Transcript: Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean

STEPHANOPOULOS: Democracy -- Democracy for America went after him.

DEAN: And I've talked to Ben since that, just so...


STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Well, let's see the ad.


(UNKNOWN): Now I hear that Ben Nelson, the senator that I voted for, is leading the charge to delay health reform this summer. That's exactly what they want. The health and insurance companies that have given Senator Nelson over $2 million know that, if they can stall reform, they can kill it. I have to ask: Senator, whose side are you on?


STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to hear about you talking to -- to Senator Nelson, because, as you know, the White House has been pretty angry about these ads. President Obama says it's counterproductive, yet your allies are not stopping.

DEAN: There are a lot of people who are very upset about the incredible reach that the insurance company has. Look, this bill -- the CBO scores it at $60 billion a year on the House side. I think putting $60 billion a year into the health insurance industry is insane. I really do.

And so you want a public option. Look, we've -- what the president wants to do is very straightforward. Sixty -- or roughly sixty -- fifty or sixty million Americans have what Newt has called socialized medicine or government-run health care. They're over -- over 65. They're Medicare. That's what Medicare is.

Now, what Obama is essentially saying is, "Let's give the choice of getting into a system like that or staying with what they have to the American people."

So if you're voting against having a public option, what you're voting against is something that 72 percent of Americans in two polls want, which is the choice. Most of them aren't going to sign up for the public option, but they think they have the choice.

Why shouldn't they have the choice? Why should the health insurance companies have that choice?

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the answer to that question?

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, the government option we're talking about -- let's look at where government runs the health system entirely. The Indian Health Service is a disaster. Medicaid is so corrupt and run so badly -- we just published a book at the Center for Health Transformation called "Stop Paying the Crooks," because our estimate is that government fraud between Medicare and Medicaid is between $70 billion and $120 billion a year.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Veterans care works pretty well.

GINGRICH: Veterans care is the one system that actually works reasonably well. But the others do not. I mean, Medicare is basically a private system with a government funding.

An amendment was offered in every committee to have the -- to have the members of Congress and their staff in any government option as a mandate. And if this is good enough for the American people, it's good enough for the politicians. In every committee, the Democrats voted no. Now, why is it they want to insist on a government-run system for -- for people other than the Congress, but the Congress and their staff would be exempt?

Second, it's not -- it's just, I think intellectually not honest to suggest that this is going to be a matter of choice. The way the bill in the House -- and we're talking about a specific bill -- the way the bill in the House would work, if your company didn't offer any insurance, they would pay an 8 percent tax on their personnel cost.

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