LOTT: I can say exactly the same thing the other way. This is a very dogmatic, ideologically committed Democratic Party. The leaders decided, "We've got the votes. We're going to ram this through. We're going to ram it through the House, getting one Republican vote, and through the Senate, getting in the final analysis no Republican votes."
There was no effort to try to make this a bipartisan bill. Look, there are some good parts in this bill that could have been passed in pieces. Everybody agrees there needs to be some insurance reform. There are some other areas where I think they could have come together.
In May of last year, there was actually a Republican effort to reach out and say, "Let's sit down and see if we can come to agreement on a number of these things," and were told, basically, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Look, this is -- this is a huge bill that's going to dramatically change how the American people get their health care. Now, look, yes, you would like to have more people covered, but in covering 32 million people more and saying, by the way, we're going to cut taxes and we're going to reduce the deficit, it defies common sense. You cannot do all of that.
DASCHLE: But the CBO, Jon, says exactly that, that they've scored this bill. They've -- they've indicated that not only is the federal government going to save $600 billion, but in the second decade, we're going to save $1.3 trillion.
Now, the CBO is the referee. We can differ with it. And those on the right will continue to object to CBO's score. But the score is the score. It's the official referee, and we've got it now in black and white.
WILL: But what the CBO does is takes Congress's promises at face value. Now, let me ask the two legislators here. Do you really believe that the tax on the Cadillac -- the high-value health insurance programs -- that has been kicked down or will be kicked down the road to 2018, do you really believe that will ever be enacted?
WILL: Who here believes that the Medicare cuts are going to be made?
LOTT: It will not happen.
WILL: CBO has to assume that, but we're grownups, and we don't.
LOTT: And, by the way, the doctor fix...
KARL: In fact -- in fact -- in fact...
LOTT: The doctor fix, which they'll have to do, because it -- you know, doctors will be cut by 21 percent unless Congress changes it this fall.
KARL: In fact, we had an article in the New York Times by a former CBO director, by Doug Holtz-Eakin. Now, of course, he's a Republican.
DASCHLE: John McCain's campaign manager.
KARL: John -- I understand, but somebody that knows a little bit about a CBO (inaudible) and he talked exactly on this point. He said, in reality, if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games and rework the calculus, a whole different picture emerges. The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits by $562 billion.
DONALDSON: Well, here's the thing about saying future congresses will be weenies, pardon the word, and they won't, in fact, do this.
KARL: There's a good record of that.
DONALDSON: Well, there's a good record of it. But look what's going to happen here. There will be an imperative on the hands of future congresses if they don't like these particular tax increases, they don't like these particular cuts, to do something. They can't just let it go. I think the body politic wouldn't stand for that.