ROCKEFELLER: I haven't found one. See, that's the whole point. People talk about a cooperative plan, health co-ops. And I called the head of the national association really early, and he said it's great on water, it's great on farm, it's great on electricity, et cetera, but it really doesn't work for health care. There's fewer than 20 in the country, and there are only two that really work, and one of them is in Washington, the other is in Minneapolis, in Minnesota. And both these senators from Washington are voting for a public option.
So it doesn't -- it hasn't had a future. It goes back to the '30s and '40s. And I just don't think you can take the chance. You have to start a national thing, all of the way up, or would you do it state-by-state, which would be harder.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what's the problem with the public health option?
LANDRIEU: Well, many of us believe, George, that it will undermine the private insurance system. And that's one of the criticism of the direction that the House of Representatives took. Because 55 percent of those covered with insurance today are covered through a private insurance model, 45 percent are covered through a public model.
So, many of us would like to take the president at his word, which is, let's not completely revise the whole system. Let's build on the strengths.
Now I'm with Jay in the sense that if we can find a middle ground here, where we can keep insurance honest, regulate insurance companies, no American supports unregulated insurance companies, so that there is competition in the market, we can maybe achieve the goal through a different way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the different ways that has been talked about, and then I want to move on to other subjects, is this proposal put forward by Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, which would say, let's give some time to see if the president's health insurance reforms work to bring down costs, increase competition, if not, then we'll have a trigger which will set the public option a few years down the road.
LANDRIEU: And I have to say, I think both Jay and I can agree that what Democrats want -- and I'm hoping that some Republicans will join us in this effort and not just leave Americans out there with a too-expensive system that they have and a system that's going to crash and burn shortly if we don't do anything.
I hope that we can agree that we've got to have a reformed market where individuals can buy insurance that's affordable. Where small businesses get a chance. These small businesses, 27 million of them, George, are basically out on their own.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So can you support the Snowe trigger?
LANDRIEU: I can support potentially a fallback, but only if the private sector is allowed and given a great opportunity to get this right. I believe they can.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about you?
ROCKEFELLER: I think that's too easy an answer with all...
LANDRIEU: That's OK.
ROCKEFELLER: Lots of love.
ROCKEFELLER: I mean, I said I didn't think there were any good alternatives. And if you're not going to vote for something, then you have to do something about insurance, because they have been very rapacious about ripping off consumers. We have done a lot of work on that to show that, and had whistleblowers come forward.
But I'm not dispassionate on the public option.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're going to keep fighting?