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And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
That -- -- over health care really got going this week that involves almost 20%.
Of the economy and it will affect every one of loss.
That we brought in two man at the center of the -- Senator Chris Dodd who along with Ted Kennedy is drafted the leading democratic plan.
And senator Charles Grassley the top Republican on the committee which will propose taxes.
-- paper health care reform.
Gentlemen President Obama called for 300.
Billion dollars in new spending cots for Medicare and Medicaid yesterday.
He now says he's identified ways to pay for -- 950.
Health care reform plan with two thirds of it coming from savings first question to you senator Grassley.
Do you think the president's spending cuts a realistic as well as his estimate of the overall cost.
I -- I have not studied them to know if they're real estate.
There's a lot of things coming out the White House that can't be scored by Congressional Budget Office and that's -- really counts.
There is a lot of waste in government run.
Programs generally and a lot of waste and fraud and misuse of money in Medicare and Medicaid that can be say.
But right now I could not put a figure on that amount of money.
But there is some savings there that can be made.
And ought to be made whether or not -- we are -- doing things for health care reform or not only one caveat I would give you.
In rural America from Indiana -- over to the northwest and from Kansas.
If -- everybody practice medicine and the rest of the country like.
We do there we'd save about 13 of Medicare so I'm going to be looking at the president's suggestions.
To make sure that it doesn't make things worse in rural America where an Iowa.
Our reimbursements are -- all we have a hard time.
Making sure that we can recruit doctors to come -- state.
Senator Dodd that is an awful lot of health care experts say that the total cost of health care reform is more likely to be about one and a half trillion dollars and 50% greater than the president's estimate.
And they also say that these hundreds of billions of dollars in spending cuts he's identified.
Are so flimsy that is senator Grassley said congress is on budget office can't put a number to them.
Well first of all Chris and this is going to be a patient centered program we're talking about.
The health care system is in crisis in our country it's that's to profit driven it's too bureaucratic -- -- accessible it's too complicated.
And clearly this is a major issue both in terms of patient.
I care as well as economic issues.
The president is identified some 300 billion dollars I agree with what -- has said we need to look at that obviously that's a major responsibility the finance committee.
We put 654.
Billion dollars in the budget specifically to deal with health care cost of the next ten years.
The institute of medicine Chris identified a very valid study that there about a third of the tests are assessments that are being conducted.
If frankly we could do away with which would -- about a third of health care cost that's on some -- some 700 billion dollars.
And then prevention if we're able to really is chuck and I in my Kenzie and Senator Kennedy.
Really believe Tom Harkin gets the prevention could save a tremendous amount.
Let us know Steve burgers this CEO of safely get -- -- testify before help committee.
He said something dramatic yesterday Chris he said for every pound that a person would lose who's obese is a fifty dollar savings per year in premium cost.
So we deal with quit smoking issues we deal with obesity.
We deal with a cardiovascular issues as well as diabetes that for chronic illnesses.
The cost 75% of our health care really have a wellness program they're tremendous savings.
Through prevention programs so between what's there in Medicare what we can do with wasted -- -- -- -- being done.
Assessments rather as well as in the prevention area I think we can reach that target that'll come somewhere -- And they were a trillion dollars to a 1000000000200 billion over the next ten year.
It gentlemen let's address some of the big controversies in this debate let's start first the ball would mandates.
Senator Grassley what's wrong with a requiring individuals and companies.
To pay for health insurance so that all the rest of us don't have to pick up the tab for the uninsured.
And you're probably taking up 1000 some estimates 1800 dollars on your premiums.
For people that don't have health insurance because of the extensive use of of emergency rooms as an example.
-- there is anything wrong with it except some people look at it as an infringement.
Upon individual freedom.
But when it comes to.
State requiring it for automobile insurers.
The principal then on -- the same way.
For -- health insurance because.
Everybody has some health insurance costs and if you're insured.
There's no free lunch.
Somebody else's -- for.
So I think individual.
Mandates are more apt to be accepted.
By a vast majority of people in congress.
Then an employer mandate would be.
As an example and with that -- -- portability of the insurance from one employer to one other so you don't you don't have to be tied to your job.
But there is.
A very important issue here and that is that we consider a that there are some people -- who can afford their own health insurance.
But decide not to buy it because they want to pay it out of pocket should you require those people who -- I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus.
To have individual.
-- senator Dodd let me ask you about one aspect of -- the -- so called Kennedy Dodd plan let's put up the language.
On the screen this is -- got a little complicated -- the but but -- -- bear with me here.
The eligible individual involved is not required to play now we're gonna get to the subordinate clause.
In the case of an individual with a modified adjusted gross income but does not exceed 500%.
Of the poverty line for a family of the size involved.
The individual is not required to pay an amount that exceeds 10%.
Of such individual's income now that's pretty complicated senator -- but as I understand that.
Under your plan a family of four making as much as a 110000.
Dollars a year.
Would be eligible for a taxpayer subsidy.
Well we're talking about here let me first of all thank -- recent comments there and by the way the first thing we always say about health -- that.
And I think all of -- say this we should say it.
If you like the plan you have you have got to keep that plan you like -- doctor you like your insurance company you like your hospital.
The last thing you want to be doing is telling people have to change with they like -- Secondly -- choice people ought to have the right to make their own choices about the doctor they want the hospital they want to be.
This is about fixing the problems that are wrong in sustaining and building upon the things that are working well.
Now clearly it's -- just pointed out when you start talking about individuals here in a mandate I think he's right about this that you have to include -- to -- going to make this work at all.
Then making it possible for people actually to meet those targets now the 500% of poverty is a number that we put out there.
But clearly there's some negotiation about that as well -- you need to have people didn't do you think that a family of four and it's making a 110000.
Dollars a year.
To that part of their health insurance tab picked up by a by the taxpayers.
Well that that number of -- high but nonetheless that's part of the negotiation yet chuck -- in -- can jump in on this if you want as well we're working on these numbers in fact we spent.
All weekend this weekend that it Chris.
My staff that is the Kennedy's staff I should say tends to add staff and Mike -- staff and others working on some of these issues as we approach next week as well.
Money money money bring on another big -- -- senate senator -- -- -- -- but let me bring up another point is well.
In this maybe perhaps the biggest sticking point that's the president's insistence and it's also -- the that the Dodd Kennedy plan on.
On a government.
Insurance plan to compete with private insurers.
Why is the -- of all why is that such a concern and do you think that with the Senate and house.
A government public insurance -- Let's go back to what Chris was talking about what you had on the board there.
For most of us even a lot of Democrats that's gotta be a non starter for the simple reason that we went through that debate.
Even at 400%.
On their Children's Health Insurance Program we can afford that it's not good policy.
And we're not -- going that direction in regard to your question is.
You know it's funny how this business of having a public option in other words.
The 350 insurance companies need some sort a complication.
You know I wish I would hear that from.
What that Medicare and Medicaid ought to have some competition.
Because that's a government run program and you know what you do you've got the government interfering in the practice of medicine and were reimbursing -- Doctors 83% -- cost and hospitals about 79% across.
And and a little bit a complication like we have in part be a prescription drugs where we thought originally.
The program by now would cost about 74 billion dollars a year it ends up only cost them 44 billion dollars.
And I don't want to get Scott but if I don't want to get too far right in regard to yours I don't want to get -- part of the -- here but let me if I may as senator Dodd.
Ask you because the president keeps talking.
About want to compromise and there are two possible deals out there one is the idea that the public plan could be a fall back that it only takes then.
If private health insurance doesn't work doesn't clean -- and doesn't become more competitive and lower cost and the other is the idea reasonable public health insurance plan.
Of cooperatives that would be organized and operated by the members themselves.
He is now are those possible compromises you could support instead.
Of a public health insurance option.
Well we'll see in the other ideas as well Jack reed of Rhode Island is proposing an idea that there -- other thoughts out that you mentioned a couple of them.
I hear this is we're talking about even a nonprofit idea as well last -- we're not talking about a subsidized government plan Chris the reality is this.
Premium cost of going up 86% the last ten years in my state of Connecticut up 42%.
In the last six years.
If we don't deal with cost issues here this -- a major factor.
We talk about the uninsured in the country.
We have we have millions of people who are insured but can't afford the escalating cost of their premiums we're looking potentially at 50% of people's gross income.
Paying premiums health care premiums by the year 2040 we need to get our arms around this and reduce these cost.
And so having some competition out there is not a bad idea in my view in this area and whether or not it's a government -- a process or non profit or cooperative.
This is exactly what shock and -- bosses but baucus -- -- other members of the committee talking about but clearly.
-- did this to profit driven in many ways that are causing this healthcare -- to see cost -- at the rate they are.
Senator Kennedy is dedicated for decades of his life I'm nearly a designated.
Hitter form at this point -- -- struggling with his own cancer.
But he has worked for four decades on this we're sitting down and talking with each -- this needs to be a bipartisan plan.
Chuck Grassley is dedicated -- strong part of his life to that bipartisanship.
I agree with him about that Max Baucus does the Democrats do we're working very hard but may have summoned.
Not that -- move on of icann's element because there's one other big issue and that is the issue of taxes senator Grassley will your Senate Finance Committee propose a tax.
On -- health care benefits and would that hit people making less than 250000 dollars a year.
The answer is -- we could but it's going to take the president of the United States.
Who made a big deal out of McCain.
So called increasing taxes and -- McCain plan was a very good plan.
But the president drove it into the ground.
Won the election he looks like he's looking at doing -- -- what McCain want to do and I think for the benefit of making this bipartisan.
Presidential leadership in this area be very good based upon the -- Of the last campaign.
-- -- there is another reason -- for dealing with this and that is at what level should we be subsidized and through tax the credits.
They health insurers and we it seemed to me that we ought to take your average of the nation.
And -- that we're going to subsidize.
Through that tax code I health insurance for everybody at that level and not subsidize above another certain level that does two things that takes some inflation.
Out of health care and it also all races some money.
So so what you're basically saying and I I want to move on but we're beginning to run out of time which are basically saying senator Grassley.
Is and some people said the number should be thirteen thousand dollars.
If your health insurance plan is worth thirteen thousand dollars it's tax free anything above that would get tax senator Dodd.
Would you vote for attacks on on health benefit that's.
You're shaking your -- all right now.
Yet now this is this is on -- In my view -- and I feel very strongly about this is many do as well.
I -- the idea that you're -- have people out there that is struggling to make ends meet today they're falling further and further behind.
-- wages people losing jobs losing homes.
The turnaround say you basically have no change -- health care plan by the -- we're gonna -- enough of those benefits we can actually pay for this of the ways that suggested.
Billion dollars that's allocated already.
The 300 billion dollars in savings we got out of Medicare the third of the savings -- -- occur by doing away with unnecessary tests and exams.
Getting a prevention program that really works so that we reduce those that 75% -- cost the idea talk about taxing benefits of the time people are overwhelmed I think is a.
Very bad all right gentlemen I knew -- got about two minutes like have to and I want to ask you each about a question have you both been involved.
In controversies recently senator Grassley you have apparently discovered Twitter and I want to put up day -- recent -- buy you a -- night.
President Obama while you sightseeing in Paris.
You said time to deliver on the health care when you are -- hammer you think everything is nail I'm no -- Senator Grassley is not.
In a very senatorial because you know why we've had dialogue -- this president.
Since January the twentieth on a program to get a bill to the floor on July for July and we're still on that timetable.
And the president.
To say that we ought to -- -- made it look like congress wasn't working.
The very weak and that we were working Saturday and Sunday.
And Washington to keep on schedule while he was sightseeing he didn't need to say that it didn't contribute to what it was a cheap shot.
Senator Dodd you release an ethics disclosure form on Friday that that indicates that your wife.
And we should -- that she was involved in this before she married you but as she sits on the board you of four.
Health care companies and that last year she received hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and stock options.
Is that a conflict of interest for a senator like you who is one of the point men and what healthcare reform.
I'm glad you pointed out to the highly professional woman when -- mariner ten years ago.
And deeply involved -- somewhat offensive by the way we don't hear these questions being raised.
About the about the the mail.
Spouses of female senators in the sense it's offensive to my wife -- to be even talking about it these companies and research companies they're not involved at all she never lobbies in congress never -- up petitioning on their behalf at all.
-- highly professional woman highly skilled and she deserves to have a career.
-- -- we -- we hired in fact in ethics lawyer to make sure that these -- -- serve I would in no way pose any kind of conflict whatsoever when my job in the Senate so she will not step down from those boards.
And so reason to -- -- companies that are affected we've been through that he's this this a professional person.
Senator Dodd senator Grassley I want to thank you that both for talking -- us and obviously explaining some of these key issues at stake in this debate.
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