DONALDSON: And that's just another reason why he needs to win on the health care plan. Because they do have to have something that not only covers everyone, but that lowers costs. And the lowering costs will make it easier to reduce the deficit.
WILL: First of all, a majority of Americans -- a large majority of Americans, have insurance. And 80 percent of the insured Americans say their care is good or excellent. Second...
DONALDSON: Forty-six million don't.
WILL: ... there are 70 million -- sorry. There are 70 Senate votes for something like the Bennett-Wyden bill. Liberals get a mandate, you get to boss people around, tell them what to do. And conservatives...
ROBERTS: Which was first proposed by Richard Nixon.
WILL: Precisely. And conservatives get a market. You can do that. All it lacks is the public option, why do they depend so much on the public option?
REICH: Wait, can I -- can I just get back to your notion that everybody loves the health care system we have?
WILL: That's not my notion.
REICH: Not all -- people like their doctor. But people are holding on by their fingernails as premiums, co-payments, and deductibles all go up. And this is not just the uninsured, this is everybody. This is the middle class of America. They are demanding change.
ROBERTS: Which is one of the reasons why with unemployment rates the way they are now, the safety net that had been placed for unemployed people to try to keep their health care, the so-called COBRA, used to be something that you could afford. And now, no longer can people afford to pay their health care benefits under COBRA.
So it's another part of the impetus to get something done. And I really do think that having it fall apart at this point would be something that would be absolutely devastating.
DONALDSON: Completely devastating. But saying let's let the insurance companies do it is like saying to Wall Street, all right, let's let you do it. We don't need more regulation. Go and sin no more.
DONALDSON: The insurance companies have not been able to do it for all of these years.
REICH: One of the most interesting things that Lindsey Graham said this morning was he might be able to support Kent Conrad's compromise on the public option, which is a cooperative. Now personally, I think that's just papier-mache. You know, that is not going to have the bargaining leverage to get costs down. It's sort of a stalking horse, it's a Trojan Horse. But it's interesting that the Republicans are beginning to say, yes, a public option is possible. And that's opening a huge possibility for bargaining.
ROBERTS: And it's interesting that the drug companies are saying, and we'll help you out with the cost of drugs to the tune of about $80 billion. So, there are things that are happening.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That could be, actually, one of the most significant things that happened this week. This was this announcement the president made yesterday where the drug companies are basically going to fill -- which everyone on Medicare knows about this, the doughnut hole.
The prescription drug coverage, when you go from $2,000 to $5,000, all of a sudden you are paying every penny. The pharmaceutical companies are saying they are going to start to fill that. That could bring along support of the AARP across the board for the president's plan, which could make a big difference.