Transcript: Sens. Kent and DeMint

One of the examples they give is the Goldman Sachs partners have a $40,000 plan. You're saying tax those?

CONRAD: Yes. I think we've got to. Again, virtually every economist that has come before us has said, you've got to reduce that tax subsidy as part of an overall strategy to really contain costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's wrong with that?

DEMINT: Well, I can tell a lot of these folks have not been in business. So if you tax the insurance companies, it's going to affect the cost of every policy. This is not about the numbers. Republicans, including me, have introduced lots of health care reform proposals.

I introduced a tax equity which would allow people to deduct the cost of their health insurance. The president and Senator Conrad voted against it. I had a proposal that would allow people to buy health insurance in any state, not just a single state monopoly. The president and the Democrats voted it down.

I had a proposal that would allow individuals to use their health savings account to pay for a premium. They voted it down. They even voted against allowing small businesses to come together and buy their health insurance.

So, George, what we've seen is that Republicans do want reform that will make health insurance more affordable and available. But the only proposals we're getting from Democrats is more government control of health care.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's wrong with the Senator's proposal?

CONRAD: Well, the senator's proposal, the DeMint proposal in itself would be a proposal. It has no insurance market reform. In fact, it's kind of a protection for the insurance, private insurance companies, the DeMint plan. In addition to that, it would force millions of people out of employer-based coverage, onto some kind of government health. That could conceivably cost $2 trillion for the government. In addition, he's going to give you a voucher, $5,000 in...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a tax credit.

CONRAD: Yes. He's going to give a voucher worth $5,000 when health care costs $20,000. That's in 2016. It doesn't sound like much of a deal to me.

DEMINT: I'm afraid he didn't describe it right. The Healthcare Freedom Plan, George, that I introduced, would not take anyone off of their current plan. It wouldn't bother people on Medicare. You keep your coverage you have at work. What we do is give fair treatment to those who don't get their health care at work, and that would be a $5,000 a year health care voucher for every family.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But how about the point that most plans cost far more than $5,000?

DEMINT: Well, they wouldn't, if we would allow interstate competition. They think we have to have a government plan to have competition. But the president and Senator Conrad have voted to maintain a state by state monopoly by insurance companies instead of allowing a national market for insurance plans. There are plenty of products out there that could get people insured for $5,000 and if we allowed employers to put money in health savings accounts and let the individual use that to pay for a premium, people could buy more expensive policies. But we don't impact anyone who has insurance now.

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