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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript: Recent Elections and Affordable Care Act

Interview

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

CROWLEY: Joining me now, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

She is chair of the Democratic National Committee.

I want to take you just a little bit off topic at the beginning, because I want to ask you about this interim deal with Iran that the U.S. and other nations have been pushing. So far, it hasn't come together.

But you have heard some of the criticism, particularly from Israel, but there are other problems with the Saudis, etc. Looking at this.

CROWLEY: How comfortable are with you what you've heard about what the U.S. and others are seeking?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think any time that you are actually at the diplomatic table negotiating on a question that, just a year or so ago, would have been unfathomable -- the idea that we could actually get Iran to back off its pursuit of nuclear weapons, number one, it demonstrates that the sanctions that we've imposed thus far have been extremely painful and effective and that President Obama's emphasis on trying to do all that we can to make sure that Iran cannot attain those nuclear weapons is working and we're going in the right direction.

But, of course, any deal has to be one that makes sense and has to be one that makes sense and has to be one that makes sense for the United States' security interests and also the interests of our allies in the region.

CROWLEY: OK. All right.

Let me turn you back to the topic du jour, and that is the elections that we had last week.

I want to put up an exit poll from the Virginia elections where the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe won.

The question was, what's your opinion of ObamaCare?

Forty-six percent of Virginia voters supported it, 53 percent opposed it.

I want to add onto that a meeting at the White House Wednesday with a collection of 15 Senate Democrats, most of whom are up for re- election, who rang the alarm bell at the White House and said do something, this is hurting us. Is there a fix that the president could put in place now that would ease the concerns of both those voters in Virginia and those senators having to run for re-election?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, Candy, let's take a look at what the election outcome in Virginia means. Terry McAuliffe won Virginia. And he won it with the same percentage, just about, that President Obama won Virginia just a year ago.

And what Election Day this past Tuesday in Virginia, a very competitive state, showed you is that when the voters are presented with a candidate who focuses on creating jobs and investing in education and working together, versus a candidate who doubled down on the politics of shutdown, who embraced Tea Party extremism, who was a leader in the war on women, particularly on women's health, they overwhelmingly chose Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, and elected him.

CROWLEY: They did.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And that is what we're going to be...

CROWLEY: But are you...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- looking at...

CROWLEY: Right.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- just one sec.

They're going to be doing -- they're going to be having the same choices all across the country, with Tea Party governors that were elected in 2010 having to run on similar records against candidates who are going to give them a similar choice.

CROWLEY: But did...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: When it comes to ObamaCare specifically, you know, ObamaCare did not have anything to do with Tuesday's outcome. You have (INAUDIBLE)...

CROWLEY: You don't think it made the election closer?

You don't -- I mean because (INAUDIBLE).

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, I really...

CROWLEY: -- (INAUDIBLE).

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I really don't.

CROWLEY: And so more to the point...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Because if you look at the results a year ago and the results now, they were about the same.

CROWLEY: Right.

If you look at 2014, if you look at this through the prism of 2014, you don't think that ObamaCare will weigh heavily on Democratic elections?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think ObamaCare -- because Americans have been feeling the benefits since 2010, where young adults can stay on their parents' insurance until they're 26, where in -- on January 1st, if you have a pre-existing condition, like I do, as you know, as a breast cancer survivor, the peace of mind that the -- that those Americans are going to have knowing that they can never be dropped or denied coverage for that pre-existing condition, the preventative care that's available without a co-pay or a deductible, those are benefits that Americans have already been feeling and will increasingly feel...

CROWLEY: Tell me...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- as ObamaCare is fully implemented.

I think, actually, Candy, that Democratic candidates will be able to run on ObamaCare as an advantage leading into the 2014 election.

CROWLEY: How many Floridians have lost their health care insurance in the private market?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The situation that Floridians, or any person who's gotten a transition letter from their insurance company, are in is that they will have an opportunity to shop on the exchange and compare plans...

CROWLEY: But they -- right. But...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And...

CROWLEY: A...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- and when they have -- you could -- the CEO of Florida Blue was on a Sunday show just a week or so ago talking about how they were -- they are offering a replacement plan for the plans that they're transitioning.

And in most cases, the plan that the person is going to benefit from is actually a lower cost and has more benefits.

So, you know, this -- it is a real significant distortion to say that people are being -- that hundreds of thousands of people are being canceled. What's actually happening is that they are very likely going to get a better plan for less money.

CROWLEY: Nonetheless...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But there are some...

CROWLEY: -- 100,000 people have -- I mean hundreds of thousands of people have had insurance canceled. Some of them, you know, certainly not all of them, but some of them expressed an interest in keeping it.

Would you support -- should the president support any kind of move -- and there are those in Congress, and some of them are Democrats, who say, yes, people who have insurance they want to keep it in the private market should be allowed to keep it?

That's not just Republicans pushing that.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, and the president himself said that to the extent that his commitment and our commitment that if you liked your plan you could keep it is not possible for, you know, which is actually about less than 5 percent of the folks in the individual market, then we are going to work toward making sure they can do that.

What we're not going to do is we're not going to allow the Republicans, embracing the idea that we should stop people from being able to get access to quality affordable health care, we're not going to let new plans be sold, like the Upton bill would do, to allow insurance companies to drop them or deny them coverage for pre- existing conditions, to charge women double just because we're women. And, you know, to suggest that we have to do that and create two separate tracks that are going to allow people to be discriminated against again and not have good quality health care, that's unacceptable.

CROWLEY: Right.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And it's unacceptable to Americans. We're not going backwards.

CROWLEY: And just a yes or no, because I've got to run.

You believe that Democrats will win running on ObamaCare in 2014?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think because Americans reject the Tea Party extremism, they want us to focus on creating jobs and working together, and because they will feel...

CROWLEY: That's not exactly a yes.

(CROSSTALK)

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- the benefits of ObamaCare, yes.

CROWLEY: OK. All right.

Thank you so much.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There you go.

CROWLEY: I really appreciate your time.

Thank you, Chairwoman.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks, Candy.

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