'This Week' Transcript: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

But the American people need it, why are we here? We're not here just to self perpetuate our service in Congress. We're here to do the job for the American people. To get them results that gives them not only health security, but economic security, because the health issue is an economic issue for -- for America's families.

VARGAS: Do you wish though that the president had posted his bill before this week? That six months ago it might have been more helpful for you. That maybe six months ago you knew that the public option was something he was going to drop before you fought so hard for it?

PELOSI: Well we -- we still fight for the -- what the public option will do. Whether it's in the bill or not, its purpose must be recognized. And that is to keep the insurance companies honest. To keep them accountable, and to increase competition. And I think in the summit on Thursday it became very clear that what the president was proposing was regulation of the insurance companies.

Left to their own devices they have done harm to the American people. They need to be regulated. And that is one of the biggest differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. Another one for example is -- an example of it is ending the denial of -- of coverage to those who have a preexisting condition. The Democrats have that in their bill. The Republicans do not.

VARGAS: But would you...

PELOSI: But that's a major insurance reform that has to take place.

VARGAS: But would we still be debating this if the president had put his plan out six months ago?

PELOSI: Well, I don't know what -- what the value of trying -- the president has tried since one year ago March 5th. We met in Washington D.C. in a bipartisan way with some of the outside stakeholders to talk about working together to have health care accessible for all Americans. I smile because I remember Senator Kennedy coming into the room and saying, "I'm signing up as a foot soldier in the fight for health care reform." And of course he was such a tremendous leader.

But that was a year ago. Since then we've had hundreds of hours of meetings, and hearings, and mark ups of bills -- well over a hundred Republican amendments are in this bill -- the -- the House and Senate bills. And what the president put forth – we'll see some of what was said yesterday. So those who were making constructive contributions can be accommodated.

Whether we get Republican votes or not -- the bill definitely has bipartisan provisions in it. But if they have a good idea that works for the American people, whether they're in the vote for the bill or not, we want it in the bill.

VARGAS: How long are willing to wait for those ideas?

PELOSI: Well we -- but that that happened yesterday. And so ...

VARGAS: I mean -- I made it clear -- the president -- The president made it clear that time is up.

PELOSI: Time is up. Yes. So we really have to go forth, because as I said there -- as we sit around this table, this big table in Blair House -- every night families sit around their kitchen table -- try to figure out their finances.

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