Debbie Wasserman Schultz: No Specific Bill Comes to Mind Which Would Improve Obamacare
April 1, 2014
by Brendan Bordelon
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz denied Tuesday that many are paying more for health insurance coverage, failed to name a specific bill she favors to improve Obamacare and claimed that the law narrowed her party’s margin of defeat in last month’s special congressional election.
The Florida congresswoman spoke with NBC’s Chuck Todd Tuesday about the health-care law, which according to one poll saw a surge in popularity after enrollment numbers increased days before the deadline. While congratulating Wasserman Schultz on the temporary success, Todd repeatedly tried to extract concessions from the congresswoman concerning the law’s failings.
“What are you going to say when there are millions of people out there that are paying more, because they don’t get the subsidy?” he asked. “There are people that are in the private insurance marketplace who are healthy, who are paying more. And they feel they got the short end of the stick.”
The congresswoman was having none of it. “Well, where are the people who are paying more?” she asked, later admitting under pressure that “there are, of course, always going to be people who pay a little bit more.” She claimed Obamacare has overwhelmingly made people’s lives better, and that any problems in the law can be addressed as they arise.
“Well, let me ask you about that, the addressing of the problems,” Todd interjected. “Give me a bill right now you would introduce to address a problem.”
“Well, there’s no specific bill actually right now that I would … ” Wasserman Schultz responded uncertainly.
“You don’t view there’s a legislative problem that needs to be fixed?” Todd continued.
“You know, I think there are going to be issues that arise around the margins,” she said, “that if we just have a chance to sit down with Republicans … we could hammer out the problems that arise.”
“What is one?” Todd pressed. “You don’t have one that’s on your radar screen?
“That comes to mind immediately? No,” she replied. “Nothing glaring. I’m not saying that there aren’t problems. You know, there are always going to be tics in a law that arise, and what we should be doing is sitting down and working those out.”
The DNC chair also surprised Todd when she claimed Obamacare is actually a huge boon for Democrats in November — pointing to Democrat Alex Sink’s defeat in a Florida special election as an example.
“Actually, I think that election was under two points because [Republican candidate] David Jolly was for repeal and Alex Sink said –”
“You think health care made that race closer,” Todd said.
“I think health care made that race closer,” she affirmed. “We absolutely have to make sure that we turn our people out on Election Day. That’s a special election in a seat that was held by the Republicans for almost sixty years.”
“Sure,” Todd said, “but it was a pretty big swing seat.”
“It’s a swing seat,” she admitted. “But that was an R +8 to 13 advantage going into a race like that.”