Transcript: Alan Greenspan

Unfortunately, this bill makes things worse rather than better by imposing federal government mandates on coverage that, for example, in the Whole Foods in Austin, Texas, headquartered in Austin, Texas, they won't be able to keep their current health coverage now because it doesn't meet the minimum -- minimum actuarial value because it's a health high-deductible plan with wellness accounts that people like, but they won't be able to keep it.

Millions of people won't be able to keep what they have.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you sure you're going to be able to hold the line on this on the floor? I mean, that was a very close vote in committee.

SCHUMER: Yes, I think we will because, again, we are sticking to the president's promise. And here's the nub of this, George. It's difficult. The costs -- John and I agree with this -- are out of control. So it makes it very hard for middle-class families to afford health insurance, or for their employer to afford health insurance for them.

The clear thing is, if we do nothing, tens of millions of people are going to lose coverage in the next decade. Your employer will call you in and say, "Jim, Mary, you're doing a great job. I want you to stay with my company forever. Btu I can't afford health care for you."

So we have to get the costs down. Until we do, there's a push and pull here. Do you put the burden on the average middle-class person because, for -- when they're not covered; when some people are not covered, we all pay -- the average person pays $1,200 to give health insurance -- to pay for the costs of people who are not covered -- or do you wait a while?

And Olympia Snowe and I had an amendment that would both reduce the penalties significantly -- no penalties in 2013. The amount went down. And there's another idea we're doing to look at the penalties I'm going to propose on the floor, which is, instead of it being a penalty, it goes into an account like an IRA but should just go for health insurance.

And then, when you buy health insurance, that money will be used for it so it won't be a penalty at all.

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... you mentioned Senator Snowe. She appears to be the only Republican who's in play on the Senate Finance Committee to vote for this bill.

And you've had your former leader, Bill Frist, come out and say he would vote for the bill. He says that's what leadership is about. So does the former leader Howard Baker, former leader Bob Dole. And may I make the argument that the Republican Party can't afford to be seen as doing nothing on this issue. How do you respond?

CORNYN: Well, we're for health care reform, but we're not for a government takeover of the health care system, which is going to do nothing but increase health care costs and basically cannibalize Medicare to the tune of $500 billion in order to pay for a new government entitlement program. And a lot of the best ideas we've had, like medical liability reform, to eliminate or reduce defensive medicine, and giving people more choices, have been rejected along party line votes in the Finance Committee. So we all, I think, want to see health reform. We want to make it more affordable. We want to have targeted solutions that deal with people who can't -- who don't have coverage now. But I think what has been proposed will literally make things worse, not better.

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