'This Week' Transcript: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

REICH: You know, Matt, it is possible to talk about two things at the same time. And the American public is capable of thinking about that, and two things.

Look, jobs is certainly the issue of this year and maybe next. But health care is the issue of our time, our era. And this is the opportunity to finally do something about it. The health insurers are not -- George, you said that they're popular and every likes their health insurer. They like their doctor. They hate their health insurer. And health insurance is going up in terms of rates, 20, 30, 40, 50 percent in many states. In fact, Goldman Sachs just this past week has said to its many of its investors, invest in some insurance companies because they don't have competition, and they are -- they have -- they are exhibiting huge profits.

That's money directly out of the pockets of Americans.

DOWD: George.

WILL: A, you say they have huge profits. As you know, confiscate all the profits of all the health insurance companies, with those profits, you could finance our health care for 48 hours. What you do for the next 363 days, I don't know. Second, you say there's not enough competition? Fine, let them compete in a national market across state line.

REICH: Yes, let them compete across state lines. Fine. But not a race to the bottom. Set minimum federal standards. Because we've seen over and over again, that the recipients of health insurance don't know what they're buying, very often. Until there are common standards, minimum standards, then people are going to--


REICH: And that's what's happened over and over again.

WILL: There you have the premise of this legislation and the core of today's liberalism. The American people are such dopes, they can't be counted upon to buy their own insurance.

REICH: They're not dopes. They've been taken. It's just like finance regulation.

DOWD: Donna, on insurance companies, do you think what the president and Kathleen Sebelius has done in the last week, is this purely politics? Everybody hates insurance companies, let's beat up on them? Or is there policy involved here?

BRAZILE: There's a lot of policy, Matt. The fact that women are paying much more than men for the same coverage, and just because we have, you know, certain biological needs that may need attended to from time to time. That's unfair. Pre-existing conditions. If George wants to defend these insurance companies denying people health insurance because they have a pre-existing problem and they can't find coverage, kicking people off the insurance roll simply because the insurance company decides, and not the patient or the doctor. Look,

Look, I think the Democrats will be able to defend this bill. They will be able to tell the American people that it is going to lower their cost, improve coverage for people without health insurance, and it helped businesses, small businesses who cannot find health insurance for their employees. So this is a good approach, and I hope the Democrats get it over the finish line soon, so that we can walk and chew gum.

DOWD: Torie, politics or policy on insurance companies at this point?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...