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tv   The Journal Editorial Report  FOX News  December 15, 2013 12:00pm-12:31pm PST

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fox news sunday is a presentation of fox news. this week on "the journal editorial report," the white house releases new obamacare enrollment numbers but not the one that is really matter. if the law is finally working, why the secrecy? plus, a bipartisan budget accord averts another government shutdown but angers some conservatives. was it the best deal republicans could get? if you thought the irs targeting scandal was over, think again. we'll tell you about the agency's latest efforts to silence tea party groups. welcome to "the journal eder to yol report." i'm paul gigot. the white house released new obamacare enrollment numbers.
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health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius told the house committee wednesday that over 364,000 americans are now enrolled in the federal and state health insurance exchanges, a number that several republicans on the committee questioned. >> of these 364,000 americans, do you know how many of those individuals will actually have coverage in effect on january 1, 2014? >> sir, once they pay their premium they'll have coverage in effect. >> so you don't know. these are the ones who have just selected a plan but haven't paid their first payment. >> some may have paid, some may not. we're giving you the enrollment numbers. >> joining the panel "wall street journal" columnist and deputy editor dan henningier, joe rego, and washington columnist kim strassejoe, that
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exchange between secretary sebelius and the committee. are we getting the accurate figures? >> no. what they were talking about is the industry standard for determining when somebody has enrolled in a health care plan. they have invented their own standard to say if you have selected a plan on the exchange, that's what counts. if they really wanted to shed light on how enrollment is going, they would say who is signing up, what their demographics are, what their health status is, what plans they're signing up for, and what their goals are over time. >> so that 364,000 figure is only the people who actually have enrolled in the front end of the exchange, not people who may actually get coverage? >> that's right. they haven't paid their premium yet potentially. there's very low numbers i'm hearing from the industry in the nature of maybe a quarter of people who have paid so far, and -- >> a quarter of those all that have supposedly signed up. >> that's right. the real figures could be substantially lower, especially when you build in the errors and
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duplication the exchanges are sending to the industry. >> and that payment, writing the check is a big event because a lot of people enroll in insurance but when you actually have to sign up, they say, well, that price is pretty expensive, i don't think i'll do that. >> they're used to the automatic deductions of the employer sponsored market and they're facing much more out of pocket costs than they expected. >> how do you explain this reluctance to really come clean by hhs and just fess up? they have had the debacle for a couple months. you'd think they would say we're going to be transparent, lets get it all out on the table. why not? >> in the administering's mind, andprobably right, this is balancing on a knife's edge. they managed to quell a little furor in congress by setting this deadline of november 30th when the website was supposed to be functioning again, but if these stories continue to roll in about people losing their doctors, losing their networks,
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not signing up, what's going to happen, their members will go home at christmas if this all looks like a disaster and they're going to come back in january renewed to again democrats begin calling for major changes. the administration is trying to avoid this and their answer to it is to create a black box around this program and release no information. >> dan? >> you know, what's interesting, you mentioned being transparent, this kind of goes back to the tainted tylenol scandal. it's a rule of thumb if you have a big problem like this, you have to put out all the information you can. you cannot hide stuff because the public won't believe you, and you will be discredited. >> they'll stop buying tylenol. >> they'll stop buying tylenol. >> your stock price will fall off a cliff. >> right. the administration is doing precisely the opposite. they're doing state of the art nonrelations. the program is losing support, and that's been shown in the polls. 50% of uninsured in "the wall
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street journal" poll said they think obamacare is a bad idea now. >> joe, new rules issued on thursday by the administration are also telling because they delay some of the implementation of obamacare. >> they say the insurers are supposed to backdate coverage to january 1st whenever they figure out maybe somebody is enrolled in that plan or when that beneficiary happens to pay. it tells the insurers to treat out of network doctors as in-network doctors for the time being and threatens to kick the insurers off the exchanges if they don't comply. i think when we're talking about public relations here, they're terrified that somebody who thinks they have coverage through no fault of their own will go to their doctor and find they're no longer covered or have some sort of expensive medical condition. >> that sounds like a that saci admission that this whole thing should have been delayed another year.
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what you're describing is waiving the rules they imposed. >> when you're trying to regulate the time space continuum, you have a major problem on your hands. >> all right. kim, so we had a new poll this week, the nbc/wsj poll that showed -- they asked obamacare, good idea or bad idea? 34% only said good idea. 50% said bad idea. so this doesn't look like it's improving for the administration. >> no, it's not, and, you know, and this is why you see the clamp down on information. some of the other news we had this week, house oversight economy darrell issa sent a night to kathleen sebelius saying we're trying to get information from the contractors who messed this up, and apparently you're telling them not to give documents to us. that could be obstruction of justice, and so we've got hhs telling contractors not to cooperate with congress. you've got them sitting on all of this data, and then on the excuse part, too, it's fascinating the other thing sebelius did this week is come out and say i'm going to ask the
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inspector general of hhs to do an investigation into what went wrong here as if that's in any doubt. >> all right. well, keep digging, folks. we've got to follow it since the administration doesn't want to. when we come back, a closer look at conservative anger over this week's budget deal. did the gop sell out? or was it the best bargain they could get?
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the house passed a bipartisan budget bill thursday avoiding another government shutdown fiasco but raising anger among some conservatives who think the deal is a bad bargain for republicans and the country. >> it's worse than the status quo. the status quo will spend $60 billion less than the budget deal over the next two years. over ten years this deal will add $7 trillion to the deficit. it does not significantly alter our course. we're still on a course for
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disaster. >> we're back with dan henninger and kim straa ssel and james freeman joins us. a rand paul right or is paul ryan right when he says it's a small step in the right direction? >> well, i think congressman ryan has the better of this. it's a small step in the right direction, especially with the fact that they've now got federal workers paying more into their pensions. this kind of corresponds with what republican governors have been doing in states. it makes it seem as if the republicans at least have a coherent strategy. as to rand paul, senator paul during the shutdown which so damaged the republican brand was kind of missing in action, and now suddenly he steps forward at this point. he's beginning to look like a sailor out on a boat that's kind of tacking with the wind depending which direction it's going in. i think that this whole episode, quite frankly, whether it's ted cruz earlier in the shutdown and now this is damaging everyone in
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washington. the public's attitude toward washington is very negative. more and more to my mind this is creating an opening for a republican governor out there who is not a part of this roman colosseum in washington. >> no tax increases as democrats wanted. no tax increases. no increase in jobless benefits as democrats wanted, and some entitlement reform as democrats didn't want. now, the cost for that was they increased some near-term spending and broke the budget caps for two years, which i wish they hadn't done. >> yeah. >> net on net, what do you think? >> could have been worse is maybe the headline. and i think paul ryan did maybe the best he could given the problem created for him by so-called national security hawks in the gop congress. basically -- >> don't forget the appropriations committee. >> refusing to acknowledge that there's waste to be cut in the pentagon budget and also i think
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extremely short-sighted. we are not going to be a military super power if we are no longer an economic super power. so you have to restrain the size of government, the overall cost, and i would say, yes, this is a big reform, a big step forward to get democrats on board even though it's modest. i think as a moment, that part of it is helpful, but this really should have been a better deal. >> kim, were you surprised by the number of republicans who voted for this, 169 to 62 in the end? that was surprising. also got a lot of -- 162 i think democrats, but that was a big margin for republicans considering all of these conservative activists who said they were opposed. >> yeah. i think you're seeing a couple things happen here. one, i mean, this is the lingserring memory of the shutdown, okay? and the lesson a lot of republicans learned from that was that when their heart party divided and they have a big fight in public and there's a
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shutdown, bad things happen to the party. had this deal not happened, if paul ryan had not done it for all kinds of reasons that was where they were headed again. a lot of people didn't want to do that, that argument was made to them. i think, too, what you're seeing as well is a little bit of a diminishing of the power of some of the outside groups which, you know, john boehner took a whack at them this week. heritage action and freedom works who criticized this paul ryan deal before they saw the details of it. i think there's a growing feeling along some republicans that these groups seem more interested in highlighting gop divides, fund-raising all of it, and they're not always focused on the well-being and future politi politics. >> what do you think about what it does to paul ryan's presidential possibilities. was he taking one for the team here in a way to help the party in the house and in congress maybe retake the senate but that may end up damaging his presidential prospects? >> i kind of disagree with that, paul. i think maybe in terms of
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presidential prospects it has increased his stature. i'll give you one example. back when marco rubio was trying to do immigration reform and taking criticism, no question paul ryan would have been supporting and was supporting rubio on immigration reform. marco rubio in the past week came out and said he cannot vote for this budget reform, and paul ryan was asked about that and said maybe he should read it and that might change his opinion. but i think that's something at the margin about the political principles of the two guys and that ryan is at least being consistent and is making a consistent argument, and i think at the presidential level, that kind of leadership is, in fact, what the public is looking for. >> james, what do you make of the split between boehner and the conservatives groups in it can't help the republican party if they go into an election year gided. >> no, but i think you can understand in this case there are times when the outside groups are not helpful, maybe many times. but this really -- this is an
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important moment. i mean, i miss the sequester already. it was that one brief shining moment where the government actually spent less than it had the previous years. >> but do you side with boehner or do you side with the activist groups? was boehner right to rebuke them for opposing the deal before it was even -- >> well, again, i think if you want to talk about who -- okay. they opposed it, you knew they were going to break the sequester. that's somewhat swomewhat disingenuous. blame the people who forced republicans to spend more. >> all right. yes. when we come back six months after befirwe first found out a its tea party targeting, the irs has a new plan to silence conservative groups. the details are next.
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well, if you thought irs targeting was a thing of the past, think again. we learned this summer that the agency singled out tea party groups applying for tax exempt status for extra scrutiny. an now it looks like they are at it again. attempting to further restrict the political speech of conservatives with new regulations. kim strassel has details. you wrote in your column about the new irs regulations she issued which will focus on nonprofit groups, so-called social welfare groups that are supposed to be allowed to participate in politics as long as it's not more than 50% of what they do, at least that was the traditional definition. so how has that changed? >> treasury put out these rules over the kind of media blackout of thanksgiving as usual, and what these rules basically have done is say, here is a new category of all these different things that you are not allowed to do anymore if you still want to claim you're a tax exemption
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group under 501c-4 status. the administration came out and said it was necessary and useful because it would clarify what was a confusing rule. we found out house ways and means investigators are now comparing this rule to all of those tax exempt applications from tea party groups that were targeted in the first round. what they're discovering is this rule looks like it was reverse engineered. meaning it appears treasury has taken all those activities that these tea party groups were set up to do and restricted them, and so rather than being a clarifying rule, this rule is as house ways and means chairman dave camp said to us this week, it's about shutting these groups down. it's a new form of targeting only more expansive, systematic and with the force of law. >> what about the point the administration makes and we heard time and again from our friends on the left that actually these rules were ambiguous and, therefore, you do need for the sake of the irs and for these groups themselves the clarity that says, a, this is
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allowed, b, thisisn't, c, this is allowed, and d, this isn't. >> who is to say what is social welfare. a lot of these tea party groups were set up because they wanted to educate americans about the problem of big debt, okay? is that not social welfare and really is it for the irs to claim that it's not? another aspect of this though, too, paul is these rules rn wer designed only to act as a group that was involved in social welfare. if you are a 501 c-5 which is a union, you're allowed to do these activities. >> you're saying these new rules are skewed so they'll end up covering more conservative groups while exempting most union activities and many conventional charities that still operate politically on the left? is that fair? >> absolutely. for all kinds of interesting
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reasons, it's the 501 c-4 category, the social welfare group category, where most conservative organizations have swell eed into in the past coup yer years. so they're focusing all their efforts on that category because they know it will do the most damage to president obama's political opponent. >> dan, what's the larger political context here for these new irs rules? you would think there would be some political cost here for the administration to do this given the uproar in the spring and summer. >> you know, i think basically the way to understand this, paul, is that it all goes back to the citizens united decision which allowed corporations -- >> by the supreme court. >> by the supreme court. the democrats are obsessed with citizens united. barack obama himself criticized the justices sitting in front of him at one of his state of the union speeches over it. they are afraid that private groups like corporations might give money to some of the advocacy groups to do this kind of political outreach, and they want the names of those
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corporations exposed so that they can then harass and intimidate them with campaigns saying we won't boycott -- we will boycott your product if you support these groups. they're afraid that all this money is going to come in and tip the balance against their politics, and so they're going to intimidate these people out of politics with irs rules and with disclosure. >> joe, the president in particular, he's changing his tune, the tone of his reaction to the irs scandal now from when it was first announced when he expressed real outrage. now he's saying something different. >> if he really means that, i think he'll get the irs out of the business of regulating political speech at all. you know, why is the agency that is set up to collect revenues, it's powers are spreading into dispensing entitlements. if he really means it, he'll just make it a neutral arbiter and get it out of this or that
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technicality. >> i don't think that's going to happen. >> i'm not holding my breath. >> as wise as it would be. we have to take one more breath. when we come back, hits and misses of the week.
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time now for "hits & misses" of the week. >> a hit to "time" magazine which named its person of the year. in the run up to it it was widely rumored the person of the year was going to be miley cyrus or ed woward snowden or even kathleen sebelius. it was pope francis i. what kind of editorial mind could told in its head at the same time the twerking miley cyrus and pope francis i? i think we have to thank god for small favors. the pope came in first. >> joe? >> paul, a word on the most important story of the week if not all time when danish prime minister and president obama took a selfie at nelson mandela's funeral. was she really a danish toaster
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strudel and he a hormone addled frat boy on the way to the road house as the new york post immortally put it. a bodice ripper? have we forgotten about bill clinton. this was not an international incident. >> james? >> i'd like to strike a serious note here. this is a miss to the national football league saying no tailgating ayet this year's sup bo bowl. i think it's a very dangerous precedent. you wonder where does it go from here? do they say they can play without a ball, without end zones. very disturbance. the. >> real outrage in manhattan is no limousine drop-offs at the stadium. that's going to krism a lot cri lot of style. send us your own hit or miss and follow us on twitter. that's it for this week's show. thanks to my panel and all of
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you watching. i'm paul gigot. hope to see you all right here next week. new details on what's being called the worst firefighting disaster in arizona's history. hello, i'm gregg jarrett and welcome to america's news headquarters. 19 elite hot shot firefighters as they're known killed while battling the yarnell hill wildfire back in june. now, audio and video being released shedding light on their tragic final moments. will karr is live in our l.a. newsroom with more and what are we learning from these recordings? >> these recordings will take you right into the