Transcript: Sebelius, Specter and Hatch

TAPPER: Well, Senator Hatch, if I could just stick with you for a moment, in 2003, when you voted for a Medicare reform bill, part of that bill required a care management plan for a targeted beneficiary, which shall be developed with the beneficiary and shall include the following, the provision of information about hospice care, pain and palliative care, and end-of-life care.

If the government has no business telling the American people that they should engage in end-of-life consultations, as many in your party seem to think is the case, why did you support that?

HATCH: Well, every doctor that handles senior citizens -- and both my parents were 89 years of age when they died -- every doctor that handles those works with end-of-life care. I mean, we expect that.

But to -- but where people are concerned is that, with a government plan -- keep in mind, the Democrats want to have an IMAC. That's an Independent Medicare Advisory Council of five people appointed by the president who will determine what kind of health care you're going to have. And guess who they're going to have to ration? It's going to be senior citizens.

And senior citizens are naturally concerned about that. So am I. And I think that's where these type of things come about.

But when doctors give end-of-life care, I don't know any doctor who does that who doesn't do it as well as he can or she can.

TAPPER: Well, I think, actually -- I think IMAC is supposed to be recommendations and not determinative, but -- but moving on, Senator Specter...

HATCH: Well, that's what they want. Jake, that's what they want. That's what they're suggesting. That's what this administration is suggesting. In all honesty, I don't want a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats setting health care for my -- for my aged citizens in Utah.

TAPPER: Senator Specter, is -- is Senator Hatch describing the health care bill properly?

SPECTER: No. Let me come back to the question that Senator Hatch didn't answer. You asked him, did he agree with Governor Palin or Senator Murkowski on the basic issue as to whether the plan provides for death councils. Senator Hatch didn't answer that. The fact of the matter is that it's a myth. It's simply not true. There -- there are no death panels. And when Senator Hatch comes to his basic point, that this is a government takeover, that's simply not true, either.

The government option is an option, pure and simple, and the private sector will be maintained, and people will be able to keep their current health care plan if they like it. And the employers can be given incentives to stay with the plan that their employers like.

TAPPER: Well, Senator Specter, let me stick with you, becauseabout that government plan, the public option, in May, you said you would oppose that. And you -- you have changed your mind and you -- at least as -- as I understand it, in town hall meetings, you're saying that you do support the inclusion of a public plan in a health care reform bill. What changed your mind? SPECTER: Well, I really had only one question on a TV interview, and I gave a negative answer, but that was before -- listen, I don't want the kind of a bureaucracy that puts a gigantic bureau between the doctor and the patient, which some people have proposed, and I'm against that. And my negative answer really went to that.

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