tv Capital News Today CSPAN September 9, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
no one should go broke because they get sick. [applause] >> and insurance companies will be required to cover with no extra charge routine check-ups and preventative care like mamograms and colonoscopies. there is no reason she -- we shouldn't be catching cancer before it gets worse. that makes sense and if saves lives. -- and it saves lives fment that's what americans who have health insurance can expect from this plan, more security and more stability. now if you are one of the tens of millions of americans that don't currently have health insurance, the second part of this plan will finally offer you quality affordable choice. plauds
if you lose your job or change your job, you will be able to get coverage. if you strike out on your own and you want to start a small business, you will be able to get coverage. we will do this by creating a marketplace where individuals and small businesses can shop for health insurance at competitive prices. insurance companies will have an incentive to participate in this exchange because it let's them compete for millions of new customers. as one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance skps for quality coverage. this is how lorge companies and government employees get affordable insurance. it is how everyone in this congress gets affordable insurance. and it is time to give every american the same opportunity that we give ourselves. [applause]
but for those individuals and companies that cannot afford the insurance, we will provide tax credits, the size of which is based on your needs. and all companies that want access to this will have do go by the consumer protections i have mentioned. this exchange will take place in four years, which will give us time to get it right. in the meantime for those americans that can't get insurance today because of their preexisting medical conditions, we will immediately offer low-cost coverage that will prevent you from financial ruin if you lose your job. this was a good idea when john mccain proposed it in the campaign, it is a good idea now, and we should all embrace it. [applause]
>> now, even if we provide these affordable options, there may be those, especially the young and the healthy who still want to take the risk and go without coverage. there may still be companies that refuse to do right by the workers by giving them coverage. the problem is, such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. if there are affordable options and people still don't sign up for health insurance, it means we may for these people's expensive emergency room vifts. if some businesses don't provide workers' health care, it forces the rest of us to pick up the tab when the workers get sick and gives those businesses an unfair competitive advantage over their competitors.
and unless everyone does their part, many of the reforms we seek just can't be achieved. that's why under my plan individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance just as most sfates require you to carry basic auto insurance. [applause] >> likewise, businesses will be required to either offer the workers health care or chip in to help cover the cost their workers. there will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage. 95% of all mall businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements. but we can't have large companies gain the system by avoiding paying for their
employees. improving health care only works if everyone does their part. while there remains some and while there remain some significant details to be ironed out, i believe a broad consensus exists for the aspects of the plan i just outlined. consumer protections for those with insurance, an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses to provide insurance, and a requirement that the people that can afford insurance get insurance. i have no doubt these reforms would greatly benefit americans from all walks of life, as well as the economy as a whole. still, given all the misinformation that's been spread over the past few months, i realize that many americans have grown nervous about reform. so tonight i want to address some of the key drover that is are still out there -- key controversies that are still out there. some of people's concerns have drawn out of bogus claims spread
by those whose only agenda is to sil kill reform at any cost. the best example is may not just by radio and talk show hosts but by prominent politicians that we plan to set up pan pells of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. it is a lie, plain and simple. [applause] there are also those that claim our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants.
this, too, is false. the reforms i am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. and one more misunderstanding i want to clear up. under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place. my health care proposal has been attacked by some who think health care reform is a government take-over of the entire health care system. as proof critics point to a provision in our plan that allows uninsured and small businesses to tchuse an option administered by the government just like made medicaid or
medicare. let me set the record straight here. my guiding principle is and always has been that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. that's how the market works. [applause] >> unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market s. controlled by five or fewer companies. in alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. without competition the price of insurance goes up and quality goes down. it makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badly, by cherry
picking the healthyest individuals and trying to drop the sickest. by over-charging small businesses that have no leverage and jacking up rates. in truth, executives don't do this because they are bad people, they do it because it is profitable. insurance companies are not only encouraged to find reasons to drop the seriously ill, they are rewarded for it. all of this is in meeting what this former employee calls wall street's motivation. i have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. i just want to hold them accountable. [applause]
>> the insurance reforms that i have mentioned would do just that. but an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit insurance option available. [applause] >> let me be clear. it would only be an option for those who don't have insurance. no one would be forced to choose it. and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. in fact, based on congressional budget assessments we believe less than 5% of american would sign up. despite all this, the insurance companies and their allies don't like this idea.
they argue their -- these companies can't fairly compete with the government, and they would be right if taxpayers were subsidizing this public insurance option. but they won't be. i have insisted, like every private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be vfl sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects . but by taking out some of the excessive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers and could keep pressure on private insurance surers to treat their customers better. the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.
now, it's worth noting that a strong majority of americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort i proposed tonight. but, its impact shouldn't be exaggerated by the left or the right or the media. it is only one part of my plan. and shouldn't be used as a handy excuse for the usual washington ideological battles. to my progressive friends i would remind you, for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage available for those without it. the public option -- the public option is only a means to that end. we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. and to my republican friends, i say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address
any legitimate concerns you may have. now -- for example, some have suggested that the public option go in effect only in those markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies. others proposed a nonprofit to administer the plan. these are all constructive ideas worth exploring. i will not back down on the basic principle that if americans can't find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice. [applause]
>> and i will make thure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need. [applause] >> finally, let me discuss an issue that is of great concern to me, to members of this chamber, and to the public. and that is how we pay for this plan. here is what you need to know. first, i will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits, either now or in the future. [applause] >> i will not sign it if it adds
one dime to the deficit now or in the future. period. and to prove that i'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize. now, part of the reason i faced a trillion dollar deficit when i walked in the door of the white house is that too many initiatives were not paid for, from the iraq war to tax breaks for the wealthy. [applause] >> i will not make that same mistake with health care. second, we have estimated that most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within
the existing health care system. a system that is currently full of waste and abuse. right now too much of the hard-earned savings and tax dollars we spend on health care right now too much of our hard-earned savings don't make us any heavel healthier. this is true when it comes to medicare and medicaid. so comes to medicare and medicaid. in fact, i want to speak directly to seniors for a moment. because medicare is another issue that's been subjected to demagoguery and distortion during the course of this debate. more than four decades ago this nation stood up for the principle that after a lifetime of hard work, our seniors should not be left to struggle with a pile of medical bills in their later years. that's how medicare was born. and it remains a sacred trust that must be passed down from one generation to the next. and that -- that is why not a
dollar of the medicare trust fund will be used to pay for this plan. the only -- the only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud as well as unwarranted subsidies in medicare that go to insurance companies, subsidies that do everything to pad their profits but don't improve the care of seniors. and we will also create an independent commission of doctors and medical experts charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead. now, these steps will ensure these steps will ensure that you, americans seniors, will get the benefits you have been promised. they will ensure that medicare is there for future generations. we can use some of the savings to fill the gap in coverage that
forces too many seniors to pay thousands of dollars a year out of their own pockets for prescription drugs. [applause] >> that's what this plan will do for you. so don't pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut. especially since some of the same folks who are spreading these tall tales have -- that will not hatch on my watch. i will protect medicare. [applause] em he program more
efficient can help usher in changes in the way we deliver health care that can reduce costs for everybody. we have long known that some places like the intermountain health care in utah or the health system this in rural pennsylvania offer high quality care at costs below average. so the commission can help encourage the adoption of these commonsense best practices by doctors and medical professionals throughout the system. everything from reducing hospital infection rates to encouraging better coordination between teams of doctors. reducing the waste and inefficiency in medicare and medicaid will pay for most of this plan. much of the rest would be paid for with revenues from the very same drug and insurance companies that stand to benefit
from tens of millions of new customers. this reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money. an idea which has the support of democratic and republican experts. and according to these same experts, this modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long run. finally, many in this chamber, particularly on the republican side of the aisle, have long insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the costs of health care. [applause]
well, there you go. i don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet. but i have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs. so i'm proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas on how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. i know that the bush administration considered authorizing testing projects in individual states to test these ideas. i think it is a good idea. i am directing my secretary of health and human services to move forward on this initiative today. [applause] >> add it up, and the plan i'm
proposing will cost over $100 billion over 10 years. less than we have spent on the iraq and afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few americans that the congress passed at the beginning of the last administration. most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent, but spent badly in the existing health care system. the plan will not add to our deficit. the middle class will realize greater security, not higher taxes, and if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by .10 of 1% it will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.
now, this is the plan i'm proposing. it is a plan that incorporate rates ideas for many of the people in this cr -- in this room tonight, democrats and republicans. i will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. if you come to me with a serious set of proposals, i will be there to listen. my door is always open. but know this -- i will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it is better politics to kill this plan than to improve it. [applause] >> i won't stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things the way they were. if you misrepresent what's in
this plan, we will call you out. and i will not accept the status quo as a solution. not this time. not now. everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. our deficit will grow, more families whether go bankrupt, more businesses will close. more americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it the most. more will die as a result. we know these things to be true. that is why we cannot fail. because there are too many americans counting on us to succeed. the wins that soufer silently and the ones that share their stories with us in town halls and e-mails and letters. i received one of those letters a few days ago.
it was from our beloved friend and colleague, ted kennedy. he had written it back in may shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. he asked that it be delivered upon his death. in it he spoke about what a happy time his last months were thanks to the love and support of family and friends. his wife, vicki, his amazing children, who are all here tonight. and he expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform, that great unfinished business of our society, he called it, would finally pass. he repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also said it concerns more than material things. what we face, he wrote, is above all, a moral issue.
at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental prins principles of social justice and the character of our country. i thought about that phrase a lot in recent days, the character of our country. one of the unique and wonderful things about america has always been our self-relyons lines, our rugged individual lism -- individualism and our healthy skepticism of gofment -- government. this has always been a source of sometimes rigorous and yes, sometimes angry debate. that's our history. for some of ted kennedy's politics, his brand of politics represented an affront to americans. hids passion for universal health care was nothing more than a passion for big government. but those of us who knew teddy
and worked with him here, people of both parties, know that what drove him banks something more. his friend, orrin hatch, he knows that. his friend, john mccain knows that. they worked together on a patients bill of rights. his friend, chuck grassley knows that. they worked together to provide health care for chirneds -- children with dibblingts. -- disabilities. i but of his own experience. it was the experience of having two children stricken with cancer. he never forget the sheer terror and helplessness that any parent feels when a child is badly sick and he was able to imagine what it must be like for those without insurance, what it would be like to have to say to a wife or a child or
an aging parent, there is something that could make you better, but i just can't afford it. that large heart of his, that concern and regard for the polite of others is not a -- plight of others is not a partisan feeling. it's not a republican or a democratic feeling, it, too, is part of the american character. our ability to stand in other people's shoes, a recognition that we are all in this together, that when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lends a helping hand. -- to lend a helping hand. a belief that in this country hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play and an acknowledgment that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise. this has always been the history of our progress. in 1935, when over half or our
seniors couldn't support themselves and million hassd seen their savings wiped away, there were those who argued there were those who argued that social security would lead sm. but the men and women of congress stood fast and we are all the better for it. in 1965, when some argued medicare represented a government takeover of health care, members of congress, democrats and republicans, did not back down. they joined together so all of us could enter our golden years with some basic peace of mind. you see, our predecessors understood that government could not and should not solve every problem. they understood that there are instances when the gains in security from government action are not worth the added constraints on our freedom. but they also understood that the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little.
that without the levening hand of wise policy, markets can crash, monopolies can stifle competition. the vulnerable can be exploited. and they knew that when any government measure, no matter how carefully crafted or ben efficient, is corned, -- is scorned, when any effort to meet american needs are scorned, when facts are thrown overboard and we can no longer engage in civil conversation with each other over the things that truly matter, at that point we don't merely lose our capacity to solve big challenge we lose something essential about ourselves. that was true then. it remains true today. i understand how difficult this i know how important this health care debate has been. i know many are skeptical that government it looking out for them. i understand the politically safe move would be to kick the can further down the road, to
defer reform for one more year or one more election or one more term. but that is not what this moment calls for. that is not what we came here to do. we did not come to fear the future. we came here to shape it. i still believe we can act, even when it is hard. [applause] i still believe that we can act when it is hard. i still believe we can replace acrimony with civility and gridlock with progress. i still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history's test, because that's who we are.
region is about to give a response. >> good evening. i'm dr. charles boustany. i'm proud to serve louisiana. i'm also a heart surgeon, with more than 20 years of experience, during which saw firsthand the need for lowering health cost. republicans are pleased that president obama came to the capitol tonight. we agree much needs to be done to lower the cost of health care for all americans. on that goal, republicans are ready, and we have been ready to work with the president for common sense reforms that our nation can afford. "afford" is an important word. our country is facing many challenges. the cost of health care is rising. we're beeling huge debt on our children and families and small businesses are struggling through a jobless recovery with more than 2.4 million private sector jobs lost since february.
it is clear the american people want health care reform, but they want their elected leaders to get it right. most americans wanted to hear the president tell speaker pelosi, majority leader reed, and the rest of the congress that it is time to start over on a common sense bipartisan plan focused on lowering the cost of health care while improving quality. that's what i've heard over the past several months in talking to thousands of my constituents. replacing your family's current health care with government-run health care is not the answer. in fact, it will make health care much more expensive. that's not just my personal diagnosis as a doctor or a republican, it is the conclusion of the nonpartisan congressional budget office, the neutral score keeper that determines the cost of major bills. i read the bill that democrats passed in july. it creates 53 new government bureaucracies, adds hundreds of
billions to our national debt, and raises taxes on job creators by $600 billion. and a cut medicare by $500 billion while doing virtually nothing to make the program better for our seniors. the president had a chance tonight to take the government- run health care off the table. he did not do it. we can do better with a targeted approach that tackles the biggest problems. here are four important areas where we can agree right now. one, all individuals should have access to coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. two, individuals, small businesses, and other groups should be able to join together to get health insurance at lower prices, the same way in labor unions do. 3, which can provide assistance to those who still cannot access a doctor. after you are, insurers should be able to offer incentives for
wellness care and prevention. that is something that is particularly important to me. i operated on too many people who could have avoided surgery if they simply made healthier choices later in life we do have ideas that the president has not agreed with. we hope the president is serious about liability reform. we need to establish tough standards, in courage a speedy resolution of claims, and deter lawsuits that drive up the cost of care. real reform must do this. let's also talk about letting families and businesses buy insurance across state lines. i and many other republicans believe that that will provide real choice and competition to lower the cost of health insurance. the president disagrees. you can read more about all these reforms at health care
.gop.gov. these are common sense reforms that we can achieve right now without destroying jobs, exploding the deficit, rationing care, or taking away the freedoms that american families cherish. this congress can pass meaningful reform soon to reduce the fear that families are feeling in these very difficult times. working together in a bipartisan way, we can truly the with the cost of health care while improving quality for the american people. boustany. thank you. >> we want to hear from you. our first call, pam from
missouri. >> hi, how are you? >> good. what do you think of the hark plan? >> i think question should support the health care plan. it would even out the field. the way it is now, myself, my husband, my family, we are insured burke cost is so high -- the cost is so high, his paycheck is $300 short every week because of our heal insurance fment -- insurance. -- i agree with pam. it has got to be affordable. there are some things going on
fertility is not completely covered. they still want to charge us $500 for insurance out this way. i believe my last job was paying $1,100 toward my portion of insurance. so health costs are way too high. >> next, mary from florida, what do you think should be in the health care plan? >> actually, i agree with both of them as far as the health care plan. that there should be -- is it should be cheep cheaper. it is expensive. in the field i'm in, i am concerned if it is going to knock the individual lives out of the box as far as becoming universal. is that going to put us in the predicament of not having insurance as an employer or not employee? >> you're a health care worker.
what do you see at your work every day? what would you like to change about the health care system? >> hon honestly, for it to be cheaper. >> beth in illinois. >> i think having insurance is one will have sixth of our economy it shows how much it teaks from our pockets. it is a shame as far as us fromed richest country in the world that we do not have a single pair system. i think they could gin begin toe lower the medicare eligibility. my parents are waiting to become medicare age, because when you are working full time, or you've been working 30 or 40 years, and you're still having to pay $400
a plo for health insurance, that's a lot of money coming out of your pockets. i agree with everyone else so far. they talk bd affordability as the key importance. my brother is self-employed. a family of four or five -- costs $600 a month. they still have out-of-pocket expenses. my sister has to work extra shifts all the time and she works for a for-profit hospital, but everyone health care worker that's either a nurse, a doctor, or someone who works as i lab tech, they are always having to pick up extra shifts. >> richard from massachusetts, go ahead. >> i am 51 and i am in
construction, and i have had insurance for 25 years. i have had three episodes of skin cancer that i have had to pay out of pocket, that i don't mind paying for for my health care. but the thing is, if i had a melanoma, i would be put out of business. i f if would be a at that time -- it would be a catastrophic event. i am now in massachusetts where even in massachusetts where you are required to have insurance, i have fallen through the cracks because i was employed for a period and i was helped by the state, but once i became partially employed through an agency, i was told i was over the poverty level.
all these things presented me from having what i seriously needed is a colonoscopy and i need to have my sken lock -- skin looked over. i would like to see the public option. i would like to see the public option. i believe it will allow me to have insurance, number one, and i also believe that it would create a more competitive market place. now, i understand the fears people have about government bureaucracy, and i have seen waste in government. i truly believe if we can just get started with the public
option. >> all right. david from south carolina. >> i definitely agree with the public option. i think too many insurance companies are taking advantage of their customers. i think when someone gets a preexisting condition, i think that is unfair. i probably mentioned that -- pablo mentioned that 90% of the pashese in north carolina go through this. that is nch right. it allows them to not jack up the rates. the previous caller mentioned the government. i think there are too many lies being thrown about government not being able to help people. i have seen how medicare and medicaid helps the elderly. it helps them get home health,
pays for their doctors appointments, and i think medicare is one of the best systems we have. people age 65 and all -- older agree. >> ok. let's take a call from utah. >> we have a good situation. my wife has the federal employee benefits plan, but unfortunately we have two adult children twho cannot get insurance. one of them, we have not been able to get a health diagnosis. we have a daughter who is over 32 years old, who has over $200,000 in debt. she cannot get diagnosis and treatment for encephalitis,
spinal menengitis. she has no hope of ever entering the american work system. flu our current system. >> let me ask you a question. what do you think should be in her health plan? >> a public option. >> that was our last call of the night. i appreciate your calls. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute]
europe, immigration, islam, and the west. " christopher caldwell on seevep's q & a. " >> now max baucus. his remarks are about six minutes. >> i have just met with my colleagues and we have a path for moving forward. the finance committee will wash up on health care reform a week after next. this is our moment. we have spent many weeks and months on this crucial issue, and now is the time to move forward.
i very much hope and i expect will there will be some republicans when i issue them next week and we will go to mark-up the following week. my door is open. i do think that there will be. i will move forward anyway. we have to move forward. chuck asked me that about an hour ago, and i spoke with some other key senators a while ago. so we will have a mark next week, and i very much hope and expect that republicans will be on board. i don't know how many. but if there are not any, i will move forward in any end. >> does that mean there is one more week to go? >> it means there is quite a bit of time left for the bipartisan support 689 -- support.
that is, i hope and expect to find some number of nerns, it is an odd amount, to thrb on the mark. after that, we good to the mark-up, and there is still plenty of time for public concern to join. fib a senator will offer an amendment in order to support the bill. it is hard to say. we have the mark 4-up the foming week. >> i will probably put down a -- i think that is close to a measure that will pass both the committee and the senate.
i'm not about to put in provision that is are so problemmatic they will not pass with the house and senate. they will be close. >> it sounds like no public option. did you get concussions this morning for 10:00? >> yes, sir. -- yes, i did. senator ramsey. we are going through those now. we're going to meet this afternoon, our group of six, to go over those changes and -- >> are you disappointed to say we are moving forward with or without republicans? >> no, no, no. i know almost all negotiations you have to almost wait until the last instant.
we have all invested so much time and effort in this. i know my republican colleagues want to be part of this. they want to be. and they know, and i know, there is still time. there is still time between now and when the revolt on the fwinal boyle bill, gets mark -- gelts marked up in a couple of weeks. i do expect some of these will come up wlitter. earlier is better than later. >> where will the trigger come into play? >> it is interesting. i hear a lot about trigger in the media, but i don't hear it in discussions.
a trigger has not come up in my discussions with my group or six or any democratic colleagues. [unintelligible] >> i think, frankly, with increasing conviction, that a public option cannot pass the senate. it is different as each day goes by and talking to shose senators. private samentse, public statements. it's my belief that a public option cannot -- [unintelligible] >> it is interesting. the questions go mostly around the edges. there is no big show stopper.
we haven't met since the august recess, so some facts have to be in the proposal so it can be better understood, so this is the case for most of the last couple months. no show stoppers, no big policy issues. just kind of work around, how does that work, how does that work? >> they didn't have big policy change zph in is them. i think at this point it's best to -- thanks, everybody. >> thank you. >> thank you, juror. >> thank you. >> now a look at proposed health care legislation and the effect
a new system could have on both employers and employees. we'll hear from snormer senators bob dole and tom darnl in this event. this is an hour and 45 minutes. >> i want to thank all of you for coming. i'm judy woodruf with pbs' news hour with jim layer. -- lehr. i want to thank the bipartisan policy center and thank the group "better health care together" for organizing this program. by the way, i don't know what all the fuss is about the president's speech tonight at 8:00. this is where the action is. [laughing] right here at the museum at 12:00. we are going to get into our all-star panel. first to kick off our program we are fornlt to have two former senate majority leaders. one republican, one democrat,
who know the legislative and the political in's and outs of this city better than anybody. we are going to ask them to set up the discussion with some opening thoughts on their own. i would like to introduce former senate majority leader would be dole of kansas. please welcome senator dole. [applause] >> i need a little help here myself. judy, thank you very much, and thank you to the illusrious
panel that knows a little more than a few in the room. we have had this opportunity with the bipartisan policy center for over a year ow. to try to see if we couldn't sit down, two democrats and two republicans, george mitchell decided that settling the mideast was easier, so he left. [laughing] >> our advisory panel has one vacancy now, so baker and i have really got them on the run. but tom can do the work of two people. so it has been a great experience and one that we have really spent a lot of time on. i mean, senator daschle without a doubt knows more than anybody on the panel about health care. he's written pay book on it, knows it backwards and forward, and the rest of us were playing
catch-up. but it wasn't one of those things where the senator just nirbled it right here. i didn't do that. i dment understand it, but i didn't initial. i think for the post-part, we really got into what we were supposed to be doing. we were supposed to be advising others on the basis of what we knew and what we learned, and we had hearings around the country, and we listened to experts, and we did everything we could to make certain we could get this done. .
i believe it is in the interests of the president and my party to end up with not to three senators or later 10 house members, but a solid bipartisan majority. we are not certain what it is. we hope there will be surprises tonight. it might get the attention of some republicans and might make it in a little more easier to line of more republicans. bipartisanship means a lot of different things to different people. one is that you agree with my position. that is bipartisanship.
it was a lot of work. i went back after i left the cemensenate and thought about te things that happen while i was there that really meant something to the american people. almost without exception -- if you have the votes, you can make me swallow anything but economic me keep it down. if you take the kid the american disabilities act -- take a look at the american disabilities act, it to a while to get to a place we could pass it. the social security amendments o 1983 -- of 1983 were pretty much the same. we had things that nobody li ked. think we ended every interest
group in america which many think it was good legislation. it ended with strong bipartisan support. we thought it would be even later than 2017 we finished the bill. there is something in it for both parties. president obama can say the democrats have pushed through the bill while republicans sat on the sidelines. i hope that is not the case. there is dangerous -- a danger in that. if i was president -- and is not like i did not try it nine times -- [laughter] i would like to know there is bipartisan support because it sends a message to the american people. they know -- bear smarter than
-- they are smarter than we give them credit for. i think it is in the president's interest to be bipartisan. i think republican, is in their interest to be bipartisan. we do not have the numbers. we are not going to do it unless we have something to show for it. i have been on both sides of these. maybe the best tried agee is to put a sign on your does that says no -- best strategy is to put a sign on your desk that says no, call me later. after a while, and the american people are going to wonder what were the republicans for? i am certain there will be people around like my good
friend senator-to remind them what we did or did not do. there is nothing with that. -- nothing wrong with that. i was hoping the president would introduce his own bill and take ownership. and say, this is my legislation and this is what i have decided after all the talks and all my business with democrats and republicans. this is the bottom line. as he introduces legislation he would take it for their -- from there. he is not going to do that. he may be very specific in what he will except in will not accept. up until now we have had all this to do in the house particular, but we have too many
bills floating around. there are four in the house and senator baucus has his in the senate. that one may get some real bipartisan support. i have been talking to grassley and olympia snowe and trying to reach sitter rakowski who had -- senator mikulski who had surgery on her leg. i am calling you to say do not hang up. senator grassley would like very much to do something. he is the republican leader on the finance committee. it is hard to expect senator grassley to provide the leadership. he has been working hard and so
are other republicans prepar. do not mean to denigrate those who taken different positions. they have a right to be in opposition. they have a right to offer amendments. they have a right to debate and vote. i think once we get focused on this is what the president says he wants and what do we do, where do we go from here. do we offer a substitute? do we offer amendments? do we try to work together? i am stirred the present is one to spend a lot of time -- i am sure the president is going to spend a lot of time leadership tried to pound out one little thing out in time -- at a time. there is more than just a public auction. there are hundreds of provisions in this bill.
and maybe i thought that was a diversion. other controversial areas would slip through. i do not think that is the case. here are. in the morning we will know pretty much what is going to happen. if there is absolutely nothing new, nothing new is going to happen. i like to see something happen. back in 1977 we had will be called a 3d bill which contained as many provisions are in the present legislation. 31 years is a long time to wait. particular when your 86. -- when you are 86 and worried
about room service and things like that. i have the privilege of introducing a man who has had a great influence on president obama on health care, and i can truthfully say no is more about the issue than anybody i know who's in or out of congress at this time. no offense to any of the experts in the room. tom has written a book. he understands this. he has made hundreds of speeches. he really has gotten into the details. tom understood having credibility with the public and understood -- i do not like mandates but i like the public
option even less -- i was willing to see a trade-off. swallow the mandate in get rid of the public option. i do not know what his public -- what his thinking was, but we did not end up with a public option. we did end up with a trigger that could send the bill to congress and be debated and voted upon like any other piece of legislation. tom and i worked together. i take a little pride in getting him to come to our law office, which if you need any more reformation -- [laughter] i have some pamphlets.
we have three people that will stop the. one to get you ready and to keep you ready for the meeting. -- and two to get you ready for the meeting. we are serious about business. i will give it to a good lawyer. i think i do not need any further introduction of tom daschel, who i worked with in the senate. we never had a public disagreement. we disagree on a lot of things. we never did it in public. i think there has been a slight change in the way congress conducts its business. we had our problems, too. i'm not here to criticize the
president. we certainly were not perfect by a long shot. one person who kept this on the balance on the right -- i should not say right -- kept us on track was tom daschle. tom? x thank you for those generous words. i like a lack of subtlety. it has been one of the joys of my professional life to have the opportunity to work with this man on several different
registrations and contexts and it is just a terrific experience. i care for him deeply. thank you for your introduction. i'm delighted to be part of this panel. i remember, i think it was mark twain who had to follow something -- somebody like i am following now. he came to the podium and said i had an announcement to make. the previous speaker and i before the program started exchange speeches. you just heard my speech. i forgot what he was going to say. there is not a word that bob dole has shared with all of you that i disagree with. i will start with that. over the course of the last 18 months, bipartisan policy, through the generosity of the robert johnson foundation,
worked on an idea. the idea was simply can four former leaders come together and reach conclusions about this complicated health policy in a way that might offer some blueprints, some approach that might be helpful to congress as a deliberate. it took us 18 months, two democrats and two republicans. we departed a little early pitted the three of us finished the work. it was hard. i was working with to extraordinarily capable formidable leaders who know the heart of a good deal, who know the legislative process better than anybody in this town, and in spite of the fact that we had everything going for us, it was difficult.
it was challenging. there were moments when i really was not sure we were even going to get there. we got there. as i think back, how was it we got there when it still seems so difficult for others to achieve the same thing i think the answer in part is that we did not feel any peer pressure. we were there as independent contractors representing ideas. there is no politics. there was zero politics. if you can limit say -- eliminate polyps and peer pressure in this town, you can get it done. i wish them luck. i know this, every day in this city will make history. bob and i had the fortune to make a lot of history. history is going to be made tonight, today.
as we speak, history is being made perhaps in the senate finance committee as they continue to work to resolve their outstanding differences and the president is going to give a speech to the nation and a joint session tonight that will forever more marked another important element in this debate. history will be made. whether it is large or small depends in part on whether or not we can minimize politics, minimize pressure, and minimize how important this job is. this has invaded us for 47 years or 100 years if the go back to the first time it was on any platform. we have been at this for a long, long time. we have appealed and failed. i was part of the last failure.
i doubt at that time. -- i about at that time -- i vowed at the time to find out a way to deal with this. we have been dealing with it incrementally. we have made a little progress for kids, thanks to bob dole and others. we did not make a lot of progress brita we have fallen behind in just about every context as we look at health care. you just heard one of the finest leaders in history. you'll forgive me if i recall another famous leader. my inspiration was taken in
the. you cannot have helped by moved -- by ted kennedy. you could not have been helped to the mood by his eulogy. he lives at the bottom of the hill tried to survive cancer with one hill and exclaimed to his father there is no way i can get to the top of this bill. his father said, we are going to get up to the top of the hill if it takes all day. they got up to the top of the hill. ted kennedy jr. never forgot it. there were people in that church and should not forget it either. people have been saying it is too hard, it is impossible. nelson mandela once said that a
lot of things seem impossible until they are done. this can be done. we know the status quo is part of the mess we are in. we are in a mess in healthcare. costs are out of control. we have 50 million americans who do not have insurance at least part of the year and another 60 or 70 million americans who are so underinsured they do not get the care they need. 18,000 people a year die because they do not have access. they died because they cannot get in the building. the status quo is the least acceptable. while there is a lot of differences among everybody in this panel, what we are not hearing about is how many
similarities and common ground there is. how just about everybody here wants universal access. everybody here understand the importance of insurance reform. everybody understands how critical it is we put in place and effective cost control measures. nobody at this panel is satisfied with the assessment of our quality today when commonwealth says we are 19th out of 19 industrialized countries when it comes to he alth. no body can be satisfied with that. let's hear more about the common ground and less about what separates us. let's kind that so. let's get to the top. let's make history.
when that happens we can all be proud. thank you very much. >> we are going to get under way with our panel. we know that senator daschle is going to join us. we hope senator dole spent six days and joins us. that'll be his decision. -- senator dole stays and joins us. that'll be his decision. i am going to be asking questions. we will have a conversation among this group for about another 45 minutes or so. then we will open it up to you in the audience be making notes
about what you hear and be ready to engage. as senator dole believes, give him one final round of applause and thank him. we go with your blessing. we heard the we are focusing too much of what separates us, and yet we know we need to talk about that. for the sake of this discussion, let's stop. start by talking about where the agreement is. this is a diverse group. they represent industry and labor and the left and right. let's hear from all of you what you think the most important point of agreement are. let's begin with the committee
for economic development. from your perspective, what is the most important element of agreement that something can be built from? >> i think there are three things that most people would agree on that we have to address. one is to do with cost. that was the first thing the president said at his summit earlier this spring. the first sentence out of his mouth was to deal with cost. the second is coverage. we know the problems with uninsured is unacceptable. i think the third thing that all of us could agree on is that equality. most americans think that because we out spend the rest of the world in terms of aggregate dollars on health that we are getting better results. we are not. i do not think people realize that. france which relate to criticize and teas, they were ranked the
best in the world in terms of quality. they live longer. they get better results in mortality. they do not have the obesity problem. those are the three things. our system is failing. >> i did not introduce everybody. and now i'm one to introduce them as i ask them to speak. i next one to call on any hill -- annie hill. from your perspective, what are the most important points of agreement? >> i would agree in general with all of the three things that he said. maybe he could be little more specific. how do we accomplish some of those things? those of the tonnages we have seen play out over the last few months. there are four things that we are looking for.
one is that we do think there should be an employer mandate, that all employers should pay to level the playing bill. we have many employers better picking up the cost and covering workers that works with other employers. the second thing -- and there have been a few committees that have addressed it -- we do not want to forget people that are under 65 but are retired. that is action of the most expensive group to cover -- that is actually the most expensive group to cover. some people just have not retire because they are ready to go out but it actually are too ill to work, they have a family member to take care of, they lost their job. that is the most extensive group to cover and it is hard to go out and get into panic covered. sometimes they are the have chronic or pre-existing conditions. but i am going to stop you there. if your blood to make sure list
of specifics, but have some discussion. is everybody in agreement on what she said? >> we have also supported an employer mandate for a variety of reasons. in this country, we need every american to be insured. those of us as individuals or companies who are providing health insurance are subsidizing those who are not. it as to the economic burden on the rest of us. -- it adds to the economic burden on the rest of us. every employer should play a role. as a principle, we think that every company needs to hell shoulder this -- needs to help shoulder the burden. you were going to list -- you
have a couple more things? >> one other thing is that as far as insurance reform, we think the best way to get there is to have a public option and another alternative for small businesses. it cannot be open to everyone. >> where is the agreements among the group of you on how you take care of those individuals who do not have coverage now? >> i think they laid out a lot of the principles that we very much agree on. i would want to add one more principle. there is a sense of -- sense of urgency. i think we all share a sense of urgency. i am particularly bothered by what i see as declining american competitiveness in a global marketplace because of outcomes on health care.
we all talk about the cost. we do not understand that on how much is borne by the taxpayer. i now see companies who are clients on a global basis choosing to grow jobs outside in the u.s. because of the total cost of employment. it is getting to be out of whack because of health care costs. it is the reason for people moving jobs elsewhere. when we talk to entrepreneurs as to why they are not starting new companies, it has become a critical reason cited up there with access to credit. we have been willing to support an employer mandate. i think everybody has to play. there is no choice. i do not think a company can choose not to participate. there has to be room. i do not believe we get to a decision early in this game
ruling out any of the possibilities as to how we achieve that employer mandate. i happen to be more of an advocate of a free enterprise solution. i think the more important part is that we also collectively -- the outcome we are concerned about is access to health care coverage for everyone how we get there has room for debate. >> what would you add? where the points of agreement? what>> a number of people have d we need to move [no audio] that means about prevention and wellness and best practices. i think we all agree they need to change the paradigm here. >> you are making this sound
easy. we are going to start out with a positive. >> i agree with a lot of what has been said. i do not believe there is a false dichotomy. that is true with almost every industry that exists. we are in favor of having a competitive marketplace. we want to continue to drive innovation to offer a new service. i want to agree with what senator dole said. there is far more to the bill then the public option. if we allow the entire debate to be held hostage to this issue, then we risk solving a lot of the problems that we need to tackle. that is one of the things we worry about. >> that is where so much of the
debate has centered. >> it is a big part of it. many of us to be audited as the best way to achieve the goals that we all share. putin -- many of us view it as the best way to achieve the goals that we all share. we think that the public choice is a good thing you can keep them competitive and we definitely need to bring down costs. in the current market, they are not saying insurance companies to that. we see it as part of the bigger hole. -- of the bigger whole. people can get an insurance with an end to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions or the pulling back of coverage. we see it as part of insurance reform.
there are some of that insurance reform and say, why do not we do that? you cannot make rules for insurance company or the premiums will go up. they have been avoiding sick people. the have to charge more. that can make it unaffordable to many. you cannot have a system where people can wait to just get insurance when they get sick. we have to have everybody covered and everybody tousing. >> i want to come to senator daschle on something you said. on this question said on just doing insurance reform -- is there agreement here that it is not enough, just getting insurance? that argument is still out there. >> no matter who pays, if you do not do delivery reform, if you
will not deal with the doubling of seniors. you will not continue to do business as usual. >> the current model does not cover the work force to work in non traditional mode. the current model does not work. >> wise said arguments still floating around? -- why is that argument still floating around in? >> one wonders if those that make the argument -- if it can even work. we are saying it cannot work. >> i know -- i think you said this. he said there is more to this thing in the public auction. having said that, it is the big
elephant or guerrilla in the room, what ever it is. the sense is growing that it is not going to happen, that the house may wanted but the boats are not there. where do you see the state of play? >> i think it is important for us to find -- to define what a public option is. it is a place where people can come that had up until now had very little opportunity to get good care. it is interesting that opponents of the interestingoption generally say the reason they do not support it is because it would be so popular everyone flocked to it. the success is the reason they do not think it should be incorporated. that logic is dating.
we have not had the first vote for debate. i think congress needs to work its will. let's see what happened. there are several alternatives including a co-op. there are ways with which to address it. who said this has to be the last word on health reform? we are going to be revisiting these issues from time to time. i think there is an inevitability of a public option that sometime down the road. we cannot let any single item keep us from kidding to the larger good, which i think is meaningful coverage, meaningful improvement in quality and better choice. if we do that, then we will have achieved a great deal. >> we are not arguing that the
choice is between doing nothing and doing something -- we are just think we have all committed that we are going to do something. the issue is, what is the better and achievable something. >> what about the trigger? plusses, minuses? >> we have been lucky. we have managed not to make the public plan an issue. from a business perspective and from time to listen to all the people who shop at walmart to have a concern about this -- what they are worried -- they want this problem solved, but they want to feel safe and secure. one concern is that we have is that the debate is more about positioning and more people get scared. when they get scared, the politics get harder.
we need to talk the american people. i think the present will do that tonight and give them a sense of reassurance. and we need to change it in a way they feel safe and secure. they will ultimately make it more affordable. if we can control the cost, and the businesses that are paying for it and have the assurance that it is worth supporting this bill more fully. to was that is a big priority, that we establish the momentum and safe place. given what the media is looking for is some evidence that there is a coming together on this public plan question. i do not want to beat a dead horse. i am interested in hearing from
you all. is there language in the back or front of your mind that you are hearing that you see the two sides coming together on? at the end of the day, we think competition is good. there is a balance between competition and regulation. we need to see specific proposals. intel could get behind the public plan if it is a level playing field and is competitive. there are ways of public plans can be set up. it is the language that most of us do not understand. what is the difference to turn a public plan in universal coverage? there is slipperiness about this language that breeds fear.
>> i think that the principle here is whether there is likely to be a market failure. a number of us want a market oriented incentives based set of structural reforms. we have just been through another sector of our economy. people never thought there would be market failure. we are very much in favor of a market oriented solution. we also have to think about what happens in three or five years and there is a market failure. we do not have a few in the position. the devil is in the details. the principle is whether there is a market failure. markets do not always have perfect information or the structures are messed up. >> we know you for a public
auction. no doubt about that. what about some middle ground. >> engine that think they are looking for people to come together. -- i do not think the media are looking for people to come together. there is actually a lot of agreement here. there are democrats and republicans and business and labor -- but we are all americans. when it comes to the public plan, it is what you want and whether someone says it is achievable. if someone wants to empower it this group to reach an agreement, i think we could. the truth is, we have to vote. the discussion has been wonderful. it has been heated and passionate. there are 435 people and we have
to make a choice about the future of the country. >> [unintelligible] >> you do? [unintelligible] what you do when you do not everything you want? >> i think we think there is support for it. the devil is in the details. there have been a lot of gray points made. there has been so much fear generated, especially over the last 30 to 45 days the public option has become a lightning rod. i am hoping that when congress is to gather that there can start to be a good debate around some details and hopefully that effort will start tonight with the president's speech in get it back on track.
hopefully, we think it down to the serious business. i think this is something we can do. it is something that we must do. >> what do you believe the president needs to say tonight? what does he need to accomplish tonight in order to advance the cause of health care reform? >> there is both an educational and substance component. restore momentum and a safe ground. to educate people that the current system is not sustainable increase context in which people on capitol hill -- their knees to be less positioning. -- there need to the best position.
they make the clear political case that the year is not an option. the years but for the democrats. it left a legacy. -- a failure was not good for the democrats. it left a legacy. it is less about what t the dets and more about the momentum and sense of purpose. >> i agree with what leslie said. yesterday he played at decatur. he went into the schools. the creek controversy. -- that created controversy. i think he has to act. i'm want to put this on the table. this is my own view. i served in the first bush administration. [unintelligible]
they sequestered themselves for a amount of time. they have received a lot of criticism. they have given a lot of good speeches. the american people want to see action. if the president get out and get in with the republicans and democrats and the ranking leaders and actually starts making something happen, then three weeks after the air force base, it can go out and sell what they have. >> is that a realistic idea? >> i think that is exactly right. we need a speech. >> i think he needs to redefine what his vision is. what is this all about?
22 straight out what it is we need to do. he needs to talk to the congress. we need to show clearly how we are going to get there and do this. he needs greater specificity which i'm great require sure he is prepared to provide. -- he meets greater specificity, which i am sure he is prepared to provide. this is not dysfunctional government at its worst, but we can rise to the occasion and address when the biggest domestic town is facing our country right now. failure is not an option. at the end of the day, it has to be the beginning to the action. without it, it is more rhetoric. that is not enough anymore. i agree completely with andy. this is about getting to the
votes. >> i think one thing he needs to do is shift the tone of the debate. we are positioning health reform as an obstacle to reform. -- to overcome. no one has had the conversation that said healthcare will stimulate the economy -- [unintelligible] the president has not had that conversation nor has congress. we are still in the mentality of what we need to take away. no one has really shifted and lifted the other side of that coin. but we faulting the administration? >> it is not so much a fault as a missed opportunity. this is like the internet for
health and wellness of the future. europe is investing to own that agenda. >> we have let this debate get focused on trying to minimize what each individual is going to lose. it is a loss of the symbols. we have no aspirational go. we should be talking about the fact that as a country is unacceptable to have 40 million uncovered. it is not american. we have lost our ability to compete in the world. that is not right. we have not said what is everybody going to gain from this? what do we become? how do we become a better country? how do we become more competitive? how do individuals of benefit from this proposal? it is time for a current speech on health care.
-- a grown up speech on health care. it is time to talk about what is at stake, the opportunities that we will lose if we do not take this chance. >> everyone here at this table agrees with that, but there are interest groups disagreed that everybody deserves health care. there is a significant view held by americans that the government does not have a responsibility to look after -- or we as a people to not have a responsibility. >> we can argue again. there is room for debate on how you go by providing that care. the bottom line is that as a society, we are paying for that choice right now. those who shop at the emergency room receive care. -- who show up on covered at the emergency room receive care.
we predict it is time -- we have the worst health care system in the industrialized world. we pay more than everybody else. we get less of an outcome. whether we think we should bear the cost of health care for every individual, we are paying for the outcome of the decision for every individual now. there is no difference. we should do it in a way that makes us more competitive. we have chosen to do it in a way that is least compassionate. it is not sustainable. >> i would take issue with whether it is surely they do not believe that people should not have health coverage. i think that they are confused because of the activity of many who oppose health reform about what it takes to get us there.
the biggest challenge to taking that as operational view is scaring people. i think what you are hearing is a very strong argument that is the status quo of the we cannot afford to keep. the fear is really undermining our capacity to give all americans what they need, which is affordable quality care. we have got to get the system of affordable for everybody. >> those voices you are describing are not going to go away just because the president speaks tonight. how does anything change after today?
>> what is wonderful about our country is that we have choices. we have elections. we elect people. we do not expect everyone to agree. there is no censorship. we have reached a consensus in america by my definition now everyone has been hurt. now we boat. we make choices. that is what leadership is about. we owe it to america to go up to the hill and debate as long as they want and take the boat. either we will decide as a country to be on one side or the other. >> that in part to the issue is we need to have a grown up in discussion. some of the discussion so far have enabled people to think you
have changed but it will not touch me. when you are talking about fundamental structural reform, there are going to be winners and losers. you cannot do it any other way. the have every right to be heard. it is now time to decide. a jet think we can have incremental reform. -- i do not think we can have incremental reform. our competitiveness will not allow it. i think it is all driving is toward change. there will be winners and losers. it has to be discussed openly and accurately. >> why do anything you believe we are looking that we will pick up more than one or two
republican votes? >> my colleagues have had the experience that most of us have had. they had traveled the country. they all know in their hearts that the status quo is unacceptable. they know that we cannot sustain the current path we are on. they know from a quality pointed you. they know these problems are very. . we may differ on how we get there. there seems to be almost unanimous agreement at the 50,000 foot level. at the 5000 level there is all kind of disagreement. we have a problem. what we have to do is bring everybody the realization that no one is when to get everything they want. no one is going to get their bill passed. this is going to be an amalgam
of ideas and good compromise and give-and-take. at the end of the day, but except the fact of the worst possible outcome would be to set something we know is unacceptable. >> i think the other mark of leadership is the people find a compromise. sometimes that is tougher than taking the vote. i think one can have some optimism. as a choice becomes more critical, there will be members to stand up and say they would rather before progress the partisanship on either side of the aisle. we have seen that happen in this town before. i think you have to go with the sense of optimism. i think people will choose to do
that. >> i am thinking back to what he said about how you and senator dole were able to come to agreement in absence of politics. i also recall that it was not easy for you to compromise. there are real differences of views. you gave some. and he did come to agreement. it is possible to come to agreement. the question that you are racing -- that you are raising, is that we cannot afford the status quo. >> one of the things i read this morning that the president may have some new language on. and that is not practice.
let's talk for a minute about whether any movement on the part of the administration on that issue would make a difference. >> i think that is another issue that will have huge controversy. i have started blogging. i've tried to do research before i open my mouth. i can find a reputable studies from rebel organizations the same malpractice is a huge issue. i define reputable studies from rebel organizations the say it is a smokescreen. i do not know what to believe. i'm a social scientist by training. i will tell you that the fear of malpractice, whether it is legitimate or not, is driving physicians to behave as badly ended differently. if they are worried about it. whether or not the actual laws
need to be changed, i honestly do not know. the issue has to be addressed. it is hovering in the cultural atmosphere. until we dissipate, it will be hard to move forward. >> here is the advantage of putting another chip on the table. wish to be open to mandates and public plans. to say we are not want to be open to discussion does not work. if everything is on the table, malpractice has to be a chip that is on the table. interns a cost in fact, it is not want to be the biggest thing -- in terms of cost impact, it is not going to be the biggest thing. i've also seen studies that my wife is a nurse who argues that it alters behavior. i do not know that it is a game
changer in of itself. i would argue that if we are going to go into this in a spirit of making a solution happen, all the chips should be on the table so that we can get to irrational set of trade offs to get a good solution. >> we have to be careful here. there is a difference between policy and politics. people reach out to try to make compromises, expecting the reciprocity would be to vote for my bill. all they got were the compromises. if this is a discussion of what is, i hope changes in malpractice would bring people who not otherwise vote for the bill. max baucus sixth should get sainthood remission for try to find consensus. -- recognition for trying to find consensus.
roberta walker loses her healthcare find all the next week she has cancer. we can have lots of policy debate. i do not say we should vote in ram something down people's throats, but this is about building a bipartisan consensus, fine. [unintelligible] i am not for that anymore. >> we should find some bipartisan issues. i think malpractice has ability to erupt. when i read the report, there was a huge focus on crime -- of cryogenic disease. -- of chronic disease. we should be declaring war on obesity. we to look at how we change our care model to take care of that. we should look at how to drive ended in the care at home for seniors.
that kind of thing we can agree on. we are not going to move the debate forward. >> i think i want to go to the audience for questions. some of you talked to the proposal. why do not we go ahead and go to the audience and see what you are interested in. i am a stanley have individuals with microphones. i cannot see because of the lights. who would like to put our panelists on the spot ind? . .
make sure that there is not just one but a couple, where they dominate. you put a public plan, accountable, as senator daschle says, into the mix, and the great thing is that you then really do have competition that can change the whole marketplace. >> does anyone on the panel went to take issue with that? >> it has to set a faster pace for innovation, and it cannot set reimbursement rates at a
less than cost situation, with as it passed on to private employers. >> we sort of disagree with them, and we work with them across the country, and in most states, we a very aggressive insurance commissioners. we have panels that represent them. you see these horrible cases. i would have to say, they hired me to the ups to the insurance companies, -- they hired me to sue the insurance companies. yes, there are cases where they stepped out of line, but they have been rather severely beaten up to and have had to pay rather large settlements for their inactions -- have been up and have had to pay rather large settlements. i do not look to the government as being any more responsive.
>> if we have a true level playing field, ultimately, it will be the american consumer who will have the opportunity to move from one to the other if they are dissatisfied. i guess i will draw a distinction. there are those cases where the insurance companies have either acted is not illegally, and ethically, and this is perfectly legal. just the whole notion of eligibility and pre-existing conditions and of all of the issues involving eligibility for coverage, those issues are totally legal, and they may not
warrant a lawsuit, but, still, in many cases, they undermined a patient or person's ability to get what they need -- they undermine a patient's or person's ability to get what they need. >> i am wondering how you think that the reforms that we see in the bills in congress right now are going to deal with the problems. we have a lot of states, and under a certain number. those same states have a 7% or more, the concentration, and then we have provided monopolies
in those areas -- those same states have 7% or more, the concentration. >> -- 70% or more. >> small business as a tremendous amount to engage, for insurers, both public and private. even with the rules, they have got a tremendous amount to gain. as you know, and in a painfully from your membership, that small businesses are paying far more in overhead essentially to insurers to cover marketing costs, advertising costs, then large employers, and what is likely to be accomplished -- than large employers, and the congressional budget office documents this. it brings the operating costs the way down, so youu are giving the small employers the same opportunities that they have.
we may disagree on how, but that, the exchange, the rules, the public plan could hold the whole marketplace accountable, so there is a tremendous amount to gain, and you know the small employers, even owners, they are unable to get coverage for themselves as well as for their workers. the exchange, the subsidies, the special tax benefits for small business are a tremendous boost. they are big winners from the health-reform proposals we see moving through the congress. >> does that apply to across state boundaries? the state exchanges. we supported regional exchanges and trading up some of the limitations on the selling of insurance. >> charlie, i am not sure if it is regional or state based, but the rules under which insurers operate, that enables the reduction in the marketing
costs. the advocacy -- i know yours is different, but being able to buy across state lines, that has, unfortunately, been primarily about avoiding regulation and undermining the spreading of risk, so i think that is what we have to avoid. >> does that answer your question? is that what you were getting at? >> wyoming, over 500,000 people in a couple of countries -- counties. you create an exchange in wyoming. what have you really changed?
>> i would say you need another competitor in that exchange. that is what you're looking for. well, you do. and that is the goal of the public option. i am from a small state of south dakota, and it may be too small to create an exchange in a state with a few hundred thousand people, like wyoming or south dakota, so it may be that regional exchanges make more sense, so we increase the lagrange -- leveraged. we have an infrastructure shortage.
we were trying to encourage greater utilization of providers and greater numbers of providers. we have a chronic nursing shortage, and we have got to address those shortages in rural areas in particular. i was hoping we could invigorate the national nursing corps. in many of those cases, people stay. these have to be addressed. >> we cannot again even with our morell initiatives focus on insurance reform. we have to be thinking about other reform -- with our rural initiatives. we cannot continue to send a veteran who is trying to go for a routine pacemaker.
they could cross the border and kidcare 20 miles away. we have got to start looking at least in special cases -- they could cross the borders and get care 20 miles away. this is something we have to look at, and i do not hear people talking very much about this. >> did you have something? >> when you look at some of the problems that massachusetts had, so clearly we have to deal with the supply and now we were disturbing. it is also going to take in smaller states to get your a real competitive situation.
tell us you are, please. >> i am mark. for the employers, could you back this bill given that there is more employer mandate? they go to an insurance exchange, and for labor, could they back this bill even though it does not include a public option. 60 votes in the senate. >> it is too early to be for or
against a total bill. >> and more appropriate way to have shared responsibility. -- a more appropriate way. the max baucus proposals that we have seen, are plans based on actuarial value would base the threshold, so we are not there. there are reasons to look at and, of the people you are looking to hire. it creates disincentives. disincentives for low-income households. the employer mandate is a fairer way to go about as an issue. in providing shared responsibility.
>> i know matt miller is in the audience. he has written a great book. one of the chapter is suggest that this is away from the employer base system. it goes how much to what you want to do with the employer a role here, but we have got the flawed structural system that grew up by accident after world war ii. it is completely anonymous. in fact, it is anticompetitive in today's modern economy is people are locked into a mobile in the. it frustrates job mobility. they agreed with an effort.
i think the other bill is less structured around the employers system. the president called for bold reform, and if you are going to have bold reform, it means changing the structure and changing the incentives that of the players have. >> are you saying that would be enough? we have not gotten into that today, and if we are going to put everything on the table, i think that those types of issues need to be addressed, as well. >> we represent the workers at two of the most familiar co-ops
that are discussed in minnesota and washington state. they are not in infrastructure or free-market you're going to build a statewide system from. going from new hampshire town meetings to governing new york. and there is in essence and nature to michelob that makes it work in a certain dimension, -- there is an essen and nature to a co-op that makes it work in a certain dimension -- and essence and a nature. it is not going to work. how are we going to find something that does allow people in wyoming or made to not have excess of costs because there is a lack of competition. i have to believe that the public option is the way that you do that. >> senator max baucus and try to get a bipartisan solution, that is the bill we would be leased in favor of of of of the options that are out there. on the funding side, we would
not be able to support that option at all. we have a huge concern about the excise tax that will be put on health care plans -- we would be leased in favor of the public option. what is a cadillac plan? who decides that? there is just too many things, and it does not include the employer mandate that we think are the best way to go, so huge concerns. >> these have become terms like the public option that means whatever the listener wants it to mean, both on the positive and negative sides, but if you come back to the underlying principle, everybody should have to participate in the health- care sides -- system, be it on the employer or the employee side. what you cannot have is the way
to be competitive is to not provide health care. that is wrong. you also cannot have employees choosing to say i am not going to access health care because i know ultimately i could throw myself upon the public system in order to receive care. that is immoral and irresponsible also, so on the mandate side, i have got a wide range of options i am willing to consider. not willing to get into, but everybody has to participate, and we have to go back to comments wade -- made way in the beginning. there are companies that would find it difficult to participate because the administrative costs of running, of having your own health-care, you know, provider is a real pain. it will make other methods possible, but underneath it all, everybody has to participate. kelly has said that all the way from the beginning. >> and we keep forgetting about that, but i think that is what
is different this time. you are seeing a lot of different sectors as saying that this happens now, and they want to stay at the table until we work it out. >> everywhere except in the congress. >> did that address your question. thank you. who else? is the other hand tentatively going up out there. the gentleman in the jacket. yes? >> providing people with high- quality health care, and yet, one of the provisions to address quality compared and effectiveness research has engendered a lot of controversy, and people are starting to see it sorted the back door to rationing and so forth, so i wanted to get anyone on the panel to give their opinion on that issue.
>> i would say three things. first of all, this is again one of those hyperbolic missed making practices that grew about that i think is very unfortunate -- hyperbolic myth-making practices. if you look at the best institutions, what do they do? what does mayo clinic do? every single one of them adhere to some form of evidence-based approaches to good medicine, every single one. you cannot find an institution of higher quality that does not say, well, you know, we have got to figure out what works, and then ask everybody else to do what works, so it is just logic to the next step when it comes to health-care delivery. it is kind of like the consumer reports on good medicine. how could you be against consumer reports on good medicine? that is what we are talking about, and yet, this as got way out of whack and deck boards and
all of this craziness, and that is in part what i think the president is going to try to do tonight -- and death boards and all of this craziness. how do you encourage everyone to recognize the importance of good evidence-based practices? and does that mean there is a cookie cutter approach? no. there is not. ultimately, they are going to be dr. that is going to make the regard to how one is covered in a certain set of circumstances, but something as basic as checklists, i mean, you'd be amazed at how many accidents and how many problems we could avoid it doctors just used checklists as they went into medical procedures, so it is to me and essentially, is essential part of good quality, and i just hope that common heads will recognize that -- is to me and essential,
essential part of good quality -- is jimy -- to me an essential, essential part. >> i have a health care technology company, and when i think about the employer sponsored plans that are out there today, if you look at the population, i think it has covered 160 million americans. why is not more time spent on capitol hill focusing on that particular segment, whereby when you think about it, health-care expense reduction is not that difficult to achieve. part of the problem is that the companies that are providing the services right now, the carriers, and other entities, the brokers, the consultants, they do not want to do this because they want to project revenue streams. why is there not more legislation for creating more information, more transparency in a real-time manner where
technology can be used in a manner in which everybody that has health care in the same manner that they use their banking on-line, they buy things on ebay, and they use kubel, they can make better decisions real-time information? why is more time not spent actually insisting that that information be provided to the business community in the way that they are using intel? acl says he never got to get involved, and do not had this decision off -- a ceo says we have got to get involved. >> lack of transparency where? vendors being home? >> it could be brokers and consultants. all of those that make a great deal. they go up the next year.
meanwhile, the carrier got an 18% raise. the broker bought an 18% raise, and what they did is they got that 18% raise knocked down to 15%. meanwhile, nobody got to the root of the problem. how to fix it, how to educated, and how to engage. >> -- how to educate, and how to engage. >> part of the problem that you have identified goes back. part of what you've described is the logical result of foul employer-sponsored benefits are now treated by the tax code. individuals, when they make decisions, are really insulated from information.
i know it is a very controversial issue. would that be part of your concern? because at least some economists have said that is one of the reasons why we do not have more transparency, because consumers are making decisions in ways that are very different than when they buy a car or go shopping at wal-mart or anywhere else. >> the tax code could be adjusted, as you bring up. however, the data and information i brought up is not so much to get information on joe smith and others. it is specific to your population on an aggregate basis. it is not everybody driving the cost. it is just 18% to 22%.
there is no violation of hipaa. then, you can get to the root of the problem and lower health- care costs today, but it does not exist. >> several things. first off, i would not paint all the providers and insurance companies with an all encompassing brush, and, in fact, i hold wal-mart up, as you did, as one of the incredible folks. they really have an active dodi's -- voice. it is not up or down, but i do think it is nearly impossible for an individual to access to the information they need. i view that as part of an outcome that was achieved, embedded, in some of the packages. getting information.
we had also been in agreement -- charlie, you're beginning to talk about more accountability and more responsibility for their health care outcomes. by no means exclusive, but they need to be an active party, and part of that means having access to information. >> which, in many cases, is not available. very brief, because i want to let -- >> i agree with you and that organizations -- in that organizations like wal-mart are doing that, but what about companies with 50 employees? yes, they get the data after the plan has begun, and they cannot make those decisions because those risks and costs have already hit. a business manages every other aspect of the corporation down to the penny, but they do not do that with health care. >> i do think that when we have talked about that there really needs to be total health care
reform, it needs to be a system, or as a andy said earlier, we need to turn it from health care -- from sick care to health care. aside from transparency on the physician's aside and the rest of the medical community, there has to be transparency provided. i know from bargaining contracts for many years now, and health care has certainly been a big issue, one of the latest buzz words over the last few years has been consumer-driven health care, and my take on that is that is a fallacy in this country in this day and age. there is not the information provided to the individual to make those kinds of informed decisions, so i do think that is an important part, that people do need to have that information. there needs to be more transparency in the system. i think people are willing to be responsible consumers, but they have to be able to have the information provided. there is no way you can go out
to see how your doctors are rated like you can see how a restaurant or hotel is rated. >> how much of that is part of the president's goal here? >> it has to be a big part. it is really an integral part. it is essential that as we begin to make better choices, we have better information, and that is really what we are talking about here, how we can create better information so that informed judgments can dictate our decisions going forward. that is true for the consumer side, as well as for the provider side. >> and this is what the president needs to be adding to it. i am thinking about his speech to the students. if we do not get off of this shortage for culture, which is an odd you can eat health care culture, we are not going to be able to have this for everybody -- which is an all you can eat health-care culture. we each have a personal
responsibility towards health and wellness. but we had learned that behaviors. >> a lot of change from the americans, hard to accept -- >> we have learned bad behaviors. >> i think that the delivery reforms side of this, which all of us are committed to, getting better value for the dollar, that is an equally critical part of the picture along with individual responsibility. the investment in information technology will be successful if it is gathering the kinds of data you're talking about and making it available to everyone in the system, whether it is individual consumers or to doctors and patients or to businesses who are managing house plants, so there is more attention to that ban, i believe, -- who are managing house plans. what we need to do to get value
for the dollar, there is a tremendous agreement and had to get from here to there, which i think has been unreported. there has been a tremendous agreement in using initiatives in the medicare program, which has been a successful leader of change in payment and delivery in the past. it needs to be more aggressive than it has been, do opt for doctors and hospitals and new opportunities to essentially be successful and today resources -- -- four doctors and hospitals, offering new opportunities to essentially be successful with these resources. i think everyone here would agree with this, between the public-private sector, there is tremendous potential to gain the efficiencies that we all know, including the health-care industry are not only essential but absolutely possible.
if we reform our system. >> we have spent a lot of time trying to understand our health care bill and health care plans, and we have a pretty good track record over two generations of trying to drive transparency. there is a lot of expertise about that. there is a huge amount of frustration. at least, our sense, sitting there trying to do this on a regular basis, you cannot do that as an individual player. all of the things that people have talked about, but have you -- until you have that, there really is not even an opportunity. we are the nation's largest employer. there is not a nuclear supplier. there is such a complicated system with so many incentives that ultimately didn't believe that we are without the kind of structural reform that we're talking about, that no matter how smart are and no matter how much we focus on trying to make it more efficient, that a
purchaser has the ability to see through that and drive the changes, even with a lot of incentive to do that. >> it is a shared responsibility, as many of you have mentioned before, and when you have thought about it, when you are an employee, and you get a company credit card, you probably stay at the hyatt and the westin, and you eat a steak dinner. meanwhile, is it is your money, you may stay at the holiday inn and go to mcdonald's. -- is it is your money -- if it is. the 160 million or so americans, they have to have the data to do it first. >> anyone in the audience? we only have got a few minutes left. i just wanted to make sure -- ok. we only have a few minutes left. we will try to get to both of you. director question to one of our
panelists. i am sorry i did not recognize you. hello. >> what is the potential role of antitrust enforcement and try to control costs, because we do not hear a lot about it in the debate. at least as i understand it, the local market power of and it's easy to change or marcum groups are one of the biggest drivers, -- the look market -- the local market power of anesthesiologists and other groups are one of the biggest drivers. >> i think that you're absolutely right in that we have seen over many years a justice department and federal trade commission that has been asleep at the switch in terms of monitoring the kinds of concentration that is developing and pursuing more anticompetitive strategies -- excuse me, more pro competitive strategies, and i think we are seeing, we are seeing some changes in what is coming at a
particularly the sec in terms of a much more competitive agenda, some changes and what is coming out, particularly the sec, in terms of a much more competitive agenda -- i think what we are seeing, we are seeing some changes in what is coming out, particularly from the sec, in terms of much more competitive things. >> we need to do this in a way that does not ignite more antitrust action, because i think there is some importance here in greater transparency, in greater information sharing, in greater practice that may ultimately trigger some of these issues, so we're going to have to find the right balance between concern for antitrust and the concern with the importance of shering-plough practices across the board. >> and one other question. digestive -- did you still have a question, sir?
>> national journal. a lot of this is being put on the insurers in the bill, but a lot of these costs are built into large hospital change, -- chains, especially in local markets. pushing down costs, and hospitals especially. if there is more competition in insurance, it may mean that there -- >> who wants to weigh in? >> just a quick start on that. i think that one of the biggest things we can do is avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. there is tremendous agreement that we hospitalize too often, that we are not giving enough care of fraud, that we have a real problem with readmission to hospitals because the care is not given -- that we are not giving enough care up front. i think we are looking at is pagan and delivery forms in
which a primary goal is to get better, more efficient use of the hospital. >> -- i think what we are looking at is a payment and delivery forms -- reform. >> we have to bring down administrative costs. these are inexcusably high, and we have got to find ways with which to move the administration into the 20th -- move the administration into the 21st century. we can do this threat the system, changing our paradigm from illness to wellness. those things are all going to make a big difference, and they are critical to bringing costs for hospitals down. >> all right, a final question. we do need to wrap up. i just want to ask one of our panelists, how will we know in the decks -- next day or two or
three whether we are moving towards agreement on this big, big important question? what are the side that you're looking for? charles, we will start with you. -- what are the signs that you're looking for? quickly, how do you define "lead"? >> he has to define that to get there. senator dole in his op-ed line of generally criticizing the president for being a cheerleader -- senator dole in his op-ed was gently criticizing the president. >> september 15. you cannot solve all of the problems at once. senator daschle said wisely that we are not going to fix it now. they cannot solve everything. they have to focus, and that is part of leadership. >> i would say a narrowing down of the discussion, so we are coming much closer to a bill on
each side, reconciling still being needed. >> i think if we can see some of those members in both parties who are in the middle be able to take some political risk and stand up and be willing to be for something. that would be a sign we are having some movement. >> judy? >> i go with recognition from our elected officials along with the discussion in general that we have got to do this and that everybody needs to be on the side of getting it done or there is a real risk do not dewitt, political or otherwise. >> -- to not do it, political or otherwise. >> assuming that there is a listening to the public by our representatives on this issue, when the public changes the conversation to what is to be gained from disparate former -- what is to be gained from this reform, i think that helps.
>> senator daschle, you get the last word. >> all of these seven suggestions were exactly on target, and i have to add that we have to have a schedule. we have to get this done, and the only way to get it done is to say, ok. we have to have a vote on the committee and some votes on the floor. let's do it in the next couple of weeks, but let's move it forward. the house and senate both have to put a schedule down for consideration of this legislation, certainly before the end of october. >> i think we need to send a transcript of this discussion to all 535 members of congress. thank you all. what a terrific panel you have been, and thank you to the audience. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> you are watching public affairs programming on c-span. up next, republican members of congress hold a rally on capitol hill and talk about their opposition to a public option and health care. after that, an oversight hearing on afghanistan. and later, the supreme court hears a case involving campaign finance law. on tomorrow morning "washington journal," we will talk to members of the house and senate about held dexter legislation and the president's speech. we are joined by a pennsylvania representative, senator tom coburn, and a politician from virginia. also, texas and california. and then, a supreme court reporter, david savidge. a campaign finance issue
involving hillary clinton. washington journal begins each morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> 1.7 million new immigrants each year are followers of islam. from the weekly standard senior editor on c-span's "q&a." >> now, republican members of congress are presented with a health-care petition opposing the public auction sponsored by the national center for policy analysis and a salem radio network. this event is about 40 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. i am chairman of the national center for policy analysis, and on behalf of 1.3 million americans who signed the petition, i am very proud to be
a part of delivering to the congress of the united states the petition, the largest policy petition ever delivered to the congress, we believe. through ovthe,is, there has been the education of the public. you see here the 15 boxes that have the 1.3 million signed petitions in them. they are the voices of the well- informed and very patriotic americans. they are a diverse group of people. some are part of the network of former obama supporters who now oppose the president's approach to health care. others are part of various disease networks, including patient of cancer. -- patients of cancer.
an enormous number of americans are concerned about their health care. whatever their principal concern, the signers of the petition share a common belief that congress should not increase the role of government in their health-care decisions. now, these americans do want health-care reform, but as the petition they signed states, they want reform that has four elements. they want the right to choose any doctor and any health insurance plan. they want access to treatment without delay or even more important, without denial. fairness, the same tax breaks that people get in business should come to people who want health care. and finally, responsibility, control over our own health-care decisions, talking to our doctors, talking to our families, and making the decisions that are the best for each of us.
these elements are not radical, nor are the people who support them. on the 61,000 pages contains in these wonderful boxes are the names of individuals who members of congress should not forget as they prepared to vote on legislation on the nation's health-care reform. -- as they prepare to vote. doris in ohio is a senior citizen worried about her future, and she told us when she signed hers. she told us that she was 81 with crippling arthritis and having had heart surgery, but she was not on your death bed yet. she collected signatures for the petitions, many former friends, and she said that given her medical history, should be sentenced to death by the health plan. nancy from new jersey is a cancer survivor worried about her care. nancy from north arlington, new jersey, is a cancer survivor worried about her care. at 60 she's actively employed,
but as she wrote, and again i quote, i'm absolutely terrified that if my cancer comes back, i will not get treatment under a government-run health care plan. lorain from texas was born in canada, lived there 40 years and she is now a proud american citizen. she worries, though, about the quality of care of a government-run health care system. what it's going to provide, if it's going to provide enough. as she said and again i quote, i love this country and pray that socialized medicine never comes to this place. i have seen how destructive it can be. well, as a former canada resident, she certainly did see that problem. unfortunately in their attempts to participate in the domestic democratic process, americans like doris and nancy and lorain have been maligned by politicians and they've been criticized by the press. they've been described as angry
protestors, town hall mobs, no less than the leader of the house of representatives has called them un-american. they are not un-american. and they will not be stopped. because they are interested in getting a better system and keeping it under our own control. so today is their day. today is the day that the congress is going to hear their voice. a voice from 1.3 million americans that say free our health care now. now i'm pleased to introduce mike gallagher of the salem radio network. mike has been with us since the very beginning back in late may. seems a long time ago. but because of mike, the free our health care now petition reached its first goal of 50,000 signatures. we thought we had done very well and maybe it wasn't going to get better, but of course, we've come a long way. since surpassing that goal, mike in the mike gallagher show have
communicated relentlessly educating thousands of americans and encouraging them to voice their concerns about health care, health care. without mike, the free our health care now petition would not be what it is today. and i'm pleased to have him make some remarks. mike? >> thank you, governor. appreciate it. thank you. this is a terrific day for american voices because talk radio has played a big role in fighting back. and we decided as the summer began that this could be the summer of the american voice and the summer when millions of americans would be heard and to collect 1.3 million plus signatures over a couple of months time is a pretty extraordinary achievement to get people to sign a petition that says no to the way democrats had envisioned their version of health care reform. and so we fought hard and we collected lots of signatures and interviewed a lot of people and through my radio show's partnership with the national center for policy analysis, the ncpa, this is the result of that
effort where, again, the summer of tea parties and opposition and american voices and spirit was heard. and tonight, despite what the president may or may not say, the american people have been represented by this amazing health care petition, the largest public policy petition ever presented to the congress in the history of the united states. and we're very proud of that. we're very proud of what we accomplished. this is going to continue. it doesn't end now because americans don't want socialized medicine, don't want a government takeover of their health care. they don't want a government bureaucracy that tells them when they may or may not get treated and that's what our free our health care now.com has been all about. what you see before you on this stage is an example of elected representatives who heard us, a group of radio talk show hosts who also joined our effort to free our health care now, and for all of us who have been demonized by the left, who don't like talk radio and don't like radio hosts and don't like particular television networks.
one that comes to mind, we are very proud to be a part of the effort to say we stand tall for the american public. we deliver a message to washington that says no, give us back our health care. give us our choices, and give us health care the way we want it. we're proud to be here today, god bless you for your support, and god bless america. thank you very much. >> mike, thank you very much for those comments. thanks for all of the things you say on the air. and thank you for getting us to the first 50,000 so easily. it just led us along a wonderful path that has been very helpful to us and very good for the country. i'm now going to briefly introduce eight people who are going eight members of the senate and members of the house that are going to speak to us briefly about what they see happening in the congress and what they think of our whole free health care now plan. the first will be house
republican leader john boehner, then house republican whip eric cantor, kay bailey hutchinson from texas. and she gets a special award because texas had 165,000 people sign the petition. and that's the biggest group that there is. representative mike pence, chairman of the house republican congress, senator jim demint from south carolina, tom price from georgia, pete sessions from texas, and john shady from arizona. there he is right there. the newest arrival. they will make some comments to you in order. so, john, you're first. >> well, pete, thank you. let me say thank you to the national center for policy analysis. let me also say thanks to salem broadcasting and the radio talk show host who encouraged 1.3 million americans to sign a
petition to save their health care. on behalf of my colleagues we'll accept these petitions from the american people. and on august, the american people spoke loudly and clearly. they didn't want government messing with their health care. this was just another example of the voices that are being heard. i was in a tea party on saturday with 18,000 people about a mile from my home in west chester, ohio. and they made it very clear that they don't want the government involved in delivery of their health care. what they want is they want us to take the current system, which is the best system in the world, and they want us to work to make it better. and on behalf of all of us, i just want to say to the 1.3 million people who sign these petitions, we will not let you down. let me introduce the house
republican whip eric cantor. >> thank you, good afternoon, leader, governor. i too want to join here and congratulate ncpa on what is the largest petition drive ever to have your voice as the american citizens be heard here on capitol hill. i'm told that we are at over 1,307,000 individuals and counting. that's extraordinary, that's democracy at work. and that will allow us to stand up and propose that we give the american people some guarantees. that we will bring along our colleagues and the majority of our colleagues in the house of representatives to insist that we will not see a government option, that we will not see a
government trigger, that we will not see a government replacement of the health care system in this country. >> the petition drive free our health care now also has been successful because it has offered some positive solutions and visions for the way forward. and what we are anxious to do tonight is to listen to this president and hope that he will begin to focus on areas of agreement. this campaign and this petition has demonstrated there are certainly areas of agreement in this country where we can begin to make the health care better for all americans. but we must make sure the priority is not just on getting it done, that we get it right. congratulations and it is now my distinct honor to present to you
the gentle lady from texas, the united states senator kay bailey hutchinson. >> well, i'd like to ask the governor to come back. because i had a great meeting with some of the texas tea party members and they gave me a t-shirt that says a lot about how people feel about this. national health care, a lethal injection. so this needs to go in the archives of the ncpa. thank you very much. i want to thank the ncpa because they have shown another level of the grass roots movement that is bubbling up in this country saying we don't want our health care hijacked. 85% of the people in this country like their health care. so why don't we try to fix the 15% that isn't right and not ruin the 85% who really like what they have.
that should be the goal of health care reform, and we can do it if we work together. some people have said this isn't a grass roots movement. this is the most legitimate grass roots movement i have seen in my entire time in public service. people are coming to meetings who maybe had gotten complacent, who maybe thought everything was going to be okay in our country and then they started seeing that our health care, the most personal of all things to us is going to be ruined by a government takeover. and people understand it. and let me say this, we have alternatives. we can reform for the 15% who don't have or don't like their health care. we can do it with bills like senator demint's that i'm co-sponsoring that will allow every person to have a tax credit, a voucher to give to a
family or a person to buy their own health care and they can take it with them for their lives so they will know what they have. they will be able to bond with their doctor, get the care they need and be able to be on a level playing field with everyone else who has health care. and it also has medical malpractice reform, which we must do if we're going to bring down the cost of health care. so let's band together, keep this grass roots movement going and let's take or health care system back and fix what's wrong and keep the part that's good for everyone else in america intact. that would be the bipartisan solution. thank you very much. >> and my good friend, one of the great house leaders of the policy committee, congressman mike pence. >> thank you, senator. thank you governor du pont and
the leadership of the ncpa and to all of the distinguished voices both in the congress and in the public debate. i am honored to be a small part of the delegation that is receiving this extraordinary demonstration of the voice of the american people. this historic petition marks a bookend on a period in our national history this august when the american people have made their voices heard as never before. when i was home in indiana town hall meetings, my constituents made it clear. they want to see this congress take action that will lower the cost of health insurance and lower the cost of health care in the long-term. but as these over 1 million petitions attest, the american people don't want a government takeover of health care at a price tag of $800 billi