Transcript: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Mitt Romney

There is a consensus, it seems, for an individual mandate and insurance reform which, as Mitt Romney just pointed out, that's kind of the Massachusetts plan.

KIMBERLY STRASSEL, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": One of the very intriguing possibilities, there may be something that out of it.

I would argue, though, the bigger problem the administration is facing -- and you saw it this week -- was a question of how you pay for this. I think this is even a bigger question of what goes in the plan. And you saw this -- what they have done is you have this series of proposals they have floated for tax increases. You talked about some of them with Mrs. Sebelius.

STEPHANOPOULOS: None of them are making it through...

STRASSEL: None of them. None of them are getting to get through. So now what you're seeing is the president saying, "Here's what we're going to get savings." Because "savings" is code for "we're going to cut things. We're going to cut things that are currently handed out," mostly Medicare.

But this raises a whole bunch of other problems. One is, are they actually going to get those -- those costs? Because no one actually believes that this is something -- I mean, these are optimistic ideas.

But also the question is, this is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Fundamentally, you cut services (ph) -- this is to hospitals. They're already taking a loss when dealing with Medicare and uninsured. So the way they get by is to raise their prices for the health-insurance industries. That's just going to raise prices more, if you're cutting out of that.

WILL: Insuring the uninsured. Easiest thing in the world. Essentially (ph) easy. Give them a debit card, a health debit card to pay for it. Mandate that they come in and subsidize their health care. Simple. There's consensus on that. But not consensus, because the left knows what it really wants is a slippery slope to single payer.

Donna, you talk about the 46, 47 million uninsured. Fourteen million of them are already eligible for other government programs and haven't signed up. Ten million are in households with household incomes of $75,000 a year and could afford it if they wanted to.

Furthermore, an enormous number in that 47 million who are not American citizens. Sixty percent of the uninsured in San Francisco are not citizens.

BRAZILE: We're still paying, George, for their costs, and perhaps we're paying for some of these fees that the hospitals are charging. The president said yesterday in his radio address that he -- he would like to reduce these out-of-pocket fees.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It caused a lot of pain. A lot of hospitals and a lot of constituencies screaming over that.

BRAZILE: Well, George, people are going to scream one way or another, because it's been 15 years since the last time we had a national debate. And what has happened in the last 15 years? We've seen premiums rise and wages stay the same.

So this is a real serious debate. And, George, I think the only way to get to making sure that we insure all Americans is to have this public option.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, George, there's no doubt that there are elements on the left who see this, in fact, in the way that conservatives believe, that that idea is to move towards a slippery slope.

Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...