“No, I don’t regret the vote. I’m proud of the vote. I always felt that health care should be a right, not a privilege in this country - one of the reasons why I ran for Congress. I’m glad to have helped accomplish that goal,” Stupak said.
Stupak, a pro-life Democrat, led a group of other pro-life Dems prior to passage of the bill, who said they would not support the measure unless it included an amendment prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion. He supported the bill on the day of the final vote after President Barack Obama promised to sign an executive order to Stupak’s liking.
“Did you know that there would be these problems or that millions of Americans would have to pay more for their premiums or for that matter, maybe not have health care altogether?” Cavuto asked Stupak.
“Well there are going to be—people are going to pay more. Sure. I mean the surtax on the health care bill alone in my congressional district, less than one tenth of one percent has to pay any more, but yet I had 50,000 people in my district who were uninsured at the time, who will benefit from this piece of legislation,” Stupak said.
“So when you weigh the equities of it, those of us who can afford to pay a little bit more are going to pay a little bit more for our health insurance. Those who had nothing, who never had much hope for security now have some underneath the Affordable Care Act,” he added.
Cavuto pointed to President Barack Obama’s promise before the ACA rollout that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan” as something Stupak’s colleagues knew “was impossible.”
“Well, most people can keep their health insurance. It’s really up to their employer whether or not they’re going to keep it. What the president was saying – you can no longer have your insurance policy rescinded or terminated by the insurance companies. You know longer go bankrupt. You have to have a basic essential plan. Everyone understood – at least the legislators understood – that there’s gonna be a basic plan that must have essential elements,” Stupak said.
Cavuto said challenged the notion that things like coverage of pre-existing conditions and doing away with a lifetime cap on coverage was free.
“All of those were good and sound things and a lot of very nice things, but to assume that they would not cost was at best – I covered it at the time – disingenuous,” Cavuto said. “Now I think here’s where a lot of people get mad at the president and a lot of folks – maybe like you who push this – that you didn’t get to the little asterisks in this, that you could end up losing your coverage or paying a hell of a lot more for it.”
“That was never trumpeted as something that could be very real for millions of Americans,” he added.
Stupak acknowledged that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act – the website, healthcare.gov – was “a disaster.”
“The rollout has been a disaster, and I’m befuddled as to why it has to be such a difficult thing, especially after we did the Y2K rollout,” he said.
“I’m not talking the website. That’s a disaster in its own right. I’m talking about what people discover when they do get on the site or when they do get exposure to the plans they are eligible for, or how somewhat older couples who don’t even have – you know their child-bearing years are way behind them, and they’re paying for pediatric coverage – the one-size fits all thing is silly,” Cavuto said.
“Well, it’s not one-size fit all,” Stupak said. “I mean in DC here, you have about 32 different plans you can choose from, so you make the decision, not your employer.”
“I’ve talked to about that many people over the last couple of weeks, Congressman, who are footing bills for things that they’re way past the age for, and they go on deciding that this is what we have to get, and if we want to fine select or fine tune a policy, it is not an option for us,” Cavuto said.
“I guess I’m gonna have to disagree. I mean even my state of Michigan, it’s—there’s about 20 and some different plans you can choose from--” Stupak said.
“Millions of people are telling me this, Congressman. Millions of people are there,” Cavuto said.
“I read the editorial yesterday in the Washington Post from three different governors who said, ‘Hey, it’s really working pretty well.’ In Kentucky, of all states, that governor—” Stupak said.
“Are you honestly believing that? Congressman, do you honestly believe that all these problems that millions are having are just exaggerations?” Cavuto asked.
“No, I’m not saying that everyone is exaggerating. What I’m saying, there are going to be ups an downs in this health care rollout. No doubt about it,” Stupak replied.