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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 9, 2009 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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agreeing on a health care reform plan. there are also certain things that the democratic majority and president obama what in a reform plan that the republican party -- me and the physician members of the body -- are totally opposed to, and that would be obviously a single-payer system, a hillary-care type system. and we are also very opposed to a government default option plan competing with the private marketplace. host: some would argue that the republican plan is to slow down any kind of change when democrats argue that we have been down this road before in the 1970's with kennedy and nixon's plan, the 1990's with the clinton plan, and we still have an escalation of an estimated $4.4 trillion in expenditures. guest: nothing could be further from the truth, steve.
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the former administration and president bush was in favor of -- it would be wrong to accuse republicans in the current health-care debate that we do not want to do anything because clearly i am here today to do when your program to say -- and i think i speak for most of my colleagues on the republican side, certainly in the house -- that we do want reform, but we just do not want to pile on and expand medicare and medicaid and say that this reform. we do not want to pile on a broken system with more of the same. we would rather go back and restructure to make sure that we change the things that need changing so that we can get these 47 million people that need insurance insured. host: if one of those individuals came to you and you were about to deliver a baby, who pays for that delivery? guest: typically those
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deliveries are paid through a private health insurance plan that that patient has negotiated through her place of employment. host: but if they do not have insurance? guest: if they do not have insurance, someone else pays for it. many are actually illegals who are fearful of trying to access health care because they do not want to be sought out. but those that do not have insurance that utilize manley the emergency room for their care, whether it is -- that you lies mainly the emergency room for their care, the cost is borne ultimately by those who are insured. host: so how do you fix that? how do you make sure that those who do not have insurance get insurance of the people who have insurance are not paying for
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those who do not? guest: it needs to be affordable, accessible, and it needs to be portable. that is the republican approach. now, as you look at the 47 million estimate, clearly is not that high. there are probably 18 million of those people who do not have health insurance that are making over $50,000 a year. 6 million or in million of them make over $75,000 a year -- 6 million or 8 million of them make over $75,000 a year, and they can afford it. there also, steve, is an estimate of 10 million people who are eligible for a safety net program. either they have a disability or their income level is such that they are eligible for medicaid. so when you really get down to it, there are only about 8 million to 10 million who do not
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have health insurance. and the ones i am most concerned about are those who have multiple illnesses, and they are what we call the high-risk pool of individuals that either are denied health insurance or they cannot afford to pay three or four times the normal premium. those are the ones that we need to help. host: our guest is congressman phil gingrey, his district in north west georgia includes rome and marietta. we had this comment from twitter saying, "when will congress opt out of health care plans and by any free-market like most americans?" guest: there is a great misconception about the benefits members of congress receive. clearly, we are federal employees and we have the opportunity through payroll deduction to get our health insurance through our employer. it is the federal government,
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whether we are the speaker of the house committee majority leader of the senate. we work -- or we work in the fingerprint bureau of the fbi. it is no different really from the plan that someone gets through their employer, where there is an option, a choice, of maybe five or six different health plans. but they are paid for by members of congress just as everybody else would. host: you can send us an e-mail, good morning, republican line. caller: the united states goes back to where everybody is responsible for their own health care. before medicaid, before medicare -- are there any members of congress that will support such a plan? here is my point. when the government gets into things, there is just cost that
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goes out the window in terms of overspending, and that is the problem we have right now. let me make a comment that my own personal situation -- i did not want to get up this morning and get on a treadmill, but as a coach, i have seen, for hundreds and hundreds of kids, that the parents to take charge of their families and promote health, as my mother did with me with jack lalalane in the 1950's, it is an individual responsibility. if you have colleagues who can float this plan, there are americans like me out there who take personal responsibility. i have good health care coverage, but i virtually never use it. i would like to hear your reaction. guest: harry, i am glad you are exercising.
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maybe you are from the harry and louise team from 1993, 1994. it is an issue of personal responsibility, and that certainly has been the republican mantra that people do need to take responsibility. exercising on a regular basis, making sure that your weight is what it should be, avoiding smoking and other activities of daily living that are detrimental to your health. but without question, there are things that can happen to folks just like yourself, who work hard at trying to stay healthy. it may be that genetically your the one that is going to end up with that high blood pressure or those clogged arteries, despite staying on a good diet and trying to take care of yourself. i mean, there is no doubt that the need for health insurance is there in this country, particularly catastrophic coverage, because these statistics on the number of people let go into bankruptcy because of a major illness is
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staggeringly high. so whether you are talking about a government program, medicare for seniors, medicaid for the poor, the chip program for children and families that are nearly pour, our military health care system -- all these things are very important, as is the private ability to go in through your employer or individual marketplace. but the main thing we are talking about here on the program this morning is the fact that there are too many people -- nobody knows the exact number, i have sort of peeled back the onion and said it is only 8 million to 10 million, but that is a million to 10 million to many that the rest of us end up paying for. we want to make sure that these individuals are placed in a pool where they can afford health insurance. host: our next call is from new jersey.
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teacup the morning, congressman gingrey. having delivered as many babies that you have in your practice, i am sure you are aware of the infant mortality rate. you mentioned social security and how the democrats were against privatizing. could you imagine what situation our seniors would be in if it had been privatized with our economic meltdown? you also refer to a government default plan. i do not see a private plan as being such. you discussed people with burning $50,000 -- with earning
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$50,000 to $75,000, $80,000. if you are trying to get private health care on your own, if you are not fortunate enough to have your employer pay in on the program, you are excluded. you cannot get health care with a pre-existing condition. the cost of the overhead with public insurers is 30 cents to the dollar. our public system -- with private insurers is 30 cents to the dollar. our public system is 3 cents to the dollar. our system was working very well. the medicare prescription plan was witten verbatim by the pharmaceutical companies. host: we will get a response to that. this tweet, "for bobbins are so correct, why do they need to smear the public option -- if
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republicans are so correct, why do they need to smear the public option?" guest: with this last point, the public option, i really think it is unnecessary. if you have a connector not unlike what was done in the state of massachusetts and the state of california, and you have the individual insurance companies, the private market, competing in that connector, then clearly you will get the best value, the best price, and hopefully the best medical care. it was actually 2003, mma, medicare modernization act, and i was a member of congress and did support that bill. a signature part of it was medicare, part d, the prescription coverage option. the democratic majority said this was not going to work
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unless we had a public auction, a public plan, the federal government negotiating down the prices. and when the amendment failed, there was another one that said, ok, look, let's make sure we do not pay too much and let's set the price, the monthly premium, for a prescription drug plan. let's set it at $42 a month. unfortunately, that also failed because the miracle of free- market enterprise brought in at $24 a month. now, some might argue that over the last three years it has increased somewhat -- certainly, because of inflation -- but it has not gotten to $42 yet. we do not want the government to be a player, a competitor on the field, and setting the rules at the same time. what would result from that is a crowding out of more employers who currently provide health insurance for their employees,
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and that is an 80% favorability rating. why would any good politician try to cut the meat out of an 82% issue and kraut all of those people into a public auction plan -- and crowd all of those people into a public option plan when they're happy with their current coverage? host: our guest is representative phil gingrey of georgia. caller: good morning. the previous administration give us a pharmaceutical bill that ultimately we cannot negotiate with our pharmaceutical companies for lower rates. germans can, canadians can, but we cannot. also, you brought up the fact that so many people who are ill have to go into bankruptcy. the previous administration give us a bankruptcy bill that
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basically was to support the credit card companies so that people coming back from iraq, people who lost their jobs, or people who were ill had to pay, still pay their credit cards off so essentially they could not get out of debt. i have patients who are essentially making choices between medicine and food. i have patients who are essentially homeless. we are doing pro bono, and at the same time we have this human cry about government involvement. government is supposed to be there for the general welfare, and my understanding is most of the republicans simply are basically saying, "let them eat cake." host: let's be clear, are you a physician?
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caller: i am a psychologist, and i am dealing with patients who are suffering not only with chronic pain and other physical conditions, but also with issues related to the psychological and psychiatric-emotional impact of having elissa's etc.. -- of having illnesses, etc. i have a vietnam veteran that the -- he passed away, but the v.a. had told him that agent orange has been resolved, so essentially we are not going to deal with you. and he had to -- luckily, he was helped by the medical organization that -- by the medical organization in
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farmington, conn. guest: we republicans did not seay let them eat cake, we said let them eat cake and ice cream. seriously, though, it leads to rationing. it leads to restrictive formularies. it's certainly is not what the patients whaant. you look at the medicaid program, the medicaid formulary in those states where prescription drugs are provided by the medicaid plan. there is a restrictive formulary, and that is not what we want. clearly if this program, though -- and i would be willing to accept, after a three-year trial period in which it was not working, i would want to go back and look at other possibilities, even including having the
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government come in and negotiate prices. but if the free marketplace is working, why not let that merkel continue? why come in and -- why not let that merkel continue? why come in and mess it up. i think it would be wrong in this new health care reform to say that we are going to have the federal government default insurance program. what they will do eventually is cut reimbursement to our providers who are already cut to the bone on medicare, medicaid programs. at lot of the democrats, very powerful democrats in the house where i serve, what this government to fall plan to look like medicare. goodness gracious, that is the last thing that i would want to see any health-care plan look like, medicare. we have lots of problems in that program. we do not want to duplicate
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them. host: let me follow-up on that point. you also said that you do not have to go any further than vermont, where howard dean served as the state executive in his push for health care. you call that in fear and said that his wife was one of the victims of what you call an inferior health care system. explain. guest: exactly right. howard dean's wife is dr. judith sandberg. i have not had a conversation with her, i just know what i read. she dropped out of the medicaid program because the reimbursement rates were not sufficient to keep her doors open to provide health insurance for her own employees. so, you know, you start talking about reforming the system and covering more people, but if you are reimbursing doctors at a lower rate from what you are
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currently receiving, that little plastic card that says, you know, i have insurance, therefore i have access -- you do not have access if there are no doctors there, particularly primary care doctors that we want to incentivize to treat the sick but also to enhance wellness. we need more and more doctors like that, and you are paying them less and less, and the best and brightest are not going to go into medicine, and they are certainly not going into those specialties that we are most in need of. host: by the way, howard dean is out with the new book and will join us tomorrow. paul is on the phone from fort leavenworth, kansas. caller: how're you doing, congressman? i am a retired army veteran and i am pleased with my health care system.
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thank you for keeping that cost look for our veterans. it is good to know we have it. my point is, we were told that tarp had to be expedited, the stimulus bill had to be expedited. now we're being told that his health care reform has to be pushed through quickly to leverage the political capital of democrats. i am very concerned with the government spending that, if the bill gets passed through quickly without thorough analysis and debate, that we will have issues with runaway inflation. just like any government program -- amtrak, numerous programs with the car industry -- the government does not run companies, and i am concerned that if we have government-run health care, the quality of health care will be going down. i believe in freedom of choice and individual decision making, but i want to go to a health- care provider that i want to choose. i urge you strongly -- i watch
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you on c-span and it is very informative, but did in, fight, and make sure this bill does not get passed through. i do not care about political capital and all that stuff. make sure americans are protected and do the right thing. thank you. guest: you are absolutely right. the idea of rushing this through, and the call is from the democratic majority in the president to have the bill passed in the house and senate by the august recess, by august 1. we're talking less than six weeks, maybe six or seven weeks. the president wants something he can sign in september. there is no reason for the rush other than a political reason. the president certainly enjoys robust approval ratings at this time. and he knows to strike while the iron is hot, if you will. but to do it in a unilateral way, without republican input,
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without trying to join together on the things that we can agree with, is a huge mistake. now, we are talking about a system that currently and absorbs 17% of our gross domestic product. by the year 2017, it will be up to 20% of our gross domestic product, some four or $5 trillion -- some 4.5 trillion dollars. it is more than the combined gdp of could japan -- of japan, germany, and the uk. we are not talking small potatoes, paul, and you are absolutely right that we need to take our time. hopefully we will be able to do that and having measured bill, something that can work. there are a number of ways that i think the never -- the
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republican party believes we need to go in that direction. those who have health care from their employer, they get a very nice tax exclusion. in many cases it includes a prescription drug benefit. but as somebody -- but if somebody is not working for a large employer, or if they are out of work, they have to go to the individual market, pay higher rates because they do not have the dilution effect, and they get no tax break. that is not fair. so they clearly -- so we clearly need to equalize that. there are so many things that we do not have time in the show to talk about because we, too -- we are not the party that -- we clearly understand that our system should be better, could be better. it is the greatest system in the world. most people are happy with their health care, and we certainly do not want to throw the baby out
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with the bathwater. it took a quick question from david in ohio, wondering if dr. ron paul is a member of the gop doctors caucus. guest: dr. paul is inan outstanding member of the gop doctors caucus. i have respect for him, and when dr. spall -- and when dr. paul speaks, we listen. host: also, dr. tom coburn will join us tomorrow morning on the program. last call, go ahead, frank. caller: i would like to ask mr. gingrich -- host: frank, we can hear you. go ahead. caller: everything they asked for, they pushed it through.
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and when we get a democrat that takes over, we have a whole bunch of stuff up and everything else. he kept on for 80 years now, they push things through the way they want. they kept on for eight years now, they pushed things through that they want. every time some millionaire comes up there and once to push something through, they do it with flying colors. guest: thank you for your call. you are getting right down to the root of politics now, and certainly we only have two major parties in this country. every two years, every member of the house of representatives, all 435 of us, are up for reelection. and 1/3 of the senate, every two years. so literally, that you have this political bloodbath every two years for control. certainly, the democrats are
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strongly in control at this time, and we as the loyal minority, work hard to get back that control. when we are in control, the democrats -- and it is their job to do this, to try to block things that they truly are opposed to, that they think is bad policy, and in some instances, to block things for political reasons. the republican party does the same thing. that is the way our system works. i do not like it anymore than you do. i would like more bipartisanship and cooperation. we have great members on both sides of the aisle. many want -- maybe one of those days in our lifetime we can get beyond that and have a third or fourth party in this country to do that. but i feel your frustration, too. i'm just on the opposite side of the aisle and you are. host: will there be a bill on the president's desk this fall? guest: steve, i think there
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probably will be a bill on the president's desk this fall. i truly believe there is enough firepower behind that, enough determination. the president is highly popular. those ratings have stayed up that there will be a bill. but i hope that senator grassley and senator baucus and the finance committee can work in a bipartisan way. i know they are trying to do that. i hope that our democratic colleagues on the house side like mr. waxman, mr. rangel, speaker pelosi, and leader hoyer, will listen to our leader, john boehner. the republican task force has worked diligently over the last three months trying to come up with alternatives so that we can work together for the good of all americans, especially those who, through no fault of their own, are out there with no health insurance coverage.
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host: congressman phil gingrey, thank you very much for joining us. joining us in just a few minutes, senator bernie sanders, independent from the state of vermont. we will also turn our attention to foreign policy, the situation in the middle east, the elections in lebanon, and also shibley telhami will join us from the year sever city of maryland -- from the university of maryland. it is tuesday morning. "washington journal" continues in just a moment. >> harvard law professor elizabeth warren heads to the congressional oversight panel which monitors the spending of the $700 billion troubled asset relief program. she will testify this morning before the joint economic committee on the recent bank stress tests. we will have live coverage right
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after "washington journal" at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. and treasury secretary timothy geithner and the irs commissioner today before a senate appropriations subcommittee talking about their 2010 budget. at 2:30, health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius. you can also find them online at >> how is c-span funded? >> private donations? >> taxpayers? >> i do not really know. >> from public television? >> donations. >> i do not know where the money comes from? >> contributions from donors? >> 30 years ago, america's cable companies created c-span as a public service, a private business initiatives. no government mandate, no government money.


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