In this Fox News Sunday Show With Chris Wallace: Gov. Bobby Jindal on ObamaCare rollout, dysfunction in Washington; Reps. Becerra, Blackburn talk changes to individual mandate
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington. President Obama has ordered a tech surge to fix the problems with the healthcare.gov Web site. But even some Democrats are now calling for a delay in the individual mandate.
Joining us to talk about the rollout beyond the Beltway, a critic of the president’s health care law, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who’s chair of the Republican Governors Association.
Governor, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, R-LA.: Chris, thank you for having me this morning.
WALLACE: President Obama’s troubleshooter on the ObamaCare Web site says that the problems should be fixed by the end of November. Here he is.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JEFFREY ZIENTS: By the end of November, healthcare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question: how realistic do you think that that target is? And is this becoming — how big a problem do you think this is becoming to Democrats?
JINDAL: Chris, I think they’ll eventually fix the Web site. But let’s remember, this is the easy part. You know, the real critical issue is when it comes time to schedule your grandma’s cancer surgery, what’s going to happen then? I think this is symptomatic of a bigger problem, and I’ve long wondered, is this administration the most incompetent or the most liberal administration in recent history, I think this issue, this policy shows that — to quote Hillary Clinton — what difference does it make?
This is an incompetent rollout, but it’s symptomatic of a liberal ideology that believes government should be running our health care. So, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Eventually, they’ll fix the Internet problems. Maybe they’ll bring in Al Gore, you know, the guy who says he invented the Internet, maybe they’ll fix the Web site. But the bigger is, this is symptomatic. We don’t need the government running our health care.
WALLACE: At least 10 Senate Democrats — I repeat, Democrats — are now calling for a delay. In some cases, it’s weeks, some cases, months, and in some cases, a year, of the individual mandate. What do you think of the president just by the sheer weight of the problems is going to have to bow to that?
JINDAL: Oh, I think the pressure is only going to grow as we see more and more problems with the rollout. You’re seeing fewer people sign up. More and more plans dropping. And now, hundreds of thousands of Americans, maybe even over a million Americans learning they’re not going to be able to continue in their current insurance. As Americans find out, premiums are higher than they were promise. I think you’re going to see more and more frustration build, more and more Democrats and Republicans calling for delays, for repeals. The administration has already delayed the employer mandate. It is harder and harder for them to enough why they wouldn’t delay the individual mandate as well.
So, I think you’re going to see Democrats and Republicans both responding to the failure of this policy. But let’s remember, it’s not just that they couldn’t get the Web site right, it’s just that this is a flawed approach to health care. This idea that government knows best, the idea that you will have a one-sized fits all approach.
This is what happened when you get government that’s so vast, so expansive.
Remember what David Axelrod said, in response to all the scandals — NSA, “The A.P.” spying, the Benghazi, the IRS. He basically said the federal government is so vast and so expansive the president can’t know what’s going on. And that’s what’s — that’s what we’re seeing with this rollout of ObamaCare as well. Once the government gets so vast, I’d argue it’s almost inevitable you’re going to have these failures, these kinds of mistakes, these kinds of problems.
That’s why we as Republicans don’t think it makes sense to let the bureaucrats in Washington decide how we’ll get our health care.
WALLACE: Well, Governor, let’s take a look at health care in your state. Twenty percent of the people in Louisiana are now uninsured. That’s tied for fourth among states with the highest percentage of uninsured.
You decided not to run your own exchange, leaving it to the feds. You turned down the Medicaid expansion. Question: aren’t you leaving a lot of folks in your state of Louisiana out in the cold?
JINDAL: Chris, I think we need to do health care reform from the bottom up. This is what we do in Louisiana. We’re the only state that has a state operated network of charity hospitals. We transformed those. We had 10 state operated hospitals when I became governor.
Now, nine of those are public/private partnerships, saving taxpayers over $100 million, improving the quality of care for example in Baton Rouge, going from a 10-day wait to a 10-minute wait to get prescriptions. Six-month wait for cancer services in another city where they’re seeing specialists now right now, to another city like Charleston where if you had a broken bone or if you need special service that a lot of times, you had to travel many miles, and now you can get that care locally partnering with the private sector. In our managed care and our Medicaid program, we took 900,000 individuals got them into private insurance plans where they’re getting preventative care and primary care, again, saving taxpayers another $100 million improving health care outcomes.
If you believe the federal government, if you believe the Obama administration and all the numbers they put out, our uninsured rate with the exchanges and everything else, should be 6 percent or less. To us, it made no sense to expand Medicaid, where over for every uninsured person you’re covering, you take more than one person out of private insurance. So I think if you let the states approach health care reform, we can do it better in a D.C.-based approach.
In Louisiana, we’re not only putting more people on private plans. Not only are we reforming the charity hospital system, we’re also going to have more people working in the private sector more than any time in our state’s history. And you see average incomes going up. And that’s really the best solution, is to give people good paying jobs and the ability to afford their own health care.
WALLACE: But, Governor, an editorial in your local newspaper, “The Times-Picayune”, criticized you this week for refusing to take $16 billion in aid, in funding, for Medicaid from Washington. I want to put up some of what the paper had to say. The wrote, “Without the expansion, 242,150 poor Louisiana residents won’t have access to the insurance offering the Affordable Care Act was designed to provide”.
And they note that other Republican governors who opposed ObamaCare like you do, like Kasich of Ohio and Snyder of Michigan, are taking the Medicaid money to help the folks in their state.
JINDAL: Well, again, if we did Medicaid expansion in Louisiana for every uninsured person, covered more than one person would be taking out of private insurance.
Secondly, you would need 41 percent of our population, Chris, would be in Medicaid, I think you need more people pulling the carton in the cart. Third, it would cost my taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over 10 years.
This isn’t free money. The Oregon study also shown that just expanding Medicaid doesn’t necessarily improve health care outcomes. After two years — this is a credible story, nonpartisan study — showed no improvement in physical health care outcomes after two years of Medicaid expansion, just giving somebody a Medicaid card, not giving them health care access.
What we’re doing instead, there was a “Lake Charles American Press” editorial also saying, praising our public/private partnerships, saying people are getting better access to special health care for the first time. We’re going to have a level one trauma center here in Baton Rouge, first time, a level two trauma center in Lafayette, in New Orleans. We’ve got the V.A., LSU Children’s Hospital, Tulane, working together on ultimately a $2 billion modern health care complex.
We believe we’ve got a better approach. Helping people buy better insurance, 900,000 out of an outdated paying for services, now paying for outcomes approach. We’ve got a better approach to provide services to those people. And, again, if you believe the exchange claims and I’m not sure they’re going to hit these targets, but the uninsured rate in Louisiana will be below 6 percent. We think a better way to provide for that 6 percent is through the public/private partnerships, through value health (ph), not in a one-size-fits-all Medicaid program. And this money is not free.
WALLACE: All right.
JINDAL: Let’s remind ourselves. I know people like to think it’s free.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on this with you because you talk generally talk about better approaches. As we’ve pointed out at the beginning, you’re just not the governor of Louisiana, you’re also the head of the Republican Governors Association. And the RGA has started running ads saying, in effect, that the real impetus, the real progress, the center of the strength of the GOP is in the states, not in D.C. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JINDAL: In Washington, they love to talk about things, and very little if anything gets done.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY, R-S.C.: The hardest part about my job is Washington, D.C. But what I know is I’m not going to let Washington slow us down.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: America’s comeback without a doubt is happening here in the states.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WALLACE: You said famously right after the 2012 elections that the Republicans have to stop being, quote, “the stupid party”. You also say they have to stop just being anti-Obama. That is not enough.
Is that a problem with the GOP here in Washington?
JINDAL: Oh, absolutely. I think you look at the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. I think folks all across the country, Republicans, independents, and Democrats are frustrated. We as a party can’t just be a party of no.
The only place you see conservative principles being applied today are in state capitals and local government, whether it’s school choice, whether it’s cutting taxes, taking on public pensions. Whether it’s lowering the unemployment, growing the private sector again, here in Louisiana, we’re setting records for the number of people working, but you’re seeing that in 30 states across the country led by Republican governors. And that’s why we need to show voters, conservative principles work, and to see them working, you don’t need to look no further than our state capitals.
WALLACE: Well, you talked about conservative principles working, you have started something called America Next to try to come up with an affirmative, conservative agenda for the nation’s problems. Given how poorly Republicans did in the 2012 election, whether it was with Hispanics, or young people, or single women, do you need a new, different, positive agenda to try to win those voters back?
JINDAL: Absolutely, Chris. Now, we don’t need to change our principles. We don’t need to become a second liberal party. But the whole idea behind America Next is we’re going to offer detailed policy solutions consistent with our principles on issues like energy, on education, on health care, and growing the private sector economy, we need to win the war of ideas.
Prime Minister Thatcher famously said you’ve got to win the war, the debate of ideas before you can win the next election. We’ve got to be more than the party of no. Look, our country has got a critical decision to make. My generation needs to choose again or renew those principles of freedom to say the American dream and prosperity, that is a path forward.
WALLACE: Governor —
JINDAL: President Obama is offering more government.
WALLACE: Governor, we’re running (inaudible). I mean, give me an example and don’t get wonky on me here, give me an example of a new, fresh conservative proposal that we’re not hearing now that you think would be more attractive to one of these groups that is not voting Republican right now.
JINDAL: Well, look, I think you see a lot of creativity around education reform at the state level, whether it’s giving letter grades to public schools, holding people accountable on terms of student growth in terms of how they’re learning, in terms of school choice, of dollars follow (ph) students into public schools, online school, private schools, independent schools, dual enrollment programs. I think it’s also changing the way that we teach that for example in Louisiana, a child can start the day in a public school and take courses throughout the day from a multiple providers.
I think an education reform is one example. It’s way to help empower every child in America to get a great education and pursue the American dream. Democrats are so beholden to teachers unions. They’re stuck in a decade’s old approach, top-down, one-size-fits-all learning. That’s just one example of how we can contrast our conservative principles actually empower American families.
WALLACE: Finally, and we have much less than a minute left. I got to ask you — 2016, you obviously got a lot of ideas about the future of this party, you say, the strength and the ideas of the party are coming from the states not from Washington. Why wouldn’t you run for president in 2016?
JINDAL: Well, Chris, the honest answer I don’t know what I’m going to do in 2016. I’d say two things. One, as Republicans, we’ve got a lot of elections we have to win before. Thirty-eight governors races. We’ve got a midterm elections.
But I’ve also say this, what’s even more important than who’s running is what we would do if we were to win the majority back and win the White House back. That’s why America Next is so important. This is not going to be a super PAC, it’s not about ads, it’s going to be about policies, detail policies.
We must stick to our conservative principles. We can’t just be the party of no. Let’s offer a constructive alternative about how young people, about how every American can pursue the American dream, how prosperity lies in a growing private sector, not a larger government, not more government programs we can’t afford.
WALLACE: But you’re not ruling it out, are you?
JINDAL: No, I’m saying at this point I don’t know and I think it’s too early. I want to be focused on is winning that war of ideas, that debate of ideas. Let’s go win that fight, then we’ll deserve to be a majority.
WALLACE: Governor Jindal, thank you. Thanks for joining us today. It’s always good to talk with you, sir.
JINDAL: Thank you for having me, Chris.
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