Transcript: Health Care Debate

NELSON: So I would not let it get off the floor. That's what that means at the -- that's the next round.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Coburn, you also promised before the vote yesterday to read all 2,000 pages, yet you didn't do it. Is that a sign to you that just the handwriting is on the wall and you decided to fold?

COBURN: Well, it -- it didn't accomplish a purpose. What we're going to do is read the bill to the American public. I think when you'll be -- what you'll be seeing when we come back is us going through it section by section, explaining what it means. It was a symbolic gesture, but it -- it didn't work with what Senator Reid and Senator McConnell wanted to do. I understand that.

I don't think we lose anything in the debate. But the important thing is for the American people to understand that this bill doesn't fix what's wrong with health care. We're treating symptoms, not the disease, and it's really malpractice what we're doing.

The -- the -- the problem in America today with health care is it costs too much, George. And there's nothing to address that. And one out of every three dollars that Americans spend today doesn't help anybody get well and doesn't keep anybody from getting sick. So why would -- why would we not want to go and fix the problems in health care, not the symptoms that all the politicians play around with, but the real problems?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to get to the congresswoman, but, first, let me -- just answer that point. He says he doesn't do anything to control the costs.

NELSON: Well, you know, it doesn't do enough to control the costs; that's for sure. And we do need to address that cost containment. I'm very concerned about that. But I -- I certainly couldn't say it does nothing.

I think the effort on prevention, early detection, wellness, the workforce development for more primary care physicians, those will all be helpful in -- in reducing the costs of health care.

COBURN: And ask -- ask the question, George, why did -- do we have an imbalance in primary care physicians? Why is it there? Does anybody know? It's because we pay them 300 percent lower than we pay the sub-specialists. And so we don't do anything in that -- we're going to help pay for some of their education, but we paid -- we do nothing to change that balance. One in fifty doctors graduating last year decided to go into primary care. That's a disaster that has been caused by Medicare setting the prices.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So not enough for primary care, although, as you point out, there are more incentives for primary care education in this. But I want to bring the question to you, Congresswoman, is the -- the differences between the House and the Senate bills, some fairly significant differences over how to pay for the bill, over how abortion services are covered, on size, $1 trillion or so for the House bill, below $900 billion on the Senate bill, and, of course, on this public option.

So when you look at what the Senate is considering now, is that something you and the majority of Democrats in the House can go for?

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