Transcript: Sens. Chris Dodd and Lindsey Graham

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the president getting a free ride from the media? We're going to look at that question in just a little bit. But first, let me bring our "Roundtable" back in. I'm joined again by George Will, Bill Keller of "The New York Times," Robert Reich of "The American Prospect," Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.

I do want to get to that. But first, George, let's pick up on the health care debate we just had with the senators. This was a fairly rough week for the president on health care reform. You had the Congressional Budget Office score the two, main plans, saying they would cost $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion. The House wouldn't even put a price tag on there. Now the White House comes back and says no, we're developing consensus on cost control and getting some progress on prescription drugs. How much trouble -- how much water did the president's plan take this week?

WILL: Some. But it's not floundering yet. There has been a feeling that they want to rush this through as fast as possible, because many people believe that what sank Hillary-care in the early '90s was that it took so long. And the more people looked at it, the less they liked it. Now the initial response of many people, including I suspect Robert Reich over here, is when the CBO numbers were unattractive, they said, well, OK, we'll just get numbers from OMB.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That ain't going to work.

WILL: No, of course, not, from the Obama White House. But it turns out, it's very expensive. I think the long and the short of this is, what this is going to do is drive tax reform. Sooner or later we're going to see there's absolutely no way you can do this with the current revenue system.

REICH: I think that's probably right. The OMB numbers -- in this town, the green eye shades really do rule and people don't understand that. But those numbers did not take account of what I think is the linchpin of the entire plan, which is the public option. If there's a public option there to actually discipline the private insurers, to negotiate with drug prices that are lower, the entire cost structure --

WILL: Bob, there's a --

REICH: Discipline. The private insurers have actually run our entire health care system. So, if you try to make projections of health care costs without a public option in your projections, those costs are going to be much, much higher than otherwise.

I agree with you, George. There's going to have to be some talk about -- serious talk about where the taxes are going to come from. But not a trillion dollars worth.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the other problem, Cokie, on the tax side. They can't come to an agreement to how to pay for this. Every committee has a different idea.

ROBERTS: No. And they don't tell us how they do plan to pay for it. The Democrats' plan in the House last week, was just oh, we'll figure that out later. But the president and the people who are pushing for the change, have an opportunity here.

In "The Wall Street Journal" poll last week, about a third said they were for the president's plan. About a third said they were against it and about a third said they had no opinion.

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