Transcript: Sebelius, Pawlenty

ROBERTS: Right. And the first will cost you money.

BROOKS: This is the political puzzle that -- he made the firm promise, not a dime of deficits. The CBO is going to come out, before they vote on this, and say, yes, there will be a dime of deficit. I don't see how he gets out of that pickle.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, wait, they've said that about the House bill. I mean, I think one of the things that everyone is waiting for is CBO has become the most powerful institution on earth...

BROOKS: Exactly.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... is that they have to say something. BROOKS: And they are really good. They can reach balance in the first 10 years. But he didn't promise the first 10 years. He promised forever. STEPHANOPOULOS: But, David, if that's true, the bill's not going to pass.

DONALDSON: No, but here's the way he gets out of it, but it's going to cost him if he does. He's going to have to give up some of his idea of who gets taxed and who doesn't get taxed. I mean, middle America is going to get taxed, one way or the other, to pay for this health care. ROBERTS: Well, and -- and Cadillac plans will probably get taxed. And that's going to make the unions very...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: They're going to tax the insurance companies that provide the care...

ROBERTS: And unions will not like it. WILL: Watch his rhetoric, which is becoming increasingly slippery. No one who is satisfied with their current plan will be required to give it up. No, but he's putting in place a structure of incentives to get people to drop private insurance. He says, we've started -- talking about 47 million uninsured. Wednesday night, it was 30 million...

(LAUGHTER)

... American citizens who cannot get health care. Well, 10 million are not citizens, so the 47 million. The other 7 million don't want health care. They have chosen not to have it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: These are the young, healthy people who are choosing not to buy it. WILL: That's right. And the president of the party of pro- choice plans to tax and fine them into giving up that choice.

DONALDSON: Well, let's say it's only 30 million. That's bad enough. I mean, oh, if it's not 47 million, let's forget it and go home, kum-ba-ya? No.

WILL: I'm just saying, watch the...

(CROSSTALK)

BROOKS: Well, this gets me to my bottom line, which is, he is very strategic. He's very flexible. And he will get something passed. I think the speech makes it clear. He will get something passed.

Will it fundamentally...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats alone.

BROOKS: Yes, because he'll move. He'll -- he will move. He will do what it takes to win. He's proven that. ROBERTS: And he's doing that.

BROOKS: Will it fundamentally address the incentives that drive the costs? Probably not.

ROBERTS: And that's the problem, really, because that's where businesses are in trouble, states are in trouble, the federal government is in trouble, is the cost. And so at some point, they're going to have to come back and fix that. But it makes a whole lot of sense to just get a bill passed now and then worry about it. That's what we've done with all of these big central programs.

DONALDSON: David has pointed out why it will pass. The Democrats, if they learned one lesson, which I think is true, from '93-'94, is don't go into the next election cycle having done nothing, or your president and your party is going to suffer. (CROSSTALK)

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