(UNKNOWN): Bob Dole said, "I want this to pass. We've got to do something." Bill Frist said that, if he were still in the Senate, "I would end up voting for it." Tommy Thompson said that failure to reach an agreement on health care reform this year is not an acceptable option. But some Republicans are siding with the insurance companies and just saying no to health insurance reform.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, as ads are wont to do, that left out some other comments by those same gentlemen who indicated that they had real problems with -- with some of the bills. But there does seem to be momentum behind the president's efforts. This week, more of those Republicans out of office coming behind it. It appears it will pass the Finance Committee and a change in the psychology among Democrats, feeling now this really will pass, this is going to happen this year.
WILL: Well, the CBO report was very important because it said it will only -- a new way of thinking -- only be $829 billion. But the Congressional Budget Office, a real nest of honest people in this town, did what they are statutorily required to do, that is take the bill at face value, at what it says will happen will happen.
But what the bill says is, the most expensive provisions begin in 2013. The 10 years they priced it for were 2010 through 2019. Therefore, an honest accounting of this, which the -- the bill was written to prevent -- an honest accounting would say, in the first 10 years of the full implementation of this, it would be $1.3 trillion. Now, they -- they wanted to get below $1 trillion. They didn't come close by an honest accounting.
HUFFINGTON: You know, it's really always interesting what we send to CBO and what we don't. Like, we did not say to CBO, can you please tell us what's going to happen if we go into Iraq? Can you please tell us what's going to happen if we escalate in Afghanistan? Or can you please tell us what will happen if we desegregate the schools?
Whenever we consider something really important...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it's not really their job, but I'll take your point.
HUFFINGTON: Whenever we consider anything really important in this country, we do it. So this is one of those fundamental reforms that needs to happen. My problem with the Max Baucus bill is that it was really written by the health insurance industry. It does not include a public option. It concedes a lot to pharma. And, basically, it's not going to bring about the cost containment that is essential if there's going to be real reform. There is no competition allowed in it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is one of the questions, Donna. Another one is that part of the way that it achieves this deficit reduction over the first 10 years and the second 10 years is with this tax on insurance companies, the high-priced health insurance plans. Now it's an excise on -- on insurance companies.
And that's the only way you could get real deficit reduction, yet you've got at least 170 Democrats in the House who say there's no way they're going to go along with it.