Chuck Todd Declares ObamaCare is Now 'Unrepealable'

Appearing on Monday's Today, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd seized on ObamaCare hitting the six million sign-up mark by the March 31 deadline, proclaiming: "So at a minimum, the importance of hitting the six million....it means the law is unrepealable....It means that it's here to stay." Todd made no mention of only 26% of Americans supporting ObamaCare in a new poll. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Co-host Matt Lauer accepted Todd's declaration and wondered about the political impact of the health care law: "You can't repeal it, but does that mean seven months down the road, as the midterm elections come around, that this will be any less of an issue in terms of close races in congressional districts?" Todd admitted: "No, I don't think – at this point, the law is so embedded as sort of a – as a political negative for the Democrats and political negative overall, that I don't think anything's going to change by November."

The exchange began with Lauer picking up on comments made by Republican Wyoming Senator John Barrasso on Fox News Sunday, when he accused the administration of "cooking the books" on the ObamaCare enrollment numbers.

Lauer asked Todd: "Are they cooking the books with these numbers? When you talk to people in neutral corners of Washington, what are they telling you?" Todd completely dismissed the notion:

No, nobody''s saying they're cooking the books here. I mean, the six million is pretty real. There's been an insurance company examination about who's been paying, and they say so far it looks like over 80% of those that have signed up have actually paid in the first month. So that seems to be something that also is a – is sort of a myth that isn't as true as some would hope it – would like it to be as far as folks on the right.

Todd ignored concerns that not enough young and healthy people had signed up to make the law sustainable.

At the end of the segment, Todd acknowledged the millions who did not enroll:

Don't forget here, we still have thirty-five million people without insurance, okay? When you throw in all of the numbers, the expanded Medicaid of about four million, new sign-ups of about seven million, and the 26-year-olds, that's fifteen million. We still have thirty-five million uninsured. So they still have got to start working on getting that number down.


Here is a full transcript of the March 31 segment:

7:06 AM ET  

MATT LAUER: Let's bring in Chuck Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director. Chuck, good morning to you.
 
CHUCK TODD: Good morning, sir.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Politics of "ObamaCare"; White House Cites Goals as Republicans Cry Foul]

LAUER: Let's start with that simple question. Are they cooking the books with these numbers? When you talk to people in neutral corners of Washington, what are they telling you?

TODD: No, nobody''s saying they're cooking the books here. I mean, the six million is pretty real. There's been an insurance company examination about who's been paying, and they say so far it looks like over 80% of those that have signed up have actually paid in the first month. So that seems to be something that also is a – is sort of a myth that isn't as true as some would hope it – would like it to be as far as folks on the right.

But I think in the big picture here, you've got remember where they started. There was real fear inside the White House that this law could collapse, that they wouldn't get here. So at a minimum, the importance of hitting the six million – and they may get close to seven million, because don't forget, this is a sort of deadline tonight, right? They've got all of these caveats in, "If you're in line," they've basically got until the end of the month. But getting to where they've got, it means the law is unrepealable, Matt. It means that it's here to stay. So then we've advanced to the next part of the debate is, "Okay, then how do you fix the problems that people think are there?"

LAUER: You can't repeal it, but does that mean seven months down the road, as the midterm elections come around, that this will be any less of an issue in terms of close races in congressional districts?

TODD: No, I don't think – at this point, the law is so embedded as sort of a – as a political negative for the Democrats and political negative overall, that I don't think anything's going to change by November. That this is going to take maybe two years for the politics of this to work itself out.

And that's assuming everything continues to go as the administration has claimed that it would. That right now you've got the seven million that are signing up and then over time they get more and more. Don't forget here, we still have thirty-five million people without insurance, okay? When you throw in all of the numbers, the expanded Medicaid of about four million, new sign-ups of about seven million, and the 26-year-olds, that's fifteen million. We still have thirty-five million uninsured. So they still have got to start working on getting that number down.

LAUER: Alright, Chuck Todd in Washington. Chuck, thanks very much.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC