Obamacare Architect Ezekiel Emanuel spoke out in defense of the Affordable Care Act as concerns mount over the future of President Obama’s health-care reform law.
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Stuart Varney, of the FOX Business Network, listed the reasons why he asserted that Obamacare is unraveling before asking Emanuel, “You owe the American people an apology and I want to know if you’re going to deliver that apology on this program because you really screwed America? Go ahead.”
To which Emanuel responded, “First of all I wouldn’t hold your breath and second of all I hope we have half an hour to go through the misinformation you’ve just delivered.”
Emanuel took on some of the key criticisms of Obamacare, first pointing out the increased number of Americans covered by health care.
“Let me explain something, first of all, let me make three points before you interrupt. The first point is we have insured 20 million people so whatever your version of failure is, that’s a big improvement. We now have less than 30 million Americans without insurance, that’s a substantial improvement.”
Emanuel then responded to concerns over the states where there are only one or two insurers to choose from.
“The second point is, in many of the states you identified where we don’t have enough insurers, that is a longstanding problem of rural areas and I totally agree we need to address it. It is not escaping, but it is not a problem that the Affordable Care Act created, it’s a problem that predates the Affordable Care Act and it’s about the volume of customers for insurance.”
Emanuel also weighed in on concerns about the rise in health care costs.
“And the third point I want to make is that in fact health insurance premiums have not come down, but have not increased at the same rate they did between 2000 and 2010. In fact the American public, according to recent analysis, are actually saving a substantial amount of money compared to what we expected.”
But Varney countered, “We got into this because we wanted to lower the cost of health care and we have singularly failed to do it.”
To which Emanuel responded, “You listen to me carefully, you will note that I don’t say lower the cost of health care. I say control health care. And that’s because we are not going to lower the cost of health care in this country, we are going to control how fast it goes up. And we have done that.”
Then Varney asked Emanuel, “What do you say to all of our viewers who are now paying massive deductibles?”
In response, Emanuel asked, “Am I on a conservative show?” Emanuel continued, “It’s a conservative idea that you should have high deductible plans with having more people having more skin in the game. That’s a conservative idea and now you’re complaining that that idea is being realized. That sounds like hypocrisy to me.”
When Varney commented that Emanuel was no longer smiling and wondered if he were ready to apologize for Obamacare, Emanuel responded, “No, I’m frustrated that you have me on the show and you don’t let me talk, you want to just go off.”
Varney explained, “I’m representing our viewers who are mad as hell about what’s happened in their health care system because of the system designed by you.” And Varney again asked, “You’re not going to apologize?”
But Emanuel would not apologize, saying, “No. It’s a better system than the one we had before. Your memory is just so poor about how bad the system was before.”