Video: Sen. Schumer on health bill: ‘It will get done’

  1. Closed captioning of: Sen. Schumer on health bill: ‘It will get done’

    >> guthrie at the white house . democratic senator chuck schumer of new york says health care reform can pass the senate but republican senator kay bailey hutchison of texas is calling the bill a disaster for our country. senators, good morning to both of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> morning.

    >> senator schumer, you got the 60 votes you needed, squeaked by in the senate over the weekend but it didn't take long for these four senators to come forward, three democrats and an independent, to say they're not going to vote for it in its presence form. it's dead without them. what deals can you make?

    >> well, bottom line is we never expected the bill leader reid put on the floor to pass exactly as-is, and everyone has their ideas. on the public option, for instance, reid's public option in the bill is moderate, centrist, and it doesn't give the public option, the government-run program, any advantages over insurance and it is an option people aren't forced into and state can opt out of it.

    >> do you have wiggle room here? because if you concede to the wishes of these four senators, you're going to lose votes on the other side.

    >> right. but here's the good news. i think everyone of the 60 democratic senators -- you can even tell in the tone of some of the remarks -- wants to have a bill. we all know we're going to have to give a little. that's what happened in the vote saturday night. that's what happened here. i believe at the end of the day, the moderate opt-out public option will prevail. there are other issues out there, but we will come together for this reason -- the health care system is broken in this sense. medicare will be broke in seven years. private insurance doubles in seven years. if we don't do anything, that's the worst situation and we have a good bill that cuts costs, reduces the deficits and covers more people.

    >> senator hutchison , let me ask you. this public option, for example, is something republicans have long opposed. now you have at least four senators on the other side opposing it as well. so what's your strategy now? do you just sit back and let democrats defeat this bill on their own?

    >> no. we will try to offer alternatives that could work, that can bring more people into the insurance coverage that we all want them to have at an affordable price. but the government takeover at a cost of $2.5 trillion over ten years starting in 2014 is going to add to our debt. it is going to add to costs and it is going to take away choices people have in health care . what we need is small business health plans. that's a very small part of the bill that's on the floor. if you took that out, that in itself could pass with some modifications and start the process of allowing our small businesses to offer health care --

    >> you think something like that could reach across to the guy i'm sitting across from right now and you guys can find an area of compromise on this?

    >> i do. because it's in their bill. but it doesn't include the take over of health care and an increase in the debt and doesn't cut medicare .

    >> first, the debt is decreased by the cbo, nonpittsbure partisan. much more importantly, they haven't put any plan on the floor. we asked them to put an alternative on the floor so we could debate. the republican party has not just no, no, no. we spent months negotiating with senators grassley, snowe. pressure on them from the party leadership to back out was enormous. we prefer to go tat with republicans. if we can reach compromise on some areas like the employer area, i worked on some parts with olympia snowe . yes. but we're not going to not pass a bill. the future of the country depends on getting something done or the government will go broke, private businesses will go broke and people will go broke paying for health care .

    >> go ahead, senator hutchison .

    >> matt, look. we are in a jobless situation in our country, an economic crisis. you are going to put taxes and mandates on business that are going to make that situation even worse . 1 in 10 people in america today do not have a job. now you're putting mandates and taxes on every individual who doesn't have health care and every business that we want to ask to hire people, and yet you're putting taxes an mandates on them that make it unaffordable. this is a terrible idea at this time. it is going to be a huge addition to our debt. it is going to hurt our ability to get our economy up and going and have alternatives. republicans have put alternatives on the floor. small business health plans, individual tax credits to buy their own health insurance to bring the costs down, these are things that would cost very little or nothing and would not include medicare and the take over of our health care system and take away our choices.

    >> i'm going to jump in here.

    >> look at the rationing --

    >> senator hutchison --

    >> -- it is the beginning of the rationing for many other of the health care --

    >> let me jump in here. clearly we're not going to settle this. i think people watching have to be pretty pessimistic just hearing the differences between the two of you. this doesn't sound like it is going to get done.

    >> matt, it will get done if we have to do it with just 60 democratic votes, we will come together and do it. we prefer republicans but we must get it done for the sake of the country.

    >> senator schumer, senator hutchison , thank you very much for your time this morning.

    >>> let's get a check of

updated 11/23/2009 10:24:37 AM ET 2009-11-23T15:24:37

A leading Senate Democrat said Monday his party is determined to push through a health care overhaul bill, President Barack Obama's top domestic issue, with or without support from opposition Republicans.

Republicans have made clear they aren't supporting the bill, which foretells of a rowdy Senate floor debate next month on legislation that would extend health care coverage to roughly 31 million Americans, crack down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits and curtail the growth of spending on medical care nationally.

"We prefer to go at it with Republicans if we can reach compromises in some areas," said Sen. Charles Schumer. "But we're not going to not pass a bill."

Schumer dueled with Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on a television morning news show in the wake of a key Senate vote Saturday night that advanced a 10-year, $959 billion health bill to full debate. Hutchison argued that the overhaul would require higher taxes and expensive requirements on businesses that would weigh heavily in a recession.

Congressional Democrats are trying to resolve differences within their rank and file over abortion, taxes and letting the government sell health insurance as a competitor with private insurers. Those are all crucial policy questions, and House and Senate Democrats have taken conflicting approaches.

Obama campaigned on a promise to overhaul health care in the United States — the only developed country that does not have a comprehensive national health care plan. Nearly 50 million of the country's more than 300 million people are uninsured. The government provides coverage for the poor and elderly, but most Americans rely on private insurance, usually received through their employers.

Appearing on NBC's "Today" show Monday, Schumer said, "We all know we have to give a little. ... If we don't do anything, that is the worst situation, and we have a good bill." He said lawmakers must come together because "the health care system is broken."

Schumer argued that Republican critics "haven't put any alternative on the floor."

Video: Health reform's fragile coalition Hutchison called it "a terrible idea at this time."

The Democratic measures would leave 12 million or more eligible Americans uninsured. Many middle-class families who'd now be required to buy coverage would still find the premiums a stretch, even with government aid. A new federal fund to provide temporary coverage for people with health problems would quickly run out of cash.

The House passed its health care bill 220-215 earlier this month. The Senate cleared the way Saturday for debate on legislation unveiled by Majority Leader Harry Reid. The bill, a compromise between two committee-passed versions, could undergo significant changes as senators amend it during weeks of arduous debate ahead.

Both bills would require all Americans to carry health insurance, with government help to make premiums more affordable. They would ban insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more to people with health problems. They would set up new insurance markets for those who now have the hardest time finding and keeping coverage — self-employed people and small businesses. Americans insured through big employer plans would gain new consumer protections but wouldn't face major changes.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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