Transcript: Health Care Debate

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It's important to know that what CBO also said, that their bill would only cover about 5 million, not even coming close to addressing the problem of the uninsured or the underinsured. It doesn't address requiring insurance companies, prohibiting insurance companies from dropping you or denying you coverage for pre-existing condition. It does -- it -- it allows for association health plans...

BLACKBURN: But what we did...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Excuse me, Marsha. It allows for association health plans, which means that all the mandates, like for mammograms and making sure that women and people who need coverage in this country, all the mandates would be gone, and you'd go to the lowest common denominator.

BLACKBURN: Well...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: This is a bill that doesn't even come close to addressing...

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: That is incorrect.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, it is not incorrect. It's a bill that doesn't even come close to addressing...

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: ... what it does do is establish risk pools and reinsurance...

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: ... gets to near universal coverage.

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... because we heard something about some of the differences with -- with the House bill, and I want to press a little bit more on what your bottom lines are going forward. We heard your colleague, Senator Lincoln, say if the public health insurance option is included in the legislation, she will not vote to get it off the floor. Do you agree with that?

NELSON: It depends on what the public option is. I -- I am opposed to the public option of where the states have to opt out. I said I would look at a public option where states could opt in. But that -- that with the opted in, it wouldn't apply to every other state.

I -- I really think that state -- you can have state-based solutions in many instances where the states can step forward and take care of certain responsibilities, with some assistance from the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A second big issue, abortion funding. The -- the Senate bill is -- allows more public funding of abortions than the House bill -- than the restrictions under the House bill. If -- if that language remains, can you vote to get this off the floor?

NELSON: No. But I might not to get it off the floor because of other considerations, as well. Even if that -- even if that was perfected, where I could support that particular provision, if the public option is wrong, if the CLASS act is still in it, if -- if there are a whole host of other items that are the same as they are right now, I wouldn't vote to get it off the floor.

STEPHANOPOULOS: These are significant differences with -- with what the majority of Democrats in the House have called for. Can -- do you believe your colleagues will go along -- I know you -- you say there are basic areas of agreement -- but if on these key issues, Senator Nelson and his centrist colleagues win out, would this bill get through the House?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But what Senator -- I don't want to speak for him -- but what Senator Nelson is not -- you don't hear him saying is that there isn't any room for negotiation or compromise.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On public option he said, but...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I...

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