Transcript: Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me follow up. Senator Baucus, the Democratic chair of the Finance Committee, seems to agree on that, and he's produced a draft that gets to 95 percent coverage, 94 percent, 95 percent coverage without a public option. Why wouldn't that be good enough?

DEAN: Let me just say, A, there's no rationing in any of these bills, so we don't have to worry about that. Secondly, 95 percent coverage is good. That's terrific. The problem is, you can't afford it unless you have a public option. There's no cost control on that. Again...

STEPHANOPOULOS: He says it would come in under $1 trillion.

DEAN: Well, the House is at $60 billion a year, and the Senate would be at $100 billion a year. I don't think -- look, here's the problem with -- this is why I think the public option is so important. The fundamental problem is that Medicare has gone up around 2 percent over the rate of inflation. That's bad. But the health care -- the private sector has gone up at two-and-a-half times the rate of inflation for 30 years.

Our economy is uncompetitive because we have an employer-based health care system. Now, I'm not advocating getting rid of an employer-based health care system, because a lot of employers like it and people in it like it. But I am advocating giving people the same choice that Congress has.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to get to -- really quickly, because I want to get to another issue here...

GINGRICH: Well, I just want to say, this is one of the great tragedies of how we've approached this, this year. Cost control doesn't work. I had a major hospital tell me last week they would literally go bankrupt under the House plan, because if you apply the kind of cost control without real health reform, it doesn't work.

At the Center for Health Transformation, we've outlined health reform after health reform that would save hundreds of billions of dollars, but it's fundamentally different than the way Washington thinks. And it's -- it's very frustrating to watch people -- when you say cost control, you're either ripping off the hospitals, you're ripping off the doctors, or you're ripping off somebody because cost control defined by the government means somebody gets...


DEAN: Wait a minute. You -- you -- not you personally -- but the Republicans have had times over the last -- since the last time we tried this, was 15 years, where you had the president, the House, and the Senate, and nothing happened.

GINGRICH: And they failed. I agree.

DEAN: So, OK, so we've got to do something.

GINGRICH: I'm not defending that.

DEAN: We think this will work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other claims being made about the bill -- and it's related to cost control -- is an -- and opponents are spreading the idea that the president's plan will encourage euthanasia. Most recently, Sarah Palin, on her Facebook page yesterday -- I think it was Friday night actually -- said that, "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Now, as you know, Mr. Speaker, the president called that outlandish. He said...

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