Transcript: President Barack Obama

GILLESPIE: Well, this is to your point, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'll probably get attacked for that, but go ahead.



GILLESPIE: Well, you have a -- you have a fractionalized media today, which reflects the new environment in which the debate takes place. And I do think there's a pull from the left and the right, whether it's talk radio or blogs.

But, look, I think, as Donna said, you know, responsible leaders in both parties need to note a couple things. One is, when you -- you know, you make cheap comparisons to Adolf Hitler from -- from the right with the president or when you inject charges of racism where there -- where it's not evident, where people may have legitimate concerns about intervention in their health care, which is a very personal matter, you inflame an already impassioned debate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's -- let's get to that, because, George Will, you brought it up right at the top, that when people started to look at this bill by Max Baucus, the Senate finance chairman, this week, they looked at some of the provisions. And for some middle- class families in the $66,000 to $100,000 range, 13 percent of their incomes will be going to premiums before they go to co-pays and deductibles.

And -- and, Bob Reich, this is something that it was interesting, Democrats pounced on this.

REICH: Jay Rockefeller and other Democrats. You know, I think that the Baucus bill, you know, as a professor grading papers, I would grade it somewhere between a D and an F.

WILL: No grade inflation there.

REICH: But -- there's no grade inflation. But, look, it's the beginning point. I think it is -- this is the dance of legislation. Over the next month-and-a-half, we're going to see the Democrats in the House come out with a very different bill. We're going to see something go to the Senate as a whole. We don't know exactly what it is. We're going to see a lot of negotiation in the Senate Finance Committee itself.

Is this a good place to begin? I would say it's not ideal, but it's at least a place to begin. I think the momentum for health care is such that we are going to get a health care bill on the president's desk that he will be comfortable about signing this fall.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But will -- will -- will it meet the president's objections? I think you're probably right that there's a lot of momentum behind this right now, but we're seeing 500-something amendments filed in the Senate Finance Committee. The beauty from the president's perspective of the Baucus bill is that it covers almost everybody -- 94 percent...

REICH: And it keeps -- and it keeps the insurers and the drug companies and all the opponents traditionally inside the box.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And doesn't increase the deficit. But let me bring this question to George Will. If you start to address these concerns over affordability and cost, will the president's overall red line of it's not allowed to increase the deficit be met?

WILL: Of course not. The reason this meets that no increase in the deficit are really two things. First, it lowers the subsidies for people who are being compelled to buy health insurance. Now, that's why you get to the 13 percent of their income they're going to spend on that. And, of course, subsequent Congresses will simply raise the subsidies and blow the deficit off.

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