Wolf Blitzer Pesters Rand Paul With Pro-ObamaCare Spin

CNN's Wolf Blitzer pelted Sen. Rand Paul with pro-ObamaCare talking points on Tuesday's The Situation Room, going so far as to list what he thought were the "all the positive features" of the law.

"But you like the fact that people can stay on their parents' health insurance programs until they reach the age of 26. That you don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions any longer. You can change your jobs, still get health insurance. You like all the positive features of the Affordable Care Act?" Blitzer pressed the senator.

Blitzer also gave a completely positive spin on Tuesday's CBO report that estimated ObamaCare would cut two million full-time jobs by 2017:

"What do you think about this report that suggests that now that people can get insurance, they don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions, if they don't have a job they can still get insurance, they don't have to be wedded to their jobs, they're going to have more freedom, if you will. What do you think about this conclusion from this report?"

Paul answered that the benefits come with a cost. "It sounds good to keep your kid on 'til 26 until you find out how much it's going to cost."

Blitzer even boosted the President's assistant Gene Sperling's argument that there will be less "sick days". Blitzer posed to Paul, "He [Sperling] is making the point that if you have health insurance you're going to be healthier, presumably, because you'll be going to doctors. You're a physician. You understand that."

Below is a transcript of the segment:

CNN
THE SITUATION ROOM
2/4/14
[5:04 p.m. EST]

WOLF BLITZER: What do you think about this report that suggests that now that people can get insurance, they don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions, if they don't have a job they can still get insurance, they don't have to be wedded to their jobs, they're going to have more freedom, if you will. What do you think about this conclusion from this report?

Sen. RAND PAUL (R-Kent.): Well, I think that what we've always said is that ObamaCare adds a cost to employment, and if you increase the cost of employing someone, you will cause unemployment. So if two million people won't get their jobs because of ObamaCare, economists also say another million people may be prevented from getting a job because we have to manage such an enormous debt. So there's a lot of things going on that makes the economy weak and we've got 20 million people out of work. It's a disaster out there. And we need to decide, are the President's policies working or are they not working?

BLITZER: I spoke earlier today with Gene Sperling, the director of the President's National Economic Council. After this report was released, listen to what he told me.

(Video Clip)

GENE SPERLING, director, National Economic Council: People who are working more than they want to simply for health care, some of them will have the option of working a little less. And in terms of what the overall impact on jobs will be, I think you have to look at what the impact on productivity is because people are healthier, working harder, having less sick days.

(End Video Clip)

BLITZER: He's making the point that if you have health insurance you're going to be healthier, presumably, because you'll be going to doctors. You're a physician. You understand that.

PAUL: It doesn't necessarily equate. Now, good behavior, exercise, and diet may prevent illness. Going to the doctor doesn't necessarily prevent illness.

BLITZER: Well it can prevent an illness if they can detect a serious illness there in an early stage and deal with it, that's going to prolong your life.

PAUL: But if you look dollar for dollar and you say you spend more on health care, will we be healthier? There are some preventive illnesses but it's not dollar for dollar, and often it isn't even correlated, to tell you the truth. Healthier behavior causes healthier people, but not necessarily spending more on health care. But really we're missing the real point, and the real point is, is that ObamaCare is going to cost two million fewer people to have jobs. The huge advance and increase in our debt also costs us another million, and really we need the opposite. We need millions of new jobs created. Instead, what we're seeing is an Obama economy with 20 million people really searching for work.

BLITZER: But you like the fact that people can stay on their parents' health insurance programs until they reach the age of 26. That you don't have to worry about pre-existing conditions any longer. You can change your jobs, still get health insurance. You like all the positive features of the Affordable Care Act?

PAUL: Well here's the deal, though, Wolf. It sounds good to keep your kid on 'til 26 until you find out how much it's going to cost. I have a 21 year-old and I found out it was going to cost me nearly $500 a month to keep him on. There was a report this morning or yesterday that came out of Pennsylvania showing that some families were going from like $700 a month to $1300 a month. So having those extra kids on your policy sounds good but they are extraordinarily expensive because ObamaCare charges you per individual, whereas your old policy sometimes didn't cost you more if you had more children.

BLITZER: So if you were to redo the law right now, and I know you studied it extensively, what would you keep from ObamaCare?

PAUL: The main thing you want to do that is different than ObamaCare is you want to expand choice and you want to expand health savings accounts and people's ability to save for their insurance. We did the opposite. We limited health savings accounts, and we contracted choice. We really took away the freedom of choice. So really what I would say is you want people to have more choices, more competition and lower prices. And I'd say ObamaCare does the opposite. Less choices, more expense. So there's a lot of things you could do. You could create a market – even if we weren't able to repeal ObamaCare, which I would repeal it – you could simply expand choice by opening up health savings accounts and allowing insurance to be sold across state lines. That in and of itself would go a long way towards trying to bring prices down.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014