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Government Shutdown; Views of Obamacare Shaped by Misinformation; Is Losing Good for Kids?

Aired October 1, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey. Good evening, everyone. Welcome to "AC360 Later," our new panel discussion show.

Tonight: the shutdown mess and how it might end, also, day one of the sign-up for, well, Obamacare -- why some people prefer Obamacare to, well, Obamacare. We will explain that one. Dr. Drew Pinsky is here to help. And, later, why a little losing might just be a winning strategy in life and for your kids.

We will explain that ahead. With us ahead Daily Beast editor in chief and publishing legend Tina Brown, "New York Times" columnists Ross Douthat and Charles Blow in the fifth chair tonight, former New York Republican Congressman Rick Lazio.

Good to have you here.

We begin with the government shutdown and chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash, who is live on Capitol Hill.

What's the latest, Dana? What's going on right now?



BASH: That's the unfortunate and honest truth. Everybody's gone. There are no negotiations, no votes. The House did vote earlier this evening, which you and I talked about, that they voted to keep three agencies open, but it didn't pass actually and they're going to try to get back at it tomorrow. They're also going to try to pass funding for NIH, because they saw that the president was complaining that kids with cancer can't get into clinical trials.

And that really does seem to be the strategy -- in fact Republicans admit that's the strategy right now. Wait to see what the president complains about, try to pass at least that particular part of spending for the government, and see what they do, because big picture, John Boehner and his Republican leadership are still insisting they're not going to give in to what the Democrats are demanding.

And that is just a clean, no-strings-attached bill to fund the government even for six weeks. And they are at an amazing standoff. Anderson, Congress just has not functioned on personal relationships for a long time. I have never seen it this bad, even and especially between the principals, John Boehner and Harry Reid in the Senate, but even their staff. There's just no trust. And there's no communication at all.

COOPER: And, Dana, I think I said you were on Capitol Hill. I should point out that you're in our studio now. Thankfully, you have been allowed to move off Capitol Hill because I think you have been there for the last week or so.

Let's talk to our panel a little bit. Dana, stick with us.

Tina, what do you make of this?

TINA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: Maybe Vladimir Putin can break the logjam here.

We need a mediator like him. It is just incredible to me to watch these Republicans putting on their suicide vests and thinking this is going to have some kind of outcome for America. It is just absolutely preposterous. And what is the most depressing thing really is to see how John Boehner's job insecurity, this terror of losing the speakership means that he's just become this rallier after these crazy people, when a few months back he said after the election, right after the reelection of Obama, he said Obamacare is the law of the land, he said at that time.

He later on said that he didn't believe in the...


COOPER: There was certainly a lot of talk back two years ago about working together, about the importance of it. Now you can't even find anybody talking about that.

Ross, who do you blame for this?

ROSS DOUTHAT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think there are about 30 or 40 congressmen and congresswomen -- they're mostly congressmen -- in very safe Republican seats who have the sense that they can get something out of this that nobody else, including John Boehner, frankly, believes that they actually can.

COOPER: So when they say -- I talked to Steve King earlier, conservative Republican congressman, one of the people you're talking about. He says he's executing the will of the people. This is the will of what the American people want. Do you buy that?

DOUTHAT: Well, it is -- Obamacare is very unpopular as new laws go. And this has been true. This has been consistent in polling going back to when the law was passed. And it bounces around. Sometimes, it's 50 percent opposed, sometimes it's 55 percent opposed and so on.

So the basic Republican strategy that I think was the sort of what probably John Boehner and others thought they were doing a few months ago of saying we're going to make a big noise about this, we're going to say we're taking this to the brink over this issue, that's actually not a crazy strategy. And the media likes to make fun of House Republicans. They voted X number of times to repeal Obamacare. The fact is, the law is still unpopular. It's one of the few places where Republicans are on the same side.


CHARLES BLOW, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But, Ross, you know part of the reason that the law is unpopular, it's not 50 percent or 50-plus percent of people don't like the law because they think it goes too far. A large portion -- not -- a decent portion of those people don't like it because they want it to go further.

They want it to be more liberal than it already is. If you put together the people who like it and the people who want it to be more liberal than it is, that is the majority of the public. And that 30 or 40 members of Congress, they're not really looking -- when they say the American people, they're not talking about the American people. The American people spoke in the last election. They elected a president.

They're talking about the constituents in their gerrymandered districts where they're very, very safe.


BLOW: They're doing the will of those people. I understand that. I accept that. But that is not America.

DOUTHAT: But here's what some of them are thinking, right? They're thinking you go back to 2010. Right? This was the last election that we had that happened in the midst of a full-fledged debate over the president's health care law.

And Republicans didn't just sweep, they picked up more seats than the underlying economic indicators would have predicted, right? So it can't just be the case that most people don't like Obamacare because it doesn't go far enough. There really is a lot of anxiety about this frankly fairly...


BLOW: The math is the math.


COOPER: What do you think? This is a president who was elected twice clearly supporting Obamacare. His opponent opposed it, did not get elected. Haven't the people spoken on this?

RICK LAZIO (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: I have got a little different take on this. Washington is a dysfunctional town and there's plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

I really believe we would not be where we are right now if the president would have seized different opportunities to address entitlements. That is by far the driver of these humongous deficits, $7 trillion over the next 10 years, and it would have relieved a lot of pressure.

COOPER: You think if he had more of a relationship with the people of in Congress...

LAZIO: Yes. I think the president just has trouble really reaching out and connecting in a way that Bill Clinton did the last time around really with Republicans. Even during the shutdown, there was constant communication.


BLOW: That was on a deficit fight, though.

LAZIO: Yes, but really in a way it is, because it's leading up to the debt ceiling. It has to do with spending.


BLOW: There's no way to attach the deficit to linking this to the C.R.

LAZIO: This is a spending issue right now, right? So this is the continuing resolution. It's because the Senate hasn't passed -- has only passed one appropriations bill of out of the last 48 on time.

BLOW: Thanks in part to Mr. Cruz.

LAZIO: Well, OK. You can blame a single Republican. But all previous Republican and Democratic majority leaders in the Senate found a way to work with their minorities and get things done at budget time.

BROWN: Isn't the major difference though between the Clinton era shutdown and this one is that at that time, in the Newt Gingrich era, they actually believe in smaller government, whereas actually now these Tea Party people believe in no government? They're just hostile...


DOUTHAT: No. If they actually believed in no government, they wouldn't be happily voting on these fairly symbolic measures to fund the non-Obamacare parts of the government. Right?

I think the difference between the Gingrich shutdown and this one is that the Gingrich shutdown happened in the shadow of a big Republican sweep in '94. And it happened at a moment when conservative commentators and sort of the conservative movement was actually pretty united around the idea that this was a confrontation worth fighting.

The big difference today is that -- again, I was just defending sort of the broader strategy. But I'm not going to defend the specific shutdown strategy. It's very hard to find prominent Republicans who actually honestly will.

LAZIO: Can't you see the out on this, though? It just seems to me fairly clear. You take a time-out for 30 days. You pass a short term C.R. Harry Reid does name conferees. You get into a negotiating room and you start to...


BLOW: No, I'm serious. What do you want the president to give? Because all they're asking at this point is to figure out a way to either defund, keep cutting back and try to nibble away at Obamacare.


DOUTHAT: All John Boehner need right now is for Harry Reid to give him something. If Harry Reid did the medical device tax, right, which is a tax that many Democrats would actually like to see repealed, if he was given that, this would end tomorrow.


BROWN: At what point does a law become a law as well?


DOUTHAT: That's just silly. Laws can always be repealed. No, I deeply disagree with that.


COOPER: Dana has been trying to get -- Dana, what did you want to say?

BASH: No, I was just going to -- actually, just the whole question about medical device tax, the reason I'm told that they are not giving in on that, even though people like Chuck Schumer, who is one of the Democratic leaders, hates that tax because of the manufacturers in his state of New York, they're not giving in on that because they know they are going to have to give down the road.

And by down the road, I mean like two weeks on the debt ceiling. They want to keep some chits out there for themselves. And they feel like if they're going to negotiate on -- Democrats feel like if they're going to negotiate away some of these key things now, then they are going to have nothing left when it comes to the really big issue that could completely kill the global economy.

At least that's what a lot of economists warn about.


LAZIO: ... they never get any momentum though is because they're always holding off to get the last best deal.

COOPER: Let me also bring in Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, who has been leading the fight within his own party against tying the health care law to funding the government.

Congressman, I appreciate you joining us. What -- to you, what is the essential difference to the way this was the last time the government shut down? A lot of critics of the Republican position on this have said, well, look, it is very difficult for the Democrats to negotiate or for the White House to strike a deal with John Boehner, because he's not in control of the Republican Party in this on Capitol Hill.


Rick Lazio and I were there together back in 1995 and 1996. And looking back on it, it may have been a bad idea to shut the government down at that time. But the reality was you had two competing budgets. And this was really two economic programs going up against each other. And there was a lot of debate, there was a lot of discussion.

And it was a question of how many years it would take to balance the budget. There were discussions on Medicare. But it wasn't trying to defund any particular program. It wasn't aimed at any aspect of Bill Clinton's program. Like, we weren't trying to defund or repeal the tax bill that he had the year before.

And so it was I think on much more solid grounds. This time around, it's really entirely -- and I really disagree with some of the factual stuff here and I'm really opposed to it. John Boehner told us just three weeks ago we would never attempt to shut down the government over defunding Obamacare. He said that was a losing strategy.

And he and Eric Cantor had another route we were going to take, which was not going to involve defunding Obamacare. Then these 30 or 40 Republicans from the Ted Cruz fringe of the party, they basically said they would bring everything down, they would not cooperate, and they brought everything to a halt.

COOPER: And you called Ted Cruz a fraud.

KING: And John Boehner tried to accommodate them. That's how we got into this. It's all about defunding Obamacare. It comes from about 30 or 40, 30 or 40, maybe 50 now hard-core Ted Cruz supporters.

That's where this came from. And back in 1995 and 1996, Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole were negotiating with Bill Clinton. If John Boehner did get into negotiations, there's no way he can deliver those 30 or 40 or 50 unless they get -- make really significant cuts into Obamacare.

And that's really where we are on it right now. But I do think -- let me say this. I have been very critical of Republicans. It's time for President Obama to get involved somehow. This is his government. These are his employees for the most part being laid off. And he's sitting on the sidelines.

I can't imagine Lyndon Johnson or John Kennedy or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan just sitting there being content just to take pot shots at Republicans.


DOUTHAT: But never interrupt your enemy when he's in the process of making a mistake, right?

I mean, look, as a matter of principle, I agree with the congressman that the president should be more involved here. But when I look at what the Democrats are doing right now -- and we were just talking about why won't Harry Reid give in on the medical device tax, the answer is that this is hurting the Republicans politically more than it hurts the Democrats.

LAZIO: Not by much. There's bleeding on both sides.

DOUTHAT: There's bleeding on both sides, but there's a big difference between -- what the Democrats have right now is like a 35 percent approval rating. What the Republicans have right now is the lowest approval rating any congressional...

BROWN: But everybody keeps saying about Obama, he should get involved and be less aloof. But, as you say, this is the one time where his aloofness suddenly looks I think much more statesmanlike. Here's the guy who has been dealing with Iran and he's been actually waiting to go just let these people commit suicide.


LAZIO: But politics is a very social business. It's certainly based on trust and likability and am I going to give a little bit because I think this person's not going to burn me later on, and it really takes engagement. In that sense, the president just is -- this is not his sweet spot.


BROWN: I agree with that. I definitely think that he doesn't have that kind of retail sort of emotional content thing that Bill Clinton had, for instance. I don't think he does have that. But at the same time, when you look at the other side at the moment, there's such a kind of joyous, raucous nihilism about it.


BLOW: Because if you are elected on the premise that we do not want you to be led by this president, and then you then turn around and say, he's not stepping up to lead us, even though I will refuse to be led by him and my constituents don't want me to ever compromise with this man, how are you playing both sides of the coin?

COOPER: Hold that thought. We have got to take a quick break.

Congressman King, please stay with us. We're going to take a break.

When we come back, we are going to focus on how this end, if it ends, when it ends and who might get hurt the most. We will be right back.


COOPER: Thanks for your tweets. Tweet us at hashtag AC360Later.

Whatever you think of the shutdown standoff, the fact is that all standoffs do eventually end. They do. The question is how will it end this time and who gets hurt when it's over?

Back with former Congressman Rick Lazio, Tina Brown, Ross Douthat, Charles Blow. Also with us on the phone, Republican Congressman Peter king of New York.

How does this end? It's got to end at some point sooner or later. How does it end?

LAZIO: I think it rolls into the debt limit. If there's going to be a deal, it will be in that context.


BLOW: Probably right.

DOUTHAT: Yes. I think the question is, do they do something? Do they figure out a way to do some stopgap thing so we can say the government isn't shut down anymore for the week before we actually hit the debt ceiling?


COOPER: When you say stopgap, you mean piecemeal?

DOUTHAT: I mean like what McConnell floated, what Rand Paul basically endorsed today, yes, basically, whatever, a two-week C.R. or something. And then this becomes a debt ceiling negotiation.


DOUTHAT: Which will be so much more exciting because...

BROWN: But is it possible that actually Ted Cruz will sort of blow himself up in a kind of -- with hubris in a way?


DOUTHAT: He's got to make it until 2016. He can't...

BROWN: But do you remember how Newt Gingrich kind of got blown up by the way he behaved on the plane with Bill Clinton, if you know what I mean? There are moments when the public and the electorate suddenly see these people for what they are.

COOPER: Let me ask Congressman King that, because Congressman King, you have been very vocal in your criticism of Ted Cruz. You called him a fraud when I talked to you a couple days ago.

KING: Right.

COOPER: To Tina's question ,does he blow himself up? Has he done real damage to himself?

KING: Yes, he has. But, again, I think the thing he was aiming at was to secure a strong base. And he's gotten that.

There is a good 10, 15 percent right now who will swear by Ted Cruz. And he's going to use that as a base to move out from. I think we're being a little too casual in talking about government being closed down. There's hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people out of work. And again I go back to President Obama.

There has been a large amount of people in the intelligence community who are laid off, in counterterrorism. This is his government, these are his employees. And I just can't imagine that Teddy Roosevelt or a Franklin Roosevelt -- I agree, the politics is, let's blame it on Republicans. I will concede that up front.

But he is the president of the United States. This is his government. He can't just sit on the sidelines. I can't imagine another world leader doing this. Countries look at us. They don't think of John Boehner or Harry Reid. President Obama symbolizes the country. He is country. He's the government and he's really on the sidelines. And I'm saying, get in here. And I'm not blaming him for this at all. I'm just saying, he has to get in now. He can't be content just to stand by and watch.


COOPER: To Congressman King's point, "The Hill" and "New York Times" reporting today 70 percent of the intelligence community, civilian employees in the intelligence community have been furloughed.

That's got to have national security implications. I was kind of stunned.

DOUTHAT: Fewer drones.

COOPER: Well, yes.


DOUTHAT: Drones are never furloughed.


BROWN: Not to mention the kind of perceptual damage overseas in terms of the deals that now foreign leaders are going to look and think, well, can he deliver anything, when America now makes a promise to do something?


BLOW: And we're talking about this rolling into the debt ceiling, as if we can wait until the last minute on that. I don't think that that discussion can actually wait.

When we pushed it up to the limit the last time, we were downgraded. We actually can't do that. So let's say that we have a week in order to work this out before it actually becomes part of that debate. And do those members of the House still demand a concession on Obamacare, which they will never get from this president?


DOUTHAT: But here's -- in an ideal world, the way it would work would be the president has said I won't negotiate on the debt ceiling because that's a matter of the solvency and the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

And so in an ideal world, what happens is, they make a concession like the medical device tax, something else, the president gets to say that was a concession in the debt ceiling -- excuse me -- in the shutdown negotiation, not the debt ceiling negotiation.

And John Boehner gets to say it's a concession in the debt ceiling negotiation. Everybody goes home happy. And in that situation, right now Boehner won't let a clean continuing resolution go to the full House, even though it would pass, because he thinks it would break his speakership basically, but John Boehner is a responsible and patriotic American.

And John Boehner is not going to send us through the debt ceiling if he can avoid it by sending a vote to the full House, right?


BLOW: But here's the other part of that, right? He does that and there's no guarantee that those 30 or 40 members of that kind of Tea Party group will see that as a proper concession, and then he's in trouble. And everybody who voted in that is looking over their shoulder, worrying about they will be primaried by somebody.


DOUTHAT: But he has to and he knows that he has to actually let the House vote on that even then. I mean, I don't...

BROWN: So he would go down a hero?

DOUTHAT: Well, I don't know about that.

I think Boehner has often played a fairly heroic role in a fairly difficult situation over the last couple of years.

LAZIO: Getting back to the earlier point about entitlements and out- year spending, here's -- Democrats will criticize Republicans on obsessing on Obamacare. Republicans will say why doesn't the president lead on the most pressing fiscal issue that faces the country over the next 20 or 30 years?

You have got an explosion of seniors, 10,000 seniors retiring every single day in America. The program Social Security was created, signed by FDR into law, average life expectancy was 64 years old, eligibility 65, pretty good deal. But now...

BLOW: But, Rick, you're pretending that they never tried to do that.

Last time we got close to the debt ceiling, they got very close to a global deal, and it fell apart at the last minute. It's not as if the president has never gone to Boehner and tried to figure out how to do this.

LAZIO: But the president has to provide cover for moderate Democrats who want to get a deal done. And that's what he's failed to do. He's got to engage.

He's got to lead. And he's got to address some of these big picture issues. That's when you get a win-win out of this thing. If you could get both sides to come together and say we're going to really try and solve at least part of this entitlement picture, we will create some momentum, some trust, and that's a way forward.


BROWN: ... what exactly Obama right now is supposed to really do? When we talk about him engaging and him doing -- what actually is he supposed to do? Who's he supposed to call? How does it work at this moment in this particular situation?

LAZIO: I think you start to go and you speak to individual senators. He's done this with Bob Corker and other people where he's tried to court them and bring them in.

I think you have got to have some agenda, you have got to be somewhat flexible. You have got to say, OK, what do you think is doable? This is an area where obviously I have got limited flexibility, but let's get something significant done and I will help provide some air cover.

COOPER: OK. We have got to take a quick break.

Congressman King, I appreciate you joining us tonight.

Rick Lazio, great to have you here. Thank you.


KING: Thank you very much.

COOPER: All right, thank you, Congressman.

LAZIO: Hey, Pete.

COOPER: Coming up, Obamacare enrollment day one not without its problems, to say the least. We will tell you what happened and our panel weighs in.


COOPER: Hey. Welcome back to "AC360 Later." People started signing up for health care coverage under Obamacare today. They tried, anyway. There were certainly a lot of glitches, error messages, Web site crashes. And hanging over the entire system, there still seems to be a lot of confusion what exactly Obamacare is. It doesn't stop people from expressing strong opinions about it, though.

Here's what happened when "Jimmy Kimmel Live" asked people which they prefer, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. As you probably know, Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which plan do you support, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Affordable Care Act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what is it about Obamacare that you do not like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think that there's a lot of holes in it, and it needs to be revamped. I think it hasn't been thought out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you think the Affordable -- you think the Affordable Care Act is a better plan than Obamacare?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better, but I'm not happy with that either.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why do you prefer the Affordable Care Act over Obamacare?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't agree with the whole Obamacare policy thing that's going on. I just don't agree with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you believe that an informed citizenry is essential to a democracy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you disagree with Obamacare?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think insurance companies should be able to exclude people with preexisting conditions?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree that young people should be able to stay on their parents' plans until they are 26?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should be able to, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree that companies with 50 or more employees should provide health care?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so by that logic you would be for the Affordable Care Act?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What plan do you support? Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Affordable Care Act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why do you support that over Obamacare?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not like Obamacare. I don't like anything that has to be forced for everybody to buy. It's just not good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Obamacare is socialist?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the Affordable Care Act is socialist?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that Obamacare will eventually lead to gun prohibition?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they're not. Thanks, you made me look stupid.


COOPER: Our panel is back. In the fifth chair joining us is Dr. Drew Pinsky, "DR. DREW ON CALL." It's a little -- it's always unfair to do those.

DOUTHAT: It restores my faith in Americans.

BROWN: It shows the miasma of misinformation in which everyone lives, because they're in this kind of toxic radio...

DOUTHAT: People are relatively sensible about their priorities in life. Figure out every single name of every single law that Congress cycles through. The Affordable Care Act. There's the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

PINSKY: We wish we'd called it the Insurance Reform Act from the beginning. If we had done that and called it insurance reform, I think people would have gone for it.

COOPER: But there is a lot of -- I mean, I don't know all the details of what exactly is covered. It's an incredibly confusing thing. And I spent all day reading about it.

PINSKY: And we're going to see how it plays out. In California we've been preparing for it for a long time. In California, the state's being very proactive about it. Physicians everywhere agree we've got to do something like this.

But there's a really other interesting layer to this that people aren't talking about. Today I had -- I also spend a lot of my time trying to find resources for people who don't have insurance. So today I had three calls. I said good news you can sign up for Obamacare today. Not so interested.

COOPER: Really?

PINSKY: Not so interested. Not so interested in spending money. Just want care. It's really interesting. With people that are not used to buying insurance.

Listen, just get -- Young adults that are healthy don't like to buy insurance even when they can afford it. So now to get people who have never done this before used to the idea that now they have access they can get coverage they must do this.

COOPER: Because the people you're talking to feel they can fall back on the social safety net. Emergency room visits and whatever.

PINSKY: It's unfortunate. We've almost acculturated ourselves to this safety net, rather than helping people understand. That's why they're sending people out to get people enrolled.

BLOW: And the safety net ironically is not safe. The idea is they're not getting preventative care. In many cases they're using emergency rooms for anything that pops up. That actually is not health.

BROWN: It's also true young people think they're invincible, anyway.

PINSKY: Well, that's part of the problem. And again, people who are accustomed to not thinking about it proactively about the idea of insurance.

This whole business of health maintenance concerns me a little bit, too. I just had prostate cancer surgery. I want my prostate surgeon just doing surgery. I don't want him worrying about preventative care. My parents worried about that when they were raising me.

COOPER: I talked to a lot of doctors who actually liked the whole idea of preventative care. PINSKY: It's a great idea. I'm just saying the fact is it's going to be hard enough to give primary care service to all these people pouring in to help them restore back to health if they have disease. We'll be too busy worrying about the preventative.

COOPER: You believe you'll see a big uptick in patients coming in?

PINSKY: Particularly for primary care. In fact, some so you much so that you may not even see a doctor. You may see physician extenders. You may see nurse practitioners, that sort of thing. We just don't know.


BLOW: This is the way forward, though, right?

PINSKY: It's better than emergency room visits. Absolutely. But the fact is, people are not accustomed to this.

COOPER: How do you become a physician extender? It's like a product we would sell on some late-night infomercial.

PINSKY: We oversee -- we oversee the resources being rendered.

COOPER: Like a Ped Egg to shave your bunions and physician extenders. Late-night infomercials.

PINSKY: Don't be surprised. That's the only way we may be able to do this.

COOPER: Really?

PINSKY: Yes. Of course. That's all we're talking about. Already primary care has been a disaster for so many years. And now we're going to have lots of people coming into primary care. It's going to be littered (ph) by nurses and...

DOUTHAT: This is -- what we are describing here are some of the reasons why -- the issues surrounding Obamacare, right? I mean, I think there are a lot of my fellow conservatives were making jokes about the fact that, you know, reporters tried to go on and, you know, enroll in -- in all 50 states and got on and zero out of 50 today but so on.

But I think we can all assume that eventually the online glitches will be fixed.

But the woman -- the woman who Jimmy Kimmel was interviewing who said, you know, "I think there are a lot of holes in it and so on" was actually correct, right? This is a very -- for obvious political reasons sort of jerry-rigged system that has a lot of different moving parts. You know, it has mandates that some of which are suspended, some of which aren't. And it's ambiguous at best how it's all going to work.

PINSKY: And my profession is going to have to resolve all that. But there's an hubristic part of this, which is the idea that people who are uninsured can go online. I can't get my healthy, educated young males to go online and sign up for any insurance. My uninsured, uneducated, practical stricken resourced population to get online? I mean, that's hubris to say just go online and sign up. That is hubristic.

BLOW: The people who are actually sick -- there are a lot of people who are actually with pre-existing conditions, have been going online and calling people for years.

PINSKY: They've been going to emergency rooms. It's insane to do it that way.

BLOW: There's some people who have been showing up to emergency rooms. Other people who have had like chronic conditions that have been trying to secure health insurance who will go onto this site happily and want to do it. And go through it.

DOUTHAT: But this is potentially, right, the central fiscal flaw in the plan. Which is that the people whose health insurance is because they have pre-existing conditions, the most expensive, will have the strongest incentive to go navigate the quirk-ridden web portal while the people who need to be pressured, arm twisted, fined into doing so because they don't feel like they need insurance and so on won't. And that's how you end up driving the costs up, right?

COOPER: The bottom line is, I think a lot of people still don't get is, for the vast majority of people who have insurance through their job or who are covered in Medicare, no change.


DOUTHAT: Well, no. Not necessarily. I mean, if you look at how this is likely to unfold, most people are not going to see a big change in the next six months to a year. The question is, over the next four, six, eight, ten years, having this sort of parallel system of subsidies creates incentives for employers to stop offering insurance, which is why they have that mandate again Jimmy Kimmel rolled it into his interview, but it's actually a very controversial mandate because there are a lot of businesses that don't feel like they can afford to offer insurance.

BROWN: I'm afraid as a I wish we had as a single health system. I agree with Ralph Nader. I don't think employers should necessarily have to pay for that.

COOPER: We've got to take a break. Stick around. Before we go to break, we've got a couple questions to think about. Could losing actually be good for you? Are kids today -- are your kids today getting too many trophies just for showing up? Does any of this anything to do with the mess in Washington? That's ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back. A recent op-ed in the "New York Times" got a lot of talking in the news room. It's kind of fascinating. Headline: "Losing is good for you." Its main takeaway is we're giving out too many trophies to kids just for showing up. Too many parents are shielding their kids from failure, and that's a bad thing, and praising kids too much can actually backfire.

Ashley Merryman joins us now. She wrote the "New York Times" op-ed and is co-author of "Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing." Explain how losing is actually good for you and good for kids.

ASHLEY MERRYMAN, CO-AUTHOR, "TOP DOG": We're not teaching kids to lose. What we're teaching kids is how to be resilient, how to come back from the loss. Because we all know we're going to make mistakes; we're all going to struggle.

And if we never give kids that moment where you say, "OK, better luck next time," instead we give kids trophies, we're giving them the message that you don't need to try hard, that it's all about winning every day and not about improvement and learning over time. That's really what life is about.

COOPER: You actually wrote about sort of the trophy industry and how trophies used to be this rare thing you would buy at a jeweler store. And now it's this huge, huge industry.

MERRYMAN: Three billion dollars in the U.S. and Canada. Yes.

COOPER: For trophies?

MERRYMAN: Three billion dollars.

PINSKY: Incredible.

DOUTHAT: I'm not giving back my honorable mention 8th grade B-team basketball trophy. Pry it from my cold dead hands.

PINSKY: It's parents. It's narcissism on the parents. We can't stand to -- we can't tolerate our kids being disappointed. It's our pain we can't tolerate. They need the disappointment. Our job is to be with them while they go through that and work it through.

And by the way, she actually mentioned this, what happened to most improved? We just got rid of most improved. That's what really motivates kids to get better and better.

BLOW: I have a question...

BROWN: At love of them have had so much kind of helicoptering by their parents.


BROWN: And so much coddling when they actually do find some little setback they fall apart.

BLOW: In terms of a kid finding their aptitude, the thing they're actually good at, if you're constantly telling kids no matter what they do that they're great at it, they never -- they never fail at the things that they're actually not good at and find the thing that they genuinely are great at. That's why we see all these people showing up to, you know, these singing shows that they can't sing at all. And somebody's told them their whole life they're the best singer in the world. And they like get laughed out of the room. Because nobody's ever said, you're probably good at something else but you should go find that thing.

DOUTHAT: That's why we have the English. They come over to our shores to explain.

BROWN: That's what Simon Cowell's whole success was about.

DOUTHAT: There's also an interesting dynamic, though, where at least in my experience, I mean, the flip side, and I think you sort of imply this, is that it's not that getting too many trophies makes kids sort of all, you know, good sports and so on.


DOUTHAT: There is -- I mean, my sense of sort of adolescence and teenage years especially is that the level of sort of ruthless competiveness that kids experience has gone way, way up, as well. And so there's sort of like on the one hand you're sort of telling people that they can never lose, and then the reaction is to, you know, be sort of obsessed with...

COOPER: Also, actually. You write about...

BROWN: Neurosis among kids.

COOPER: You write about how sort of telling a kid how smart they are all the time, praising them, it actually has the opposite effect that parents think.

PINSKY: Doesn't build esteem.

COOPER: It's not building esteem. It actually can hurt it. Can you explain that?

MERRYMAN: Right. What it actually can do is kids get really invested in these titles. But at the first sign of difficulty they sort of collapse. And they become too invested. They don't know how to recover.

So to avoid that, researchers have found that kid are saying they're more likely to cheat, they're more likely to feel that, "Yes, I have to win every time at all costs. Because I'm so special that the rules don't apply to me. All that matters is that end result."

Another thing that changes people...

COOPER: So are these all the kids who become Congress people?

DOUTHAT: No, these are the people that become the activists who are calling the Congress people and demanding that they vote a certain way. BROWN: I think they're probably both.

COOPER: So what's the answer? The answer is, I mean, do not praise kids?

BROWN: Kids know when they're being praised and it's fake. They very quickly realize that it's a fake, and that makes them feel like nothing.

PINSKY: They can't build their esteem because everyone's special. And by the way, special is not such a good thing. If everyone's special, then no one's special.

COOPER: So Ashley, what do you recommend for parents?

MERRYMAN: Right. Well, I think we need to be sincere and honest with kids. And it's about did you learn something from this? It doesn't mean you have to win every time.

I think it's right. Most kids have two piles of trophies at home. The real ones and the ones people just gave them.

PINSKY: It's good for kids to struggle and perhaps to be in some pain. Our job is to stay with them and be present with them as they struggle with dealing with a reality that can be frustrating and painful and difficult.

Our job is to be that safe source and that ability -- that sort of resource for them, a secure base to operate from while they go out in the world and deal with reality on its own terms. If they never get to reality and the terms of reality, it's going to be a very unpleasant life.


BLOW: Kids are great but you're still going to fail. It's not always what you bring into your own life.

COOPER: By the way, I just want you to know, it was actually the News Emmys tonight. It was the News Emmys tonight. And CNN won an Emmy for our election coverage and also AC 360 won one for a special we did on kids and race. So what were you saying, Ashley?

BLOW: Giving these things out left and right.

MERRYMAN: Awards are good if they're earned.

COOPER: Yes. Well, we earned it. There were a lot of people who worked very hard, so we're very happy and very proud that we earned it.

MERRYMAN: That's the key part.

COOPER: Hey, Ashley, thank you so much for being on.

Up next, "What's Your Story"? We're going to ask our panelists to talk about something that caught their eye in the news or in their lives. Here's a hint: I'm going to be talking about "Breaking Bad." I'm sorry. That's all I can talk about. Be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. Time now for "What's Your Story?" where we talk to our panelists about the stories that caught their attention or maybe didn't get a lot of coverage or they were just obsessed about. For me it's "Breaking Bad" and the finale of it. Ross, you also...

DOUTHAT: My friends keep complaining that I'm only writing about "Breaking Bad" in order to distract myself from what's going on in Washington. But really I'm only writing about "Breaking Bad" because it's been the most amazing show.

COOPER: And Dr. Drew has gone to his special place because he actually hasn't seen the finale.


DOUTHAT: I'm more a fan of the finale. I was a little bit let down by the finale.

COOPER: Really?

DOUTHAT: I thought -- cover your ears -- I thought that things went too easily for Walt at the very end.

COOPER: Interesting. I thought it wrapped everything up perfectly. I was very happy. But you have another show.

BROWN: I'm sorry, but I do. And I am now totally obsessed by this French show called "Spiral" which you can get on Netflix and I'm crushed to find that you know all about it.

COOPER: It's so good.

BROWN: I was going to outcall you.

COOPER: It's available on Netflix. Four seasons of it. It is in French. You watch it with subtitles. But it's really good.

BROWN: It's gripping. It's all set in a law firm, a law office and cops and lawyers. In Paris.

DOUTHAT: Only available on VHS.

COOPER: But there's a lot of people out there, myself included, who now feel a big emptiness in their life bought "Breaking Bad" has stopped. There's another show I will recommend on Netflix called "The Fall."

BROWN: Seen it.

COOPER: It's from BBC. It's with Gillian Anderson from "X Files." It's only six episodes. It is -- it's a serial killer show. It is so good and Gillian Anderson is great.

BROWN: It's scary and creepy and great.

PINSKY: Is it a comedy?

COOPER: I like drama.

BROWN: Anybody get into the Danish shows? "Borgun" and...

COOPER: "Borgun." I just heard about that. Is that on Netflix, too?


BLOW: I don't speak Danish and French.

COOPER: Someone just recommended "Borgun" to me.

BROWN: It's all this strange, darkly lit.

COOPER: Good. Heavy sweaters and sad people.

PINSKY: Summer season is over.

BLOW: I feel horrible. It's so heavy now.

COOPER: That's fine. All right.

BLOW: I really want to bring attention to something. You know, there has been -- it's related to the Obamacare, actually, which is on the subject of HIV, right?

There's a lot of science happening right now around this where people a few years ago thought that we would never have a cure. They are very optimistic now. There are drugs going to trial, vaccines. They may not pan out, but at least scientists are now talking about an actual vaccine.

And the affordable -- and HIV/AIDS, when it was, you know, part -- mostly affected a very vocal community, got a lot of attention. Now that it only affects mostly poor people or black people...

COOPER: If you do a story about it, no one looks.

BLOW: If I write about it, nobody clicks on the link.

COOPER: And the new cases, I mean, the numbers of people who do not know that they are HIV positive, which is so horrific because to know you can be treated.

BLOW: It's extraordinary. And what the science tells us is that, if you are on drugs and it is well-controlled, your risk of communicating, it drops by like 95 percent.

COOPER: Ninety-five percent.

BLOW: And that used to be one of these pre-existing conditions that Obamacare, for all of the other issues and problems, it sweeps that group of people into being able to afford private health insurance.

DOUTHAT: Proper care, too.

BLOW: And it may have an impact on what is a silent epidemic in this country. And it's affecting poor people and black and brown people. And I think it is an enormous step forward. People have to acknowledge that.

COOPER: And even young gay people who, you know, did not go through the deaths in the '80s and early '90s, the number of people becoming -- who are becoming newly infected, young gay people is going up. That's a real concern.

PINSKY: In the history of medicine there's never really been anything like this where a causative agent is discovered. The epidemic is worked it. They found out what causes it, and came up with effective treatments.

When I was a resident, it got me in a meeting, was HIV. And I would sit people down with their first episode of pneumocystis pneumonia, and I would tell them, "You have six months to live," and I was never wrong. That's where we started.

And now, it's a chronic illness.

COOPER: You've got to be tested, and you've got to...

BLOW: It would be great if you had a preventative care. And that...

COOPER: By the way, there's a great movie, a documentary called "How to Survive a Plague" which is available on Netflix, as well, which is extraordinary and it's all about HIV and ACT UP, and it's so inspiring. It's great. Please watch it.

OK. Thanks to our panel. Everybody, really good discussion. I appreciate you all being here.

Thanks for watching "AC 360 LATER." "Shutdown Showdown" hosted by Jake Tapper coming up after the break. We'll see you tomorrow night.