If there's common ground to be found on the Affordable Care Act, Michael Steele and Rick Ungar say they hope to find it.
The co-hosts of the new national radio show, "Steele & Ungar," on SiriusXM satellite radio, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV that they hope to break the mold of talk radio by finding solutions to major problems, not just providing a platform for spouting boilerplate political rhetoric.
"You've got to find that sweet spot where you actually solve the problem and move the agenda forward," said Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and the former lieutenant governor of Maryland.
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"That's really where we want to take things. Push it that far to say look, if you're not doing your job, let's get some folks in there who can and lets have that discussion."
Steele and Ungar, a liberal columnist for Forbes.com, gave a glimpse of what that format will look like as they debated the merits and future of Obamacare with Malzberg.
"I think it’s had some very rocky beginnings, I would never deny that, actually it has been an awful beginning," Ungar said. But he added that the program is already generating encouraging statistics.
"We're finding out that this concern that it would create a brand-new, burgeoning class of part-time workers just isn't happening. It's not happening," he said.
Ungar also said the proportion of enrollees who had not yet paid premiums – a major knock against the Obama administration's figures – is in line with pre-Obamacare individual health insurer figures.
Steele said that projected under-enrollment, particularly among the critical demographic of young, healthy patients, could doom Obamacare.
"If they're not reaching their own targets, the money isn't coming in from the young insureds that they need, how does this thing look when you get to September when insurance companies start the round robin of increasing premiums for next year?" Steele asked.
Ungar said that regardless of early stumbles, the law continued to have promise, and that it is critical to look past the early stumbles and to figure out how to implement the law so it can succeed.
"Nobody ever wants to talk about what's actually in this law and what it can do, what it can't do, what needs to be fixed, what doesn't need to be fixed. They all want to talk politics," Ungar said. "I don't blame Republicans for doing that, I'd do it too if I was a Republican."
The two agreed that the botched rollout and the continued problems had created a very negative perception of the plan in the public, producing doubt even for those who had originally supported it.
"When the American people are looking at this, where's the confidence from the very beginning of this whole venture?" Steele asked.
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