc headquarters, anyone, believes that republicans were fighting to keep the government operating. democrats are committed. our president is committed to finding fixing to make the law work better. republicans are criticizing the law and they have not participated in the fixes at all. you guys continue to try to scare people and kill the program bit by bit. your speaker said that the other day.
>> mo, let sean -- sean , i've going to give you the last word.
>> one piece for both mo and thomas since i'm debating both of you. this is the reality. you guys jam through a bill through the house of representatives , did not care what republicans thought. in fact, when scott brown won that seat in massachusetts, you voted so quickly to ensure that not one republican will have input in the senate. and you now you complain about republicans being part of the fix. you didn't care what we had to say during the time.
>> this is not true.
>> nancy pelosi made it clear. you'll have to read the bill when it's passed. because you didn't want to take the time to listen to republican ideas to get republican input and now you want to blame us. that's not how it works.
>> the secret is this whole thing was bit on conservative republican ideas in the first place that you all cut and ran from because this president is the one who promoted it.
>> zero votes. zero republican votes because you didn't want to work with us. you didn't care about our ideas. and now you want to blame us. it doesn't work that way.
>> that's just not how it happened.
>> when we passed part "d" and that's a great success.
>> guys, we've got to leave it there. mo from the dnc , sean from the rnc, this was fun. let's do it again.
>> thanks for having us.