tv [untitled] CSPAN June 12, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
calling on the democrats' line. good morning, ed. you're on the air. caller: the morning. i have retired from general motors. [unintelligible] how is this going to help us? this health care? guest: i take it he was wondering how the health care policies of was talking about are going to help. i think that the key question actually isn't how to help retirees in these dysfunctional systems that already been set up. how the transition to a new system is -- that is going to work better for a generation. . .
have already been in the old system, but to create something new that younger people in particular might be able to find attractive and more affordable. host: our next caller is on the independent line. jordan is calling from portland, oregon. welcome, you are on the air. caller: thank you very much. a i was curious to hear your thoughts on bikes -- >> i was curious to hear your thoughts on the single payer system. system. why health care for a populace should be considered a matter for private industry, and why we should not look at it more of a socialist or a public interest standpoint. why should these things be profited upon instead of considered a matter of public interest? guest: well, that is a meet taty
question. i think it is a mistake to make this division between profit and the public interest. when of the reasons for markets worked is that the profit motive often serves the public interest. when it has not worked, that is often the result of misguided government policies structuring that market in foolish ways. i think that president obama and a lot of leading democrats made an accurate political judgment that the single payer is too far left for the american public. host: you have criticized deficit spending what do you think the economy doing right now? do you see it improving? d c signs that it might be getting better? guest: well, people who are paid to the economic forecasters do not all agree on this. there are some green shoots here. i think that in the second half of 2008, the fall of 2008 in particular, you had a real drop in monetary velocity and the
speed with which money is changing hands. and you had really a consumer- driven panic, and i think that that has really been subsiding, that consumer confidence is up. i think we are seeing job losses start to decline as well. host: our next call is from the republican line. from ohio. caller: good morning. i really hate to say this, but the ignorance and the stupidity of some people just absolutely astounds me. the single payer system that you have in canada and in europe, they actually have it placed 1.2 billion pounds into that system just to keep afloat because they have all these waiting periods. as a matter of fact, on c-span here the other day, they had a guy -- from england who was crowing about an 18-week waiting
period. in canada, people had been waiting for transplants for seven years. you have the epa that they brought up yesterday as a good -- but you have the dea that they brought up yesterday as it possibly -- i have had several surgeries that had had to pay for myself. one, i actually had a bone chard sitting through -- sitting next to a major vein. one bump, and i could have bled to death. the v.a. refused to do the surgery. you people out there who want all this stuff, you need to wake up. please. guest: when you have a government run health care systems, you can have the saving of money by rationing care.
or you can have systems that do not ration care, like medicare, but the cost expenses there go through the roof. host: what exactly is the single payer system? guest: single payer is a euphemism for a national government provision of health insurance. the government pays for all health insurance, there are not any private health insurance companies anymore. you have one entity that pays all the bills. i oppose it because, you know, i think we have got extensive experience that markets work better than government, including health care. and the single payer system would create all kinds of perverse consequences, including rationing. host: our next caller is on the independent line from new york. is it water leak at? are you with us?
i think we have lost him. we will never know. hi there. caller: i am from new york. i would like to know, does the young man had any knowledge as to whether -- i know that in the state of new york, i receive medicare and so did my husband we pay into it because we are both employees of the state or a municipality. what i would like to know is, i found out recently when i tried to pay money back to medicare for something that is run by a private company and certain areas. i would like to know whether he knows which states or if there are states besides the state of new york that pay a private company to handle medicare and medicaid guest: well, there are all kinds of private
participation in the program. for example, medicare part d, which was introduced in 2003 as part of the prescription drug benefit, allows private delivery of services and benefits, but that tends to be decided by the individual. so i am not entirely sure what the caller is asking about. i would have to know a little bit more about the details of her situation. host: our next caller is phillies from kansas city, kansas, on the democrat's lead. caller: good morning. i believe something has to be done with medicaid and medicare, but i also think there has to be something that has to be regulated somehow with a dental costs to america, in the way prices are quoted to patients because workers are paying for because workers are paying for dental costs , but some of these programs are offering 28 e's,
which means the patient pays 20% of the bill. then the company pays 80% of the bill. we end up paying more than 20% after what is quoted to us. he has been going on for years, and i think that area needs to be looked at to see what can be done to decrease the deficit in that area. host: well, health in general suffers from a lack of transparent pricing, and i think in large part it is because it has not been allowed to be a flourishing private market the way other markets are. host: our next caller is jim on the republicans line, calling from leesburg, virginia. caller: good morning. the thing that is a little bit disturbing about this whole
debate -- my company does some work with the health industry. people are terrified about what might be coming down the pike. anytime the government gets involved with something, from vdot all the way across the state of virginia, they mess it up. it is frightening to see what this administration is planning. if they start nationalizing industries, it is going to be similar to lawsuits with doctors. doctors are not going into practice because they cannot afford a malpractice insurance. if you nationalize industry, people do not want to be capped on what they can make. in terms of the cost of health care, a lot of the illegal immigrants getting health care in our country, somebody is paying for that. that money gets recycled back into the industry, it does not just go away. guest: i think that the caller is right that illegal immigration does impose all sorts of costs on people, not
just in the health-care area but also in other areas. but of course it is also the tip of an iceberg. we have a dramatically inefficient, wasteful, and dysfunctional health care system, even leaving aside illegal immigration. host: you have mentioned that the republican party is searching for its identity after last fall's election. a usa today poll found 1/3 of republicans have an unfavorable opinion of their party. why might that be? guest: there probably is not a unified critique among that 1/3. some people are upset because they think too many republicans have been to accommodationist, too liberal, too pro-government. some people are concerned or upset because they think the party is too conservative, maybe too far to the right on social issues, for example. so you have that dissatisfaction, but you do not
have that singular focus of opposition. host: how do you think the party can coalesce? guest: i think you are seeing some: lessons in the party. -- obama is replacing bush, so the divisions that were created by bush and the bad memories and so forth are giving way to a sort of unified opposition to the obama agenda. host: do you think health care might be a part of that? it seems like republicans are finding a more unified voice on health care. we had feedback from republicans as president obama went to talk about health care yesterday in wisconsin. senator orrin hatch called the health care plan the complete liberal mishmash of ideas. guest: if there is a nearly unified or unified republican opposition to big government approach is on health care,
combined with an alternative approach that addresses people's actual concerns about health care in a more market-friendly way, i think that would be extremely important to a republican revival. it is hard to see such a revival happening is that does not take place. host: our next call, martha, on the republican line, from austin, texas. -- on the independent line, from austin, texas. caller: first of all, you made the comment about you should have private markets and the market economy works. but it does not, or we would not have to bail out gm and all those other companies. second of all, single payer would be run like medicare. medicare -- i am over 70, and it works fine. it runs at low cost, so i do not
understand why you are not more or less promoting that. also, you would be given a choice so if you wanted your own company, you could keep your own plan. but also, you need to take insurance companies out of it because insurance companies are making these huge profits. they can turn you down if you have the pre-existing condition. they can say, no, we're not going to pay for that particular procedure. we need single payer health care for all, and it would run like medicare at low cost. guest: well, medicare is currently on affordable. as president obama has saysid, t is a big drop ever of projected -- is a big driver of projected insolvency.
but it does not a good -- it does not do a good job of policing fraud. it just shovels money out the door. that increase its total cost, so i just think that the caller is wrong about what a medicare base model would mean for the country's fiscal health. host: terry joins us on the democrats' line from chicago, illinois. caller: i just want to say that i believe in what the president is trying to do. if it was easy, it would have been done a long time ago. i have seen your guest several times, and he is definitely -- i will not say right wing, but anything that involves the president, you can believe that he will be in that position. he just made the comment about medicare, why the costs are high. but the president also address that he has a plan to overhaul medicare. tell the whole story. i love c-span, but i assume you
have another guest coming on that will have a different view. but i will say, people, do not just take what he says literally because he tends to talk very negative about the president, and his view, anything about obama is going to be skewed that way. well, you know, i think that it is right that the administration claims that it is going to have all kinds of reforms and savings in medicare, but it really has not put forward a whole lot for example, there say they want $300 billion in specified savings from medicare and medicaid. well, are we supposed to just take that on faith? it is true my political views are not the same as president obama's, and more often than not i disagree with him. your caller is absolutely right. you should probably have more sources of information on most issues than just me.
host: from georgia, jack is calling us on the republican line. caller: good one. let me make two or three quick statements. this is a perfect combination to talk about obama. arbuckle national review" and "the wall street journal -" -- y god. the previous caller, you are talking to a 100% disabled. i get all my drugs delivered to me at my house. i am sitting here right now waiting for federal express to deliver them. over 50 different drugs that would cost me, at wal-mart, about $700 a month. i have had numerous operations. all i have ever paid is $8 a
month. if he is paying for his own operations, he has to be borderline retarded. the statement that people make all the time about canada patients coming to america, there is a radio that the satellite, those all over the world, there is a man that comes their every afternoon. he has a standard line open all the time for anybody from canada, england, france, who wants to call and criticized their health care system. i listen to him every night. it is a repeat every night about 7:00. i have never heard a person yet call and criticize their system. he gets a lot of calls from canada. everyone of them praises their system and say this is nothing but republican talking points.
guest: ok, i have no idea what that last bit was thaabout. it is to these other countries, -- it is true that these other countries, they do not have full satisfaction from everyone in the country. a lot of other countries have been moving in a more market- friendly direction. countries that already have the government-run systems. as for the v.a., my impression is that the quality varies from place to place and some people are extremely happy with it. one of the places it seems -- one of the things it seems to do extremely well is integrate care, and that i think is a function of the fact that the fiber market -- that the private market does not do the great job of that. if you switch jobs or if your employer switches insurers, your care tends to be disrupted. .
guest: i think that is a good point. when you create a system that -- where insurance expenses are not being used in a classic way that insurance is used to protect against the risk of catastrophic event, then people become less cash constant -- conscious and the system goes haywire. i do not think you need to outlaw that. i think you need a system where people can see it is less expensive to them to buy an insurance policy that allows for some out-of-pocket expenses up front. us from the independent line from birmingham, alabama. caller: i have a friend of mine
who worked for years and the construction industry, made good money and had insurance, blue cross, got laid off, could not find a job so start working for myself. went to get insurance, $800 a month but they would not cover any existing illness and he had an existing illness from a car wreck. what do people like that do? people like that can get in to socialized medicine and have some kind of insurer to help them because it is wrong, it hundred dollars a month, and no existing alliances? -- $800 a month. what if he had cancer and lost his job? guest: that is something we were just talking about, you have the fragmented insurance system. if you had a thriving individual insurance market, you could buy a policy at 18, a relatively cheap policy and keep renewing it even as you acquired these new health conditions, that is
what you are assuring against. the problem is you have a system that forces people to make frequent changes in their insurance policies, and once you get sick, you are not getting insurance anymore because we already know what the expenses are going to be. host: looking at the international stage, what is your opinion or impression of president obama's speech last week in cairo? there has been some concern for criticism that he was sort of too apologetic for past u.s. actions. is that your opinion? guest: i don't think the logic of that speech in a lot of places where the sort of historical accuracy of it really holds up, but that is not the way you evaluate a presidential speech, particularly one that is geared toward diplomacy. you evaluate it based on its likely effectiveness. i think that having a non- traditional u.s. president demographically speaking say we are not hostile to muslims could
have a beneficial impact. some of the fundamental policies i have some serious concerns about, particularly with respect to israel and iran. but judged as a speech, my tentative verdict that it could be an effective speech. so, that caller that says i am always against obama should pay attention here. host: what do you think the u.s. should do regarding north korea? concerns about missile launches. there were two journalists currently being detained. guest: north korea and iran have for many years bent these extremely difficult problems where it is hard to see any solution. one thing that the strike me is the approach we have used for the past few years under obama and under bush doesn't seem to be working and maybe it is time for a little bit more of the silent treatment, maybe we should not be rewarding them with attention and promises of
international legitimacy and respect when the act up. host: william now joins us on the democrats' line calling from winter haven, florida. caller: the first thing i wanted to say is i do not have any love for the va system. i'm 50 percent disability veteran and i live in winter haven, fla., and the closest veterans hospital is in tampa. no buses go from here to the va hospital in tampa. so if you are sick and you got to go to a hospital, you can't find one around here, you have got to go from here 30 miles away to another county and catch a bus -- the driver might be there to take you to the hospital and then he might not be there. this person 100 percent disabled, i think he was wrong because if you are 100 percent
disabled you could go to any hospital and the va will pay for it. guest: of first of all, i am sorry about that situation, which sounds really rough. it underscores i think my point that -- again, just my impression -- have not been detailed study of it, is that people's experiences with and be a tend to vary widely in part based on where they are. host: john joins us from the republican line calling from tampa, florida. caller: good morning. i can't understand how the government can do anything. medicare and medicaid will go bankrupt in 10 years and i can imagine if somebody like pelosi and harry reid in charge of health care, i can imagine the red tape and everything else and in -- is in chaos, so why would you think health care would be any different? i heard six politicians, but from canada and four from england, say, whether you do, don't go socialized medicine. people talk about prescriptions
in canada, but they have two boards -- but only% 10% to the united states. there was not anything in the stimulus package to help of the veterans and stuff like that -- why pigs stink, monorails from california to nevada, and we have a big problem with what obama calls mexican immigrants and really illegal aliens, you have them in a hospital, 600 here in the bill on each one is $1 million. but i n s will not come and take them away because they cater to the illegal immigrants, which obama seems to care more about them than he does about us -- he will not help the people that just laid off. guest: you know, what the caller was saying about politicians running health care, one of the basic issues in this debate is that there is just an enormous degree of confidence and i would
say over confidence on the part of the people in power in washington, d.c., right now, about capacity of government. it is not just in health care. it is things like energy, things like economic management, the idea that the federal government would be able to make competent decisions in the car industry, for example. i think that is extremely dubious. host: some of the bank's net of taken tarp money are now paying the federal government back. you see it as a sign of success? guest: the funny thing is, the federal government has been trying to discourage banks from getting money back because they don't want to encourage people to think less highly of the companies that are not paying the top money back, but it is sort is growing. i do think it may be in part a sign of success in the sense that the financial system certainly looks much more stable than last four digits last fall,
but also a sign that people don't want to enter the political thicket, they don't want the conditions that come with tarp money and they did not want the possible future conditions or second guessing from congress that might come with the funds. host: detroit, michigan. john joins us on independent line. you are on the air. john, good morning, can you hear us? caller: good morning. i'm a retired businessman, 40 years of international business and i lived in canada and england and i have family that lived in france and i hear all of these stories of the problems of that people have with health care in this country -- these countries, and i am sure we can find problems but the majority of people are totally happy with their health care in these countries. the thing that amazes me -- i hear all of these people calling in, knowledgeable of the problems in canada and england and so on, totally ignoring the
fact that this country has more than enough problems, that is why we are discussing health care in this country. just give one example of the health care in this country, our viewers familiar, for example, with the fact that just a few years ago, the second-largest health-care provider in this country, talking about a hospital group had dozens of heart operations which were totally unnecessary and for which they have subsequently been paying back the government's and to the people will have the heart surgery. why don't we speak about the problems in this country that need to be fixed and not concentrate upon the few items that could be introduced from canada were england and anywhere else? guest: wrote well, i would say that there actually is an enormous amount of attention and justified attention to the problems of the american health-
care system. the reason of these callers are bringing up the problems and other country is because those countries are held up as models. that we need to move towards, and the caller to think of also rightly saying that, we need to look at the downside to. the point he was making about unnecessary procedures actually and hurting people's health, told a legitimate point. i would note that the private sector insurance plans have been better at preventing that sort of thing than, say, medicare has because medicare has tended to actually prefer slate -- perversely reward people for unnecessary procedures and then pay for the corrective procedures the original procedures necessitated. host: you have weighed in in some of your writing about the killing of dr. tiller who performed abortions in kansas. just to take a step back, tell us your take on this and how you entered the debate? sort