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tv   Studio B With Shepard Smith  FOX News  February 25, 2010 3:00pm-4:00pm EST

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seniors who aren't in medicare advantage. they are paying an extra premium of $90 a year to subsidize the 20% in medicare advantage. somebody else wants to address it? >> i just make one comment. why in the world would we carve800,000 people in florida who would not have their medicare advantage cut? i proposed an amendment on the floor to say everybody would be treated the same. why should we ca carve out 800,0 people. >> i think you make a legitimate point. thank you very much.
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i'm going to xavier becerra. i asked a question, so i'm going to let one of the republicans respond. for the american public to hear. we have medicare part d except no senior ever paid a tax dollar for it and we're talking about filling the doughnut hole on a program they're benefiting from. we're going to leave $11 trillion for our children. i'm not sure the seniors want tows leave more debt for the children. >> medicare part c, we never call it part c but what's that it is. they don't have to buy a supplemental policy so they get lots of the benefits other people with better buying power with a supplemental policy.
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so it's a tradeoff of whether or not we say where are we giving the benefits? we should say we're broke, medicare's broke, we're struggling to. let's not add new benefits anywhere and make sure the benefits we have today get applied more equitablely. >> that's a legitimate point but 80% of seniors are helping to pay in extra premiums for 20% who are in this medicare advantage. and it's not means tested so it's not as if people on medicare advantage are somehow the poor people who can't afford supplementals. i want to point this out, $180 billion is going to insurance companies, it's not going to seniors. it's going to insurance companies, including big insurance company profits. without any appreciable improvement in benefits. that's not a good way for us to
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spend money. i agree with you about the fact that the prescription drug plan added to the deaf deficit because we didn't pay for t it didn't happen under my watch. it happened under previous congress. john is an example of somebody true to his convictions and didn't vote for it but the fact much the matter is it was costly. on the other hand, that -- the problem i don't think is that we gave seniors prescription drug benefits. i think the problem is we didn't pay for it and we should try to find a way to pavement taking money out of medicare advantage and putting it in the don't hole pays for it. i breached protocol but i thought it was important to get clear, we're talking about medicare advantage in terms of where these cuts come from, not medicare benefits through the traditional medicare plan. xavier.
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>> thank you very much for bringing us to get. i want to address something my friend paul ryan said. i almost think we can't have the discussion further without addressing something paul said. he called into question the congressional budget office. now we could all agree to disagree, we could all have our politics, but if there's no referee on the field, we can never agree how the game should played. >> let me clarify. >> if i could just finish. so i think we have to decide, do we believe in the congressional budget office or not? you and i have sat on the bin budgets committee for years and make your point, refer to the congressional budget office projections to make your points and today you essentially said you can't trust the
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congressional budget office. >> that's not what i was saying. >> i apologize if i misinterpreted. >> paul, if i can finish. >> i question the reality of your score. >> i take your point. >> let me say it, ten years tax increases, ten years of medicare cuts to pay for -- >> if i could see just make my pointed. assuming you believe that the cbo is a legitimate agency to render decisions on spending for the congress? you. >> know i believe that. >> so let's work with that. the -- honestly if we can't work with cbo numbers, we're lost. we're lost. then we'll get into a food fight some of the i'm -- i apologize if i misinterpreted what i heard. i appreciate that we left the referee on the field. the referee is on the field and we have to accept what he said.
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the referee said the bills before us reduce the deficit, the federal government's deficit, by over $100 billion in the first ten years. the congressional budget office, the referee, not political parties, the referee, said that these bills reduce the deficit in the succeeded years after the first ten years by over a trillion dollars. the discussion makes it clear, it wasn't easy. there are going to be some savings out of medicare. what we do do it make the point as we reduce the deficit, we're not going to put the the onus, the burden on seniors, we're asking the providers to stop overutilizing or overspending in services so we don't see someone having four different x-rays for chest pain.
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and so what we're tying to do is figure out ways to deduce the cost without impacting benefits. in fact that's how in these two bills that the senate and house passed we were able to close the doughnut hole for prescription drugs for medicare and extract over $100 billion in savings. mr. president i would say the thing that i would love to get into the details of in terms of the deficit reductions made is the fact that we do it while putting the brakes on medicare overpayments that went to insurance companies which were getting reimbursed at greater levels than were doctors and hospitals that relied on traditional medicare fee for service to provide services to the seniors. we have any number of provisions that deal with the issue of fraud which [ audio trouble ] at least $60 billion and working with some republican colleagues
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we're doing exactly that, going after the waste in the system, the fraud, and that's how we extract the number in savings. perhaps one of the unsung secrets of what we learned from listening to doctors and hospitals and all the difficult providers is that we can do a far better job of coordinating care for people. and if you make sure that someone who walks in the door of any one of the great physicians who are in this room when they were practicing and made sure we followed them through, not just that first visit to the primary care or family doctor, but to the specialist and hospital and afterwards to the nursing home or home health center, that what you do, if you coordinate the care, instead of each provider do its share, if you coordinate the care, you can actually reduce costs dramatically and that's how we were able to reduce the cost for medicare and able to extract, according to
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the referee on the field, the congressional budget office, over $100 billion in deficit reduction and over a trillion dollars in deficit reduction in the second ten years. i believe we have a chance to discuss how to put the country back on a good fiscal track and still do right by our seniors and medicare and increase the amount of people who get covered by health insurance by 31 million. >> mr. president. >> to clarify something, if anybody says that medicare advantage is a subsidy going to insurance companies, let me say what the statute says, it says that 75 -- with a bid differential, where did goes, 75% goes to beneficiaries and benefits, and 25% to the federal government. >> i'm sorry, chuck, i want to make sure, i don't think -- that
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doesn't sound right. that means 100% is going to either benefits or the federal government which means the -- >> 75% to beneficiaries and benefits. and 25% to the federal government. we consider -- i consider cbo god around here because it takes 60 votes in the senate to overrule him so i'm not questioning a cbo. but in regard to what mr. ryan said, i want to back it up with a quote from december 23rd letter from cbo about this trouble accounting. the key point is that the savings to the health insurance trust fund under the bill would be received by the government only once. so they can not be set aside to pay for future medicare spending, and at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation.
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then skip a couple sentences. say to describe the full amount of the hi trust fund savings as both, with emphasis on both, improving the government's ability to pay future medicare benefits, and financing new spending outside of medicare would be essential, double count, a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement and the government's fiscal position. you can argue about the exact amount of savings or whether there isn't any savings but you can't argue you can't count a dollar twice. you just can't argue that. common sense tells you that. you don't even have to have an accountant tell you that. now, i think what we want to remember here is that there are consequences to things we do. you change tax policies and there's consequences to tax
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policy. you decide you're going to save money in certain areas, there's consequences to that. to we have big tax increases. i think that without a doubt, when you put tax on labor, its harmful and doesn't do anything to create employment. both bills hit small business with higher tax rates. the house bill, by 33%, the senate bill by 20%. the house bill hits small business harder obviously. the senate bill hits the middle class harder. it's a fact that when you do these things, you hurt the economy because small business is the machine that brings employment in america. 70% of new employment. we got to be careful how you treat small business. >> as rifting as this, we have a guest on standby. for those of you emersed in
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this, go to we'll go back to it in a second. south dakota senator john thune is with us today from capitol hill. thank you very much. >> very good to be with you. >> what are we getting accomplished here? >> not much that i can tell. >> shepard: here's what political said. by the lunch break, it was agreeing clearer the presummit pessimism on both sides of the aisle, there was little or no hope of grand partisan compromise was on target n fact both sides spent of the bulk of three hours trying to score points, rarely veering from scripts and extending a hand to the other side. >> i don't know if the people see this as bipartisan. it's just a bunch of politicians
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getting talking points in. >> the only way it's bipartisan and meaningful and constructive is if they took the previous talking points and bill and set it aside. >> shepard: why do republicans want to throw it out and start over? why? nobody buys that. everybody sees that as here's how we win. our side wins if we get you to throw your thing outs. the majority says we win if we get you to come with us. seems silly to talk about it. >> well it's not just republicans, it's -- >> i said both sides. >> i know you said both sides, i want to say, too, the american people clearly have rejected this bill in it's current form. >> shepard: the american people know what's in the bill? >> it's part of the problem. 2700 pages long. this could have been easier but
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you make it easier setting down saying what to we agree upon. if you want bipartisan so support that is what it takes. republicans are not going to buy into this bill. ty end of the day raises premiums for most americans. one thing -- >> shepard: the that's not true, senator. that is not true. that's not what the cbo said. i know your talking points and the other side but can't we say we got to do something in this country. this is going to bankrupt us and you people up there representing us are making it perfectly clear you're going to sit in your corners an we're going to lose. we're going to get nothing. when this is over, the president will be able to say i tried and we couldn't get it done, here comes reconciliation and then we have a real mess and everybody is mad as everybody else and the country falls apart. >> if the bill becomes law, it would be a real mess.
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remember one thing, you can -- we can debate whether or not which people are going to see higher premiums and which will not but the cbo said, as did the actuary for the center for medicare services, healthcare costs would go up, not down. the cost curve gets bent up and the amount of money we spent on healthcare increases 27%. we spend on on healthcare. >> senator it's going up without the bill. you know that. >> it's going to go up but what cbo said is it will go up more if the bill pass. if we do nothing, increasing will be less. that's the point we've been trying to make and what the congressional budget office and the center for medicare and medicaid services and experts are saying. fundamentally we're not going to be part of something that drives healthcare costs higher than
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otherwise would be if congress did nothing. that's not what american people are asking for and why you see the universal rejection. >> senator, great of you to be here. enjoy the rest of this. we'll have a democrat in to talk about this and i'm going to say when this is over and you're not accomplishing nothing -- you name something they're accomplishing and i'll put it on the screen. there's nothing. if they don't accomplish anything, what do they do? democratic senator, are you going to go through reconciliation and say here's the rule, 51 is it and you're going to pass it through. is that what's going to happen? i'm asking that next. we're streaming live at if you go to, jonathan hunt is streaming there. we'll be back to the president in a minute. this is "fox news channel" coverage of healthcare palooza.n we'll be back in just a moment. .
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>> shepard: we're back to the healthcare summit, which is what they want us to call it in washington. we just had a republican guest, now a democrat, senator carden, who serves on the budget committee. thank you very much. as i asked your colleague, what are we accomplishing exactly? >> i think the american people are getting to understand the healthcare issue a little bit more in detail. i think we're trying to bring down the rate healthcare cost and make sure americans have access to affordable care. they're seeing the difference of view, it's a healthy debate and adding to the process. >> i'm going to read what i read to the republican. by the lunch break, says politico it was growing clearer that the presummit pescism on both sides of little hope of
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bipartisan was on target. they rarely veered from the scripts and extended a hand to the other side. they predicted there would be talking points and at the end of the day, nothing accomplished. help me understand what we have learned. >> well, let me give you are the perspectives of those of who believe we have to get this done. what is coming out is the growth rate of healthcare cost is not sustainable, talk to the people of california. a 40% increase in insurance premiums. talk to someone who has been denied coverage based on preexisting condition or a person who filed bankruptcy because he couldn't pay for healthcare. we're finding out more of the need to act. there's clear differences. i hoped it would bring us closer. >> did you really think that was possible that the republicans
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will come around to this thing they've said from the beginning they won't come around to? who things that might happen. >> i always hold out hope. >> shepard: i don't know why. something that happened today on reconciliation, listen. >> before we go further today, that the democratic congressional leaders and you, mr. president, renounced the idea of going back to congress and jamming through on a bipartisan -- i mean on a partisan vote through a little used process called reconciliation, your version of the bill, you can say this process has been used before and that would be right. but it's never been used for anything like this. it's not appropriate to use to write the rules for 17% of the economy. >> no one has said -- i read what the president has, no one talked about reconciliation but that's what you have talked about since that came out as if it's something that's never been done.
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since 1981, reconciliation has been used 21 times, most of it by republicans for major things. like the -- much the contract for america, medicare reform. the tax cuts for rich people in america. >> senator, is it possible? >> reconciliation is part of the budget process. >> that possible that that's how to get the bill through? >> it's appropriate. >> shepard: so it might happen because barack obama and the vice president are on tape saying this would be the worst thing in the world, a deduction of society and all of a sudden your side needs something through and -- >> wait a minute, from the beginning i have said that i believe in reconciliation. i think it's inappropriate to allow the majority the opportunity to vote on the underlying budget issues. that's why we have reconciliations. it's been used by republicans and democrats and i think the american people are entitled to have the majority rule in
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congress. we should be a democratic institution. >> what do you think will happen if, after all this talk, you get up and pass this bill through reconciliation with 51 votes? how do you think the partisan guide divide will lay out? what do you think right wingers will do? they'll explode. you talk about separation! >> first of all, the bill that we're talking about passed the senate by 60 votes. there's talk about it passing in the house and modified by reconciliation. i think frankly the american people are going to be outraged if we don't get something done bring down healthcare. >> i think they're outraged already, wasting time talking about things just to go we tried, as if you thought the republicans would come around. poppy cook. >> everyone asked for open meetings, the parking lot -- president laid out his case and
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the republicans responded. >> if everybody doesn't come together, are up and down vote. >> it's called no, ma'amcy. let -- democracy. >> so that's what they'll do? it's like the storm in north mississippi, it was on the way. you knew it was. you could smell it before it got there. it's on the way. i'm not saying i'm for it or gibbs it. i see it coming like a freight train. >> the united states senate passed a bill with 60 votes in december. it's the framework if we can't get further agreement between democrats and republicans, i hope we move it forward. i think it's critically important we deal with bringing down healthcare costs and getting every american access to affordable care and taking on private insurance companies. it's time to get on with the business of healthcare reform. >> senator ben cardin. good of you to be here.
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>> thank you. back to the goodies. here comes speedy. >> at time when ow economy is struggling, the last thing we need to do is raise taxes on american people. we have $500 billion of medicare cuts. i agree with kent conrad, we need to deal with the problem of medicare. but if we're going to deal with the problem with medicare and find savings, why don't we use it to extend the life of the medicare program as opposed to to spending the $5 billion, creating a new entitlement program. it's not just mr. president the taxes or medicare cuts. you've got the individual mandate in here. which i think is unwise and i too believe is unconstitutional. you have an employer mandate that says that employers -- you've got to provide health insurance or pay this tax. it's going to drive up the cost of employment at the time when
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we have near 10% you unemploymen america. beyond that, a lot of employers will look and say i'll pass the tax and they dump their employees into the so called exchange. because in five years, every american's going to have to go to the exchange to get healthcare. who is going to designed every healthcare bill offered in the exchange under this bill, the federal government will design every single healthcare bill in america within five years once this bill were to pass. i could go on and on and on. let me just make one other point. i'll save you -- i'll save you. for 30 years, we've had a federal law that says we're not going to have taxpayer funding of abortions. we've had this debate in the house. it was a serious debate but in the house, the house spoke and
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house upheld the language we've had in law for 30 years that there will be no taxpayer funding of abortions. this bill, the one before us, there's no reference to that issue in your outline, mr. president, begins for the first time in 30 years allows for the taxpayer funding of abortionings. mr. president, what we've been saying for a long time is let's scrap the bill. let's start with a clean sheet of paper on those things that we can agree on. take a step-by-step approach to bring down the cost much healthcare insurance and expand ax eastbound access. i told you the day after -- maybe the day you were sworn in as president that i would never say anything outside the room i wouldn't say inside the room. i've been patient. i've listened to the debate here
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but why can't we agree on those insurance reforms we've talked about? why can't we come to agreement on purchasing across state lines and do something about the biggest cost driver, which is medical malpractice and the defense of medicine doctors practice. we can get somewhere and get it into law in the next several months. >> john, the challenge i have here -- and this happened periodically -- is every so often we have a pretty good conversation trying to get on specifics then we go back to the standard talking points democrats and republicans have had the last year. and that doesn't drive us to an agreement on issues. there's so many things that you just said that people on this side would profoundly disagree with. >> i need you to know what was said, the following, the -- the
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republican here said that this is a takeover a government takeover that will bankrupt the country and the people are not going to be for t that's what the president is responding to. >> the fact of the matter is as we indicated before, according to the congressional budget office, this would reduce the deficit. paul has different ideas about it. other folks may think there are better ways of doing it. but right now, what we're doing is focusing on the issue of federal entitlements and whether we can make some changes. i will come back at the end of the session to answer a range of the questions you just asked. i want to go to jim cooper, who i think everybody knows, cares deeply about the federal budget, he's been championing it for a very long time. jim, do you want to address some
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of the issues raised in terms of both medicare and medicaid? >> thank you, mr. president. we're all here, we're dressed up, on good behavior but folks back home are wondering how we behave when the camera's off. the deficit in my opinion is probably the most important single issue we face. inflation is driving us off a cliff and i'm intrigued by the conversation because so far we've heard a lot of folks trying to outdo each other in deficit reduction. i welcome that competition. especially if it's backed up with votes. because it's easy to talk tough on this, it's harder to deliver. i personally like senator mccain's suggestion, get rid of the special deals. that's just a starting point. paul ryan and tom coburn point out we're waiting a third of
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medicare spending, media cade alone is $37 trillion in the hole. that means for all the folks who want to talk tough and not vote tough, that's not good enough. it means that for all the folks to want to do this next year or next decade or leave it to their successor, that's not good enough. we've had some examples of how we've behaved recently. a wonderful bipartisan measure, the conrad-gregg bill, completely bipartisan and a bipartisan fiscal responsibility commission brought up for vote, we had 60 votes. but only 53 people showed up for work. 7 people who had been original co sponsors of the measure suddenly got different ideas when the moment of truth came. so mr. president i'm thankful you have appointed a presidential fiscal
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responsibility commission with allen simpson to force us as a congress and force the nation to address the fundamental problems. if you love medicare, you need to act to save it fast. every day matters. a report will come out issued by the treasury department, it comes out every year and comes out in the next few days. it uses really account to go describe america's fiscal problems and the news is not pretty. it will reaffirm what is discussed here about medicare and medicaid and other vital american programs deeply in the hole. the opportunity had cost for delay is extraordinary. so we can face these problems, mr. president, we can some of them with political will but talking points won't do t we have to acknowledge the real questions. if you can't measure it, you can't manage it. too people in federal government
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are refusing to measure it, much less take the tough votes required. the reason we have a medicare advantage program, mr. president, is in 2003, when the other party was completely in charge of everything, we passed a program that has been pointed out almost completely unfunded and added $8 trillion in one bill. to our children and grandchildren. now, those benefits should be paid for. so this is a challenge for everybody in both parties. nobody's hands are clean. let's have a new day, new beginning and i think we can do this. this bill's a great place to start. if you don't think this bill reduces the deficit enough, vote for more savings. if you want to reform medicare more, vote for it. don't just talk a good game. so i hope the american people are watching because -- and they're watching after the cameras are turned off and i'm thankful you called this meeting
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because it's a moment of truth for our country. together we can solve this problem. >> i want to see if there are any republicans who want to speak, i still have dick durbin. >> i think john mccain. >> thank you, mr. president. i say to my friend from north dakota, none of us want to do nothing but we want to start over and we had a discussion about the 800 thousands carveout and other special deals and special interests included in the bill which is more than offensive. but i want to talk about one specific issue on deficit reduction, medical malpractice reform. last year, mr. president, you said when you gave -- spoke to congress, you asked your distinguished secretary of health and human services to say look at ways we could address the issue and then again this year, and i pay close attention to all your speeches. >> thank you.
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that's more than michelle does. >> and the -- and the point is that we don't have to go invest very far. there's two examples. medical malpractice reform that is working. one is california, the other texas. i won't talk about california because the arizonans hate california because they stole our water but the fact is texas established a $750,000 cap for noneconomic damages, caps doctors at 250,000, hospitals at 250,000 and any additional institution 250,000. and patients harm due a finding of medical malpractice not stout limitations. i hope you examine it but the important aspect is lawsuit filings are down. med defensive increases cost
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10%. they saved 200 physicians recruitment is up. in two years 6,945 new physicians licensed, 65 increase in two years. 31% increase in recruitment of rural emergency med physician. amarillo lost 26 physician in the two years preceding legislation. the largest malpractice insurance company in the state slashed premiums by 35%, saving doctors 217 million over four years, now over 30 companies competing for business. it's already there. all we have to do is enact that into legislation and it's already been proven, so i don't think we have to experiment. the two states that have proven that you can enact medical malpractice reform and enact savings and provide healthcare providers with incentives. there's an issue overhanging the
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entire conversation. we know what it is. it's whether the majority leader of the senate will impose the, quote, reconciliation, the 51 votes. now, i haven't been in the majority and major, i prefer the majority. i understand the frustration the majority feels when they can't get the agenda through and it's real and i understand it and have some sympathy but i remember and i think you do too, mr. president, the last time there was a proposal that we republicans in the majority would adopt a 51-vote majority on the issue of the confirmation of judges. there was a group of us that got together said no, that's not the right way to go because that could deal a fatal below to the united states senate which is a 60 vote majority. we came to an agreement and it was brought to a halt. if a 51-vote reconciliation is
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enacted on 1/6 of our gross national product -- there have been reconciliations but not at the level of an issue of this magnitude. i think it could harm the future of our country and our institution, which i love a great deal for a long, long time. >> let me just address two of the points you made and then turn to dick. this issue of reconciliation has been brought up and i think the american people aren't always all that interested in procedures in the senate. i do think that they want a vote on how we're going on and off -- move this forward and you know, i think most americans think that a majority vote makes sense. but i also think that this is an issue that could be bridged if we can arrive at some agreement
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on ways to move forward. medicare -- or the issue of malpractice that you brought up, i've already said that i think this is a real issue. i disagree with john boehner. when you say it's the single biggest driver of medical inflation, that's just not the case. congressional budge office took a look at the proposal you've got for medical malpractice and estimates that the government system would save about $50 billion over ten years, which is $5 billion a year, which is real money. but understand that we've got a $2 trillion system. let's assume that you extrapolate into the private marketplace. let's say it's another $5 billion or another $10 billion. it's still a small portion of our overall health inflation problem. but having said that, it's still something that i care about. i've said i care about it.
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now, not only have i asked kathleen to initiate pilot programs at the state level, but there are some examples of legislation that i actually would be interested in pursuing. tom coburn, you and richard burr have talked about incentivizing and allowing states to experiment more vigorously with ways to reduce frivolous lawsuits and pursuit settlements and reduce defensive medicine. that's something i could like to get going. so i might not agree to what john boehner's proposed and it's interesting that i think i've heard a lot today about how we shouldn't have washington impose on the states ideas, except when it comes to the ideas you guys like, in which case its fine to
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override what states are doing. there seems to be a contradiction but i think there may be a way of doing it that allows states to tackle this issue in a very serious way. and i'd be interested in working you, john, and tom, so see if we can make that happen, if we can arrive at a package that also deals with the other drivers of healthcare inflation that are so important. we're running out of time. gave the dick durbin and then we're going to go into coverage and i know that -- henry and john and charles. >> before we get to dick durbin. jonathan hunt is chatting with viewers about the healthcare summit. what are they saying? >> everybody is fired up and pretty much everybody things nothing is being achieved. we have a couple of polls. first, has listening to the summit changed are your opinion on healthcare? yes, just 3%, still deciding 3%,
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95% say no, it's not changed their opinion. we've got another poll asking what people think of the summit, is it political theater or waist of time. 57% say political theater, 38% say waist of time. 5% think it's a product difficult exercise so nobody is very impressed with what is going on today. >> stunning. let's listen in. >> the congressional budget office when asked how much will we save if we implement the republican plan, they said $54 billion over ten years. $5.4 billion a year is a lot of money except in the context of a 2 1/2 trillion dollars bill we pay each year for healthcare. it represents one fifth of one percent of the amount of money we spend on healthcare.
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the congressional budget office said, as you lose accountability for what the doctors and hospitals are doing, more people will die. 4800 a year, according to the congressional budget office's reference to the study. the institute of medicine tells us 98,000 die a year because of medical malpractice. we have things in the bill to change that. most of us heard of dr. guandy. his manifesto is a basic approach to reducing medical errors. i think what you have done is right, incentivizing states to find ways to reduce medical errors and reduce lawsuits that should not be filed but limiting recovery for pain and suffering for someone who is entitled because they're innocent victims to be paid isn't eliminating
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junk lawsuits. i will tell you that as far as the president's concerned, in his neighborhood there's a great hospital i will not name and at this hospital a woman went in for a simple removal of a mole from her face and under general anesthesia, the oxygen caught fire, burning her face. she went through repeated insurgence, scars and deformity. her life will never be the same and this woman is only i be entitled to $250,000 in pain and suffering. i don't think that's fair. the states, 30, made a decision. over the last 20 years is the number of paid malpractice plans paid or cut in half? most here say must have doubled. no, they've been cut in half. but how about the money paid? for the malpractice claims, that's gone through the roof. no, between 2003 and 2008, the
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total amount paid formal practice claims in america was cut in half from 8 billion to $4 billion. this is an important issue. i don't dispute it and i think we have treated it as an important issue. to make it the overriding issue is to i think trivialize some other things that should be part of the conversation. i've been asked to speak about deficit reduction. i will not except to say when i hear my friend john boehner say we have the best healthcare in the world, i don't dispute this. if i were sick, this is the country i would want to be in, but step back and look who we are in this room. as was said many years ago, the law in its majestic equality forbids the wealthy and poor were sleeping under bridges. when it comes to the wealthy per capita, we're the wealthest. the program administered by the
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federal government setting minimum standards a all we're asking for families across america. if you think it's a social list plot. drop out of the federal employee's health benefit program. if you think its good enough for your family. isn't it good enough for america? tom harkin is right. why do we continue to discriminate against people when we know each one of us is only one accident or one diagnosis away from being one of those unfortunate few who can't afford or can't find heals insurance. >> what i would like to do is this, it is now -- it is now a quarter to 4:00. i said we would try to get out by 4:15. we're going to wrap this up. i know some people are on a tight schedule. i'm going to ask if people are
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willing to stay until 4:30 which gives us 45 minutes. i would like to round out this conversation by focusing on what i think is probably, at the core, one of the bigger philosophical disagreements between the parties in how we address healthcare moving forward. i think we've identified one already, which is the issue of insurance and minimum standards and that was a debate surrounding the exchange a debate that we discussed when it came to being able to buy insurance across interstate lines. i think the second issue, which eric cantor alluded to and john boehner just alluded to is the issue of coverage. and that is, can america, the wealthiest nation on earth, do what every other advanced nation
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does? which is make sure that every person here can get adequate healthcare coverage, whether they're young or old, whether rich or poor. and you know, i think that the effort in the house and senate has been to control costs to reform the insurance industry, to deal with some of the structural deficit issues surrounding entitlements and to do that in the context in which everybody is getting a fair shake. and right now, frankly, the 30 million people who don't have health insurance, their are a bunch of people who aren't added to the list and all they have a catastrophic plan and don't visit a doctor unless they're really sick. the way we tried to do it was not a government-run healthcare
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plan, paul. that was -- you know, some good poll tested language that's been used quite a bit. but the fact of the matter is that as dick just alluded to, the way we instruct ared it through the exchange would be to allow people to pool, allow everybody to join a big group, and for people to can't afford it, to give them subsidies, including small businesses. and so the question is whether there's a way for us to arrive at an agreement that would reach those people. john, i -- boehner, i look add your bill. i think as i said there's overlap on some issues but when it comes to the coverage issue, the congressional budget office says yours would potentially increase coverage for 3 million people and efforts of the house and senate would cover
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30 million. so that's a 27 million person difference. we can have an honest disagreement as to whether we should try to give some help to those 27 million people don't have coverage and -- so that's i think the last aspect much this. this is probably the most contentious because there's no doubt that providing those tax credits to families and small businesses costs money. and we do raise revenues in order to pay for that. and it may be that the other side just feels as if you know, it's just not worth us doing that. but one of the things i hope we don't do is to pretend that somehow for free, we're going to be able to get those 30 million people covered. we're not -- if we think it's important as a society to not leave people out, then we're going to have to figure out how to pay for it.
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if we don't, we should acknowledge we're not going to do that. but what we shouldn't do is pretend we're going to do it and that there's some magic wand to do it without paying for it. so with that, what i'm going to do is go to whoever you want first. >> mr. president, dr. brass sew is going to make our opening statement. >> then all call henry waxman and we'll go back and forth. we're short on time so keep our remarks brief. >> thank you very much. for people who don't know me he practiced medicine in wyoming for 25 years, taking care of families. i've been chief of staff of the largest hospital in our state. my wife is a breast cancer survivor. she's been through three operations and chemo therapy and seen this from all sides of care. this discussion needs to be about all americans because
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everyone is affected, not just people that don't have insurance. dozens and dozens of visits to senior centers and town hall meetings and service clubs and if you go to any community in america, and you ask the question, do you believe that this bill up here, that this bill, if it becomes law, do you believe you will pay more for your healthcare, you personally, every hand goes up. then you say do you believe if this bill becomes law, overall spending in the country will go up, everything hand goes up. you ask the most personal question, do you believe if the bill becomes law, the quality of your own personal care will get worse? every hand goes up. and most worried of all are the seniors. when you go to the senior centers, they know there's going to be $500 billion taken away from those who depend upon medicare for their healthcare
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and it's not just medicare advantage. it's hospitals, it's the doctors, it's the nursing homes. home health, which is a lifeline for people home alone. hospice, for people in their final days of life. that's all going to be cut so the seniors are most concerned. and even the white house's own actuary says, if it goes into play, one in five hospitals, one in five nursing homes will be operating at a loss in ten years. that's what we're looking at. for 25 years practicing medicine i never asked if they were a republican or democratic or independent -- >> the producers want me to get come guests in. as the lawmakers read their talking points over and over, equally, we've interesting new fox news opinions that the producers tell me i need to show you. according to the poll, 50% want congress to hold off on passing a healthcare bill.
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46% want the bill pass this had year. 67% of folks are fed up with the debate. 30% don't feel that way. with us, the anchor of "fox news sunday," chris wallace. to paraphrase sarah palin, how is this transparency working out for you? the fact is. >> shepard: i like sausage. i don't want to see it made. >> in isn't legislationing. >> this is grandstanding. >> that would be more serious. what we're seeing is exactly as you said, a bunch of talking points. it's become clear -- i wasn't sure before they went in but it's clear the president add democrats are sticking with the overhaul and the republicans are going to stick with their idea of smaller incremental change and it's a question, after the meeting is over, the real action will go back to the house and senate. nancy pelosi will meet with the house democrats, harry reid will immediate with the senate democrats and figure out, can they pass this, even through
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reconciliation, can they get a majority vote. it's not clear they can do that. >> shepard: the hurdle is a very high one. >> yeah, i don't know that they're going to be able to pass it even through reconciliation. if they can't, then we go to what the wall street journal talked about, a stripped down bill covering not 30 million the president just talked about but 15 million and cost a quarter of a trillion dollars instead of a trillion dollars. that you might be able to get through but i think that the -- this has been an exercise in the democrats trying to say this is what we're for, trying to stiffen the spine of democrats but in terms of serious legislating i see no effort at all. >> it's like democrats have been saying, what about this? and republicans are saying put in tort reform. okay, here it is. a bunch of stuff republicans asked for but they don't want this and they convinced everybody this is socialism,
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like medicare. but in the end, he democrats are putting this out there saying we tried. we tried to have some sort of discussion in washington and now we move out on to plan b. >> first they're going to try plan a. >> reconciliation. >> and to flip it around, the fact is, as you saw with dick durbin. some democrats don't want the malpractice. you have a speech by dick durbin saying malpractice reform stinks. >> i cited $250,000 for the woman with her face burned. he pointed out the cost of malpractice over six years, when i mentioned, has gone in half. it doesn't matter, nobody's mind is being changed. who in the world watches this and goes wow, i was wrong all along. i want that or i don't want that thing.
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>> i have to agree with the polls. nobody's mind is being changed in the room and nobody's mind is changed in america. what was it 5% or 2% said their mind is changed f you liked the democrats, you love their points, if you -- >> debris know you grb it's been a great day. i feel we've missed probably 60 or 70 commercials today, maybe 80 or 90. paula firestone is going commercials all for what. to hear the same democratic talking points so later on one side or the other can say we tried. we're losing jobs, the economy's a mess. at least the olympians are winning. the rebels did good. the day's going to end. it's snowing


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