CBS: ObamaCare Is Doing Fine, But Solution Is ‘More Subsidies and Regulations!’

CBS This Morning on Monday offered a schizophrenic defense of ObamaCare, insisting that the plan is just fine. However, the solution to keep it from “exploding” is “more subsidies and more regulations.” Co-host Gayle King introduced Bloomberg journalist Shannon Pettypiece to do a “reality check on some of the strongest GOP criticism.” 

Pettypiece insisted, “I think these predictions of ObamaCare's death spiral, from the reporting I have done, are greatly exaggerating the problem.” Sure, she allowed, “There are certain markets and there are certain people who are not doing well under this law.” 

However, Pettypiece hoped, “I think next year this time there will be people doing just fine, whose health insurance premiums have gone up some, but who have not faced this catastrophic situation.” 

Yet, when guest co-host Margaret Brennan wondered, “Are there band-aids to make this work so it's not going to explode,” the journalist didn’t challenge the language. Instead, she parroted the arguments liberal Democrats make. More money and more regulations! 

I think the solution is going to be something Republicans really don't want to hear, which is more subsidies and more regulations. A bigger carrot and a bigger stick. If the penalty went up for people who don't buy insurance, more healthy  people would be driven into the market. If the subsidies went up to help pay for people to get insurance, then more people would be able to afford it. And they, too, would go into the market. And if more regulations were placed on insurers to force them to sell in certain markets, that could also help too. You know, but those aren't the free market solutions that the Republicans want to hear.  

And journalists wonder why Americans complain about fake news. 

A transcript is below: 

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CBS This Morning
3/27/17
8:03am ET 

GAYLE KING: Bloomberg news correspondent, that’s Shannon Pettypiece has looked at specific challenges for Obamacare and she has a reality check on some of the strongest GOP criticism. Shannon joins us once again at the table. Always good to see you. 

SHANNON PETTYPIECE: Good to see you. 

KING: This is what the finger pointing looks like. Everybody’s blaming everybody else. When you really bore down and look at the facts, how bad is it? Is it as bad as it appears, I guess is the question. 

PETTYPIECE: It's very bad in certain markets. It’s doing pretty well in other markets. And I think these predictions of ObamaCare’s death spiral, from the reporting I have done, are greatly exaggerating the problem. Yes, there are certain markets and there are certain people who are not doing well under this law. But there are others who are doing quite well and to characterize this as a death spiral, I think next year this time there will be people doing just fine, whose health insurance premiums have gone up some, but who have not faced this catastrophic situation.  

ROSE: Why is there a difference in markets? 

PETTYPIECE: Well,  I think it depends on the state. Tennessee is a smaller market. You had more sick people sign up in that market in particular. California and New York, bigger markets. The general pool of people who signed up were healthier and that helps drive down the cost for insurers overall. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Death spiral actually hi has a technical term here. What is it? 

PETTYPIECE: You mean meaning that, you know — keeps going on and on. 

BRENNAN: You keep hearing ObamaCare is in a death spiral. That’s not just hyperbole. That actually referring to some issues with the marketplace. 

PETTYPIECE: Right. The issues with the marketplace are in some markets the insures have pulled out. They weren't able to make a profit. The costs — and you know, thus the costs have gone up and competition has gone down. You have premiums going way up and you have people who have no choice at the end of the insurance plan. And that's what's happened in some of these select markets that the Republicans have really cited and hammered away at. You also have people in the market where it is doing fine where, you know, they just make just enough money not to qualify for a subsidy but they don't make enough money where insurance is affordable. So you have those people who are in, kind of, an between area who we hear about who are paying $400 a month for insurance and have a $3,000, $4,000 deductible. So it's not affordable if for them and they don't really have other options. 

BRENNAN: Are there band-aids to make this work so it's not going to explode? 

PETTYPIECE: Yeah. I think the solution is going to be something Republicans really don’t want to hear, which is more subsidies and more regulations. A bigger carrot and a bigger stick. If the penalty went up for people who don’t buy insurance, more healthy  people would be driven into the market. If the subsidies went up to help pay for people to get insurance, then more people would be able to afford it. And they, too, would go into the market. And if more regulations were placed on insurers to force them to sell in certain markets, that could also help too. You know, but those aren’t the free market solutions that the Republicans want to hear.  

ROSE: So,  Could Republicans and Democrats ever agree on that? 

PETTYPIECE: I think at this point it is possible that there's more in common between the Democrats and the moderate Republicans than there are the far-right conservative Freedom Caucus and the moderate Republicans, but that's not saying much either, because the divide is there between the freedom caucus and the rest the Republican Party is pretty steep as well. But I do see there's maybe a potential with a lot of work and a lot of coalition building that Democrats could come on board to a Republican-sponsored plan. 

ROSE: When would we see another effort to propose a new health care legislation? 

PETTYPIECE: Unless there's a secret plan no one knows about, which we’ve all been kind of thinking there’s some plan all along, months, years. I mean, for people who have to make a decision about buying their health insurance this fall, I don't think there's going to be a replacement plan. There may be some fixes that get in place. 

KING: And the relationship between Paul Ryan and the president of the United States. How can these two work together? Do you think they're on the same page now? Publicly they’re saying, yes, they are. 

PETTYPIECE: The relationship between these two has never been good.  It has always been a tense relationship. These two have not seen eye to eye on a lot of things but they realize they're bound together by the situations they are in and working the best they can. This exacerbates the tenseness of that relationship and there's a lot of people inside the President's inner circle who are saying, “Listen, the only reason we were working with Paul Ryan was to get legislation through Congress. He can't to that, so what good is he to us? Either let’s replace him or let's push ahead with our own agenda and stop trying to compromise so much. 

ROSE: Do you think that's the opinion of Steve Bannon? 

PETTYPIECE: I’m not going to —  I will not reveal any certain name but  there are people with the RNC who have been with the Speaker. Mike Pence is known to be a close ally of the Speaker and there are those who came up through the anti-establishment camp that really propelled Trump to power who have never had a favorable opinion of the Speaker. 

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