updated 12/11/2009 10:53:36 AM ET 2009-12-11T15:53:36

Guests: Nicole Lamoureux, Sheri Wood, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, Jane Hamsher, Ernest Istook, Todd Webster, Dr. Bridget McCandless

ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  Welcome to THE ED SHOW, coming to you live from Kansas City, Missouri, on day two of the free health care clinic.

I‘ve got a lot to say about the people that I‘ve met here today.  They have done a fabulous job.  We‘ll get to that in just a moment.

But first, this is the latest from Capitol Hill. 

There‘s a lot of disappointment coming from the Progressive Caucus.  The public option is reportedly dead.  But hold the phone.  There‘s some hope tonight.

The latest Senate compromise deal may not be the final bill that gets 60 votes.  Joe Lieberman of Connecticut now says he‘s “troubled” by the Medicare buy-in.  Olympia Snowe has already said that she is not on board with it. 

And on the House side, Nancy—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi restated her support for the public option in her briefing today.  But afterwards, she told reporters she likes the idea of a Medicare buy-in. 

Pelosi said this: “There‘s certainly a great deal of appeal about putting people 55 and older on Medicare.  That is something that the people in the House have advocated for years.”  Speaker Pelosi says the House is on standby to go to conference and there is still a glimmer of hope that could happen before the end of the year. 

Well, now on to today‘s story. 

If I may, there are many stories through the career of a reporter. 

This one has grabbed me unlike anything I have ever covered before. 

We are coming to you tonight, broadcasting from the Kansas City Convention Center, where over the past two days, 2,186 people have received free medical and dental care.  The clinic has been organized by the National Association of Free Clinics, a nonprofit group that consists of over 1,200 free clinics across the United States. 

This is the third clinic that MSNBC is proud to be a part of within the last three months.  “COUNTDOWN” host, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has done a fantastic job.  He called on his viewers to donate money to the cause.  I have to say tonight, you have done it.  Over 25,000 people have donated just under $2 million to help these clinics and make it all happen. 

Folks, I have just spent the day witnessing the best and the worst of America.  Sixteen hundred volunteers have come through the door today, including 650 medical personnel.  The stories, they are just absolutely amazing. 

Forty percent of the people here have not seen a doctor since 2003.  These are working Americans.  Eighty-three percent of the folks that came through the doors here today at the convention center, they have jobs.  A lot of them are working two jobs.  But they have no health care or they can‘t afford the health care premiums. 

No one here—no one here, anyone I talked to, nobody‘s looking for a handout.  In fact, some of yesterday‘s patients were so moved that they came back today to volunteer. 

These are hard-working members of the middle class.  A family with three girls passed through the gates today.  An 8-year-old had never been to the dentist before.  Several people had been in such bad shape that they were rushed to the hospital.  The majority of diagnoses are life-threatening diseases like diabetes and hypertension. 

It‘s been a very meaningful day for all of us here. 

Tell me what you think in our telephone poll tonight.  Get ready to dial: 1-877-ED-MSNBC. 

My question is, are you OK with a health care reform bill without a public option?  Press one for “yes” and press “2” for no.  Again, the number is 1-877-ED-MSNBC.  I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show. 

Joining me now is Nicole Lamoureux.  She is the executive director of the National Association of Free Clinics.  And Sheri Wood is the president of the National Association of Free Clinics.

Ladies, I have to tell you, I am moved.  This has been—the president of the United States has talked about volunteering.  We have seen it at the highest level here today. 

Nicole, it‘s been fantastic. 

NICOLE LAMOUREUX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE

CLINICS:  Well, thank you.  Thank you for being here with us.  It is absolutely moving.  Over 2,000 volunteers and over 2,000 patients.  And as you said, this is the best and worst of America. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, tell us about the doctors.  I talked to one doctor from Massachusetts.  He was involved in a free clinic earlier.  He was so moved, he wanted to come back. 

And he said the stories are very similar amongst the people.  They can‘t afford insurance.  They have a job, but the premiums are too high.  They can‘t afford their prescription medicine.  He says it was just amazing how people from different parts of Kansas City were here today, but they all seemed to have the same story. 

LAMOUREUX:  They all have the same story.  All of our patients, as you say, they are all working.  And when you don‘t have health care, everything in your life goes wrong.  It‘s a domino effect for you. 

You‘re worried about your job.  You‘re worried about your health. 

You‘re worried about your kids. 

And what we have seen here is that patients—it took a lot of pride to swallow, to come to a free clinic in the freezing cold.  But we also saw doctors who came out, who stopped their own practices today and said, I want to be a part of this.  And that‘s going around across the country at free clinics every single day. 

SCHULTZ:  Sherry, there was a wave of people that came through during the lunch hour.  People got off for lunch and they came over and registered, hoping that they could come back later. 

What has the response been like?  You have got people waiting outside right now to come in. 

SHERI WOOD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE CLINICS:  We do.  We have people that are still waiting in line to come in, and our clinic is to close at 6:00.  So, we‘ll be here later tonight and taking care of them. 

And we see patients every day here.  We turn 250 people away every week at our clinic.  And we‘re just overpowered by the number of people that are sitting and waiting for care.  We‘re trying to make sure everyone that‘s in line will get care this week, if not today. 

SCHULTZ:  You almost have to talk to somebody to believe it.  I met a lady today, she hasn‘t seen a doctor in 11 years. 

WOOD:  Right.  You just don‘t understand that this happens every day.  And these are people that could be living next door to you, and they have gone without for so long.  And they are just so excited that something like this has come. 

SCHULTZ:  Tell us about the National Association of Free Clinics.  It started years ago.  And is it continuing to grow? 

WOOD:  It is continuing to grow.  We started in 2000/2001.  We realized we needed an association, and several people got together and formed a board.

And we have grown, new members every year.  We have got great leadership with Nicole.  She is helping us go forward. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, what happens to people that come here?  They get diagnosed.  They‘ll see a doctor and a doctor will—then what happens? 

WOOD:  What‘s going to happen is, if they need a specialist—and we hook them up either with one of the safety net clinics or with a network of specialists that we have here in town that will help us see our patients so that they are not just dropped.  And then there is a continuity of care.  They will go become to the clinic that they came from.  So, everyone leaves here today with a piece of paper that tells them which clinics are close to them so that hopefully this woman won‘t go another 11 years. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, I was just told that the waiting line outside may be four or five hours.  And one of your personnel went up and told a gentleman, oh, it‘s going to be about four or five hours.  He said, “Well, that‘s how long it‘s over at the emergency room.  Here I‘m not going to get a bill.”

WOOD:  Right.

LAMOUREUX:  Right.

SCHULTZ:  I mean, this is a fabulous break for these people, and a lot of these folks who come her are going to find out something about themselves medically that they didn‘t know. 

WOOD:  Well, we found that all day.

LAMOUREUX:  Exactly. 

WOOD:  Some people just came in because they didn‘t feel good, and then they found out that they have hypertension and diabetes and had no idea what was making them feel bad. 

SCHULTZ:  A lot of these -- 83 percent—I said this earlier -- 83 percent of the people that are here have got a job. 

WOOD:  Right. 

SCHULTZ:  There‘s two kinds of folks here.  They are working two jobs, a couple of part-time jobs put together, and they don‘t qualify for health care benefits where they work. 

LAMOUREUX:  Exactly. 

SCHULTZ:  Or they work somewhere where health care is not offered to them. 

LAMOUREUX:  We see that all the time.  Again, at all of our clinics. 

In fact, here, today, we actually had two contractors that worked—subcontractors for this event that actually had to come here and have care for us.  We had a man who walked in today who said to me, “I know I have a rotten tooth.  I can‘t wait in line because I have to get to my job.”  This is the same story we‘re hearing over and over and over again. 

SCHULTZ:  I‘m going to make a call later in this broadcast tonight for people watching MSNBC to donate money, because, folks, what I have seen today is America at its best, volunteers and people who are stepping forward to get help for their families.

A lady came in, as I said earlier.  Her daughter had never seen a dentist.  She‘s 8 years old. 

I ran into a gentleman tonight who runs an auto body shop here in Kansas City.  His wife is a hairdresser.  They don‘t make enough money.  They can‘t afford the insurance.  They have got three kids.  They were all smiles, had an opportunity to come here and see a doctor. 

I met another lady, a graduate of the University of Nebraska.  She came here to get some female testing done, but she also came here tonight because she needed a physical, because she needs a physical to get a job. 

And I asked her—I said, “Well, what profession are you in?”  She said, “Teaching.  I want to be able to substitute teach.  I would really like to get a full-time job, but I want to be a substitute teacher.”

Now, this is a graduate of a university, University of Nebraska, the Cornhuskers, big time.  She‘s here at a free clinic because she wants to get a physical. 

I said, “Well, how much is a physical?”  She said, “A hundred dollars.”  I said, “You don‘t have $100?” 

She says, “That‘s lot of money to me, Ed.  A hundred dollars is a lot of money to me.  I‘m here, this is a break for me.  I‘m going to be able to get all my medical testing done and I‘m going to be able to go back to the school district, and I‘m going to be able to sign up.  I might get a full-time job out of this.  I‘m going to be able to sign up and get a job as a teacher, and that‘s what I went to school for.”

I‘m floored by the average Americans that are coming through the door here at the Kansas City Convention Center.  Average Americans that love the country, that have played by the rules.

They‘ve paid their taxes. They‘ve abided by the laws.  They‘re contributors to society.  They want to work, but they can‘t afford what is out there.

And one of the things that I noticed looking over the shoulder of some of the people today is that they get into conversations with the doctors and they won‘t let them go.  They are so appreciative.  And, of course, the doctor‘s got to move them along—well, we‘ve got another 1,000 people we have to meet here.  It‘s emotional. 

LAMOUREUX:  It‘s very emotional.  I‘ve been doing this job for three years, and it‘s never enough. 

These people work every single day.  And like you say, they work hard. 

And it‘s not enough. 

They feel as if they don‘t deserve health care.  We had many patients who came back to volunteer because they said, I didn‘t think I deserved the health care without giving something back.  And they did. 

SCHULTZ:  Sheri, how much does it cost to put this on?  I mean, people donating money for the free clinics across the country.  This facility doesn‘t come cheap. 

Now, obviously, you have got volunteers.  The lights cost money, the whole thing.  What does it cost to put this on? 

WOOD:  We think that we‘re averaging about $200,000 for a clinic day.  And for us here, it would be about that for the two days.  They are expensive, but if then you look at the number of visits we are doing, then it‘s not that expensive. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, can you do this all over the country?  I mean, we‘re going to be inundated by people saying, hey, can I have a free clinic, can your organization organize and come to our state or our town? 

I mean, if all you need is a facility, I‘m sure there might be some local movers and shakers in, say, Peoria, Illinois, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that might say, hey, we‘ve got a convention center, come use our facility.  I mean, were can you go?  What can you do? 

LAMOUREUX:  Well, we‘re looking at places, one, that have a facility, but also where we have networks of people that we can pull together to pull this off during the middle of the week to get over 100 providers, doctors and nurse practitioners.  We weren‘t sure if we could do it, and we were just astounded at the people that came forward that said we want to help you make this happen. 

So we‘re looking at that, and then we‘re also looking at the issue, are there places to refer patients afterwards?  So it‘s not just in and out. 

SCHULTZ:  I was impressed at how organized it was.  People would sign up online, and then that way you wouldn‘t have just a rush of people all at once, they would have an assigned time of when to come.  But now that line is five hours long outside the door.  It‘s a credit to all of you. 

It‘s fabulous work that you‘ve been doing.  God bless you for what your he doing.  Keep it going. 

Where do we go next?  I want to go to the next one. 

LAMOUREUX:  Well, we are evaluating our different states.  We will be going somewhere next year, definitely. 

SCHULTZ:  No doubt about it.  Thanks so much for joining us. 

LAMOUREUX:  Thank you for having us. 

WOOD:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Sheri and Nicole, they do great work. 

You know, we as Americans, we‘ve got to wake up.  You know, if you watch THE ED SHOW, our Ed team here at MSNBC, we have been talking about health care and health care reform for a long time.  And I get this sense that maybe it would be really good tonight if I were to invite a group of senators to come to the next free health care clinic, because you can hold a town hall meeting, and people might show up and say a few things about taxes or what they want here, what they want there, but when you have time to focus in on a group of people that can tell their story, you walk away with a different attitude.  You walk away with a feeling that we have got to do something, that this country is better than that.

And I think that‘s what this is about as much as anything else, is messaging to the American people that we cannot sit here ominously silent and do nothing.  This is the United States of America.  Our country is better than this. 

And I find it very interesting that the doctor that I talked to today from Massachusetts who told me the story about how the story was all the same, that these people can‘t afford their prescription drugs.  Isn‘t it ironic, the day that we are sitting here in Kansas City, Byron Dorgan is trying to get enough votes for the Prescription Drug Importation Act, OK?  Something that the pharmaceutical companies don‘t want. 

The fact is, is that what we pay for prescription drugs in this country is far greater than what they pay in other countries.  And we can‘t have our pharmacies deal with those foreign countries.  It would be a savings of only about $20 billion a year. 

Senators, you need to get to one of these free clinics.  And if you are not moved, then you‘re not human. 

Coming up, President Obama was put in an awkward position today.  After doubling down on the war in Afghanistan, he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I‘ll tell you how I think he did. 

And the Tea Party crowd is getting stronger.  The Democrats are looking weaker.  I‘ll tell you why 2010 might be uglier than you think. 

Plus, one of Tiger Woods‘ alleged mistresses is speaking out for the first time, and there is a report that his wife has decided to stay with the marriage. 

I‘ll give you all the latest in the “Playbook” coming up. 

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW from Kansas City, here on MSNBC.  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, coming to you live from the free clinic at the convention center here in Kansas City, Missouri.  This is ground zero for health care reform. 

These Americans have been failed by the for-profit private insurance system.  No doubt about it. 

They are people who have jobs, but not benefits; people to who make too much for Medicaid, but not enough to  afford the outrageous premiums.  The system, my friends, is broken.  This clinic is proof that the private sector flat out doesn‘t work. 

Unfortunately, the new Senate deal not only doubles down on a rigged system, it‘s about to reward the insurance industry 40 million new customers.  Now, there are some good things in this bill, but they‘re not good enough. 

Joining me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters from California here on THE ED SHOW tonight.

Congresswoman, I appreciate your time. 

From what you‘re hearing, what can you live with, what do you struggle with at this hour? 

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA:  Well, let me tell you, Ed, I am so disappointed that the Senate has come one something drastically different from what we put out in the House.  This business of getting rid of the public option and just expanding Medicare a bit for those between 55 and 65 does not make up for public option. 

I am really worried about it.  But, of course, we don‘t know what the Senate is doing. 

Supposedly, these five -- 10 Democrats who have gotten together to try and come up with a compromise may be changing this as we are talking right now.  So, I‘m not happy with what I‘m hearing. 

You‘re absolutely right.  This means that the private insurance companies will be on this so-called health exchange, supposedly with some negotiations by the Office of Personnel Management.  But we don‘t—I don‘t see how we are going to create competition the way we would have done with a public option.  So, I‘m worried about this bill. 

SCHULTZ:  Now, isn‘t it true, Congresswoman, that the Medicare offer that could be on the table with this bill would only deal with the people 55 and older who do not have insurance now?  I mean, if you‘re 55 and older and you have insurance, you just can‘t jump into Medicare. 

That‘s why it‘s only going to affect some three million people.  Is that correct? 

WATERS:  You‘re absolutely correct.  Those people who have insurance would either keep the insurance company that is covering them or choose from one that will be on the exchange. 

And so, it seems to me that this opening up of Medicare for this small group of people, it‘s like a teaser or a trick to say that we are expanding it somehow and appealing to people in that age group so that they can get more support for it.  I don‘t like this at all. 

SCHULTZ:  Would you vote against a bill that does not have a public option?  And where will the Progressive Caucus come down on this bill if it doesn‘t have a public option?  Some form of true competition for the insurance industry? 

WATERS:  At this moment, based on what I know, I am poised to vote against this bill.  I don‘t know where the entire Progressive Caucus will come down on this bill.  There‘s a lot we don‘t know about it.

The devil is in the details, and so we‘re trying to learn as quickly as we can what this is all about.  And right now, I‘m not happy with it.  And I would not vote for it as it is told to me today. 

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman, can you give us a sense tonight here on THE ED SHOW what kind of response are progressives on the Hill getting from people around the country?  I mean, I think there‘s a sense that people think, oh, it‘s over, we don‘t have to call. 

I mean, it would seem to me that this is the 11th hour, that this fight is not over.  And are you still getting a lot of response from constituents?  Are you still hearing from Americans, and do you want to hear from them? 

WATERS:  Well, let me just say this—we should be hearing from more Americans.  Unfortunately, Americans are not getting all of the updated information. 

As a matter of fact, the negotiations go on in the back room with 10 Democrats over there.  And so we‘re getting bits and pieces out, and that which they put out we understand, that, oh, no, not all of the Democrats are on board, they have sent it over to be scored.  That is, to be told how much it‘s going to cost. 

And some of the senators are waiting until they get that information back before they even come on board.  So, we just don‘t know what is happening.  And I‘m sure the American public does not know or understand.  They should be calling in, demanding answers, demanding information to try and make their senators tell them everything they know about the backroom deal that‘s going on. 

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman, keep up the fight.  Don‘t give up.  I won‘t give up.  We‘ve got to win this thing.  We‘ve got to have some form of a public option. 

And I appreciate your time tonight.  Thanks so much for joining us. 

WATERS:  Well, thank you so much for being such a great advocate for the people.  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up—well, I‘ve seen a lot of people here today at this Kansas City free clinic, and it‘s just been absolutely amazing.  These people have just been coming through the door like you wouldn‘t believe, average Americans looking for a break, people who have just gotten off work. 

I‘m told that the line outside is getting longer and longer.  The volunteers have done a phenomenal job, 1,600 volunteers.  Over 600 medical personnel here tonight not getting a dime, just wanting to help their fellow American. 

WATERS:  That‘s great. 

SCHULTZ:  And the wait is rather long, but it is, it really is fantastic.  Thank you, Congresswoman.  All right. 

WATERS:  Thanks. 

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, “Psycho Talk” poster boy Glenn Beck has laid out his health care plan.  He wants to end Medicare altogether. 

“The Beckster” makes a return trip to the “Psycho Talk” zone, bottom of the hour. 

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  And in “Psycho Talk” tonight, king of the Beckerheads, Glenn Beck.

On his radio show, Glenn started attacking the Senate health care bill.  Then he offered a psycho solution of his own. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Why don‘t you just abolish Medicare, because it‘s so wildly corrupt and out of control?  Right.  It‘s so inefficient, it is so bad, and there‘s $47 billion in suspected wrong payments—right, OK—in Medicare. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Abolish Medicare?  Come on, Beckster.  Ninety-four percent of the people that have it, love it.

Medicare is much more efficient than the private insurance sector.  Upwards (ph) of 40 percent of private insurance premiums go to administrative expenses for Medicare. 

Now, those costs are less than two percent of expenditures.  Also, before Medicare existed, more than 25 percent of seniors went without health insurance. 

So, it seems like we should probably keep Medicare around.  But, you know, Glenn, if you really want to abolish things that are wildly corrupt and out of control, maybe you should TiVo your own show and then think about canceling it.  We‘d like that, because the way to get rid of Medicare is totally out of control psycho-talk. 

Coming up, the president talking about war and made a Hitler

reference, while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize today, an award a lot of

Americans don‘t think he deserved.  I will give you my take on this in just a moment. 

Plus, progressives, like me, are mad as hell at the Senate health care compromise.  The co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, will blast off in just a moment.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW in Kansas City.  I have talked about this a lot on the radio show.  When the clock strikes 12 on December 31st of this year, it is going to be a war zone to the midterms.  Elected Democrats will be fighting to maintain their majority.  The Tea Party crowd is mobilizing at this hour.  But progressives are not.  They came out in 2006 and 2008.  They delivered the Congress and the White House to the Democrats, no doubt about it. 

But they are not getting fired up this time around.  Instead, what they are getting is they are getting health care capitulation to a handful of Democratic obstructionists out there, like Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson.  In my opinion, the Democrats have made a fundamental miscalculation of their base.  The public option is not some whacked out, lefty idea.  Come to one of these clinics and ask these people about that.

Look at the polls, two new polls out today.  In the national Marist Poll, 58 percent say the public option is a good thing to include in the health care bill.  And the CBS News/”New York Times” poll, 59 percent say they favor a public option. 

How many more polls do we need?  The people want a public option.  Harry Reid needs to deliver for the majority of Americans, and not the minority of conservative Democrats.  You mark my words, folks, this health care bill has set up an ugly tone and possibly an ugly scenario for Democrats across the country leading into the midterms.  And I know we are months away from it.

And I don‘t care what Jonathan Alter says.  I did battle with him the other night.  I get thousands of e-mails on this program every day.  And I can tell you what the people want.  You come to one of these clinics, you will find out exactly what they want. 

Joining me now is California Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey.  She is the co-chairwoman of the progressive caucus.  And I think, congresswoman, your caucus really holds all the cards right now.  Let‘s turn this around a little bit.  It‘s not the conservative Democrats over in the Senate, because if it comes back to your House, you have a chance to make sure that public option gets in there.  How do you feel about it the way it sets up at this hour? 

REP. LYNN WOOLSEY (D), PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CHAIR:  Well, actually, Ed, you are absolutely right.  It was the progressives in the House that brought the public option to the front in the first place.  We were laughed at in August, because we wanted a public option.  And by the time we passed our health care in the House of Representatives, we had a public option, and they were talking about what kind of public option in the Senate. 

Now, where are we?  We are faced with a Senate that might not include the public option.  But we will go to conference and the progressives in the House of Representatives are really strong in knowing what you just said; 58 percent, most of the people in this country, want choice.  And they want an option for something that will be affordable.  They want competition for the insurance companies. 

SCHULTZ:  That is the main thing.  We have got to have competition, some mechanism in place that is going to be competitive in the marketplace for the private insurance providers.  This is the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, today on the situation.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER:  I always say to my members, give the Senate room.  I say that about the president.  Give the president room.  Give the Senate room.  Let us see what it is.  But we honestly had not—have no paper on this.  And probably no—we will know a great deal more when the paper comes back from the Congressional Budget Office. 

But seeing their bill and our bill, I know one thing for sure, we will have a great bill. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman, I got to ask you, is Nancy Pelosi softening her stance on the public option?  Are you comfortable with what she is saying at this hour? 

WOOLSEY:  I‘m comfortable that she said we will have conference.  We‘re not going to do anything without coming together and we don‘t get to vote again, except for the conference.  But we will have input into the conference proceedings.  I do trust that. 

She knows the progressives—and there‘s 84 of us in the House and the Senate that belong to the progressive caucus—we want health care that provides competition, competition that brings down the costs of health care, to the premiums come down.  And we need that.  We want it.  And we are going to insist on it.

And we want afford ability.  And we have not seen that yet in the rumors we are hearing from the Senate. 

SCHULTZ:  Do you think that there will be a political backlash for the Democrat if a public option is not in the bill in some way, shape or form?  Is it that big an issue that it will be a political liability next year? 

WOOLSEY:  Well, it will be a political liability if we pass a health care bill that really does not help the average working American.  And that‘s why we need the public option, because that‘s the way to keep the premiums down and that‘s the way to have competition for the private insurance providers, the insurance business.  Otherwise—

SCHULTZ:  Congresswoman, good to have you with us tonight. 

WOOLSEY:  Oh, oh, okay. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah, go ahead and finish.  We have got a little delay on the satellite; 30,000 -- what were you going to say there? 

WOOLSEY:  We will be handing private insurance industry 30 million new customers.  And if we don‘t control the premiums, they will just make more profit.  That‘s all there will be. 

SCHULTZ:  Yeah.  Thank you, Congresswoman Woolsey.  I appreciate your time tonight. 

WOOLSEY:  Yeah. 

SCHULTZ:  For more, let me bring in our panel tonight, Jane Hamsher, who is the founder of FireDogLake.com, joining us.  Jane, good to have you on.  You have done an awesome job riling up the progressive base.  I think you have got a pretty good pulse on what their take is on all of this.  As we move into the 11th hour, how much of a political force are progressives going to be if a public option isn‘t in this bill? 

JANE HAMSHER, FIREDOGLAKE.COM:  Ed, first of all, I want to say thank you so much for being there in Kansas City and showing the faces of the people who are there in need of health care.  They are middle class people.  They can‘t afford the rising cost of health care.  And they will be very angry if they are forced to become the customers of corporations that are protected—their monopolies are protected.  And then the IRS penalizes them if they won‘t buy these companies‘ product.  That is not a way to provide health care.  That is a way to protect profits. 

SCHULTZ:  So, what is the progressive base saying over the last 48 hours, now that this compromise is being made over on the Senate side?  And it looks like you have some conservative Democrats, the four or five who are really driving the ship at this hour right now, and watering down this bill, which actually was a really good bill when it came out of the Senate Health Bill.  And I have been told you can‘t even recognize it now.  What do you think? 

HAMSHER:  Well, what I‘m hearing from our leaders, and I think what you are hearing from yours, is that we negotiated down from single payer.  And we have got 65 members of the House who said they would vote against any bill that doesn‘t have a public option.  And we are going to hold them to that. 

But we‘re looking at a situation where we had 88 co-sponsors of HR-676, and most of them have headed for the hills.  They didn‘t want to take a stand like that.  They were from strong Democratic districts.  And when the going gets tough, what they do is enable the bill, about which the insurance company said we won.  They said—Ben Smith reported that the insurance lobbyists are saying about this bill, we won. 

And if these Democrats vote for that—it can‘t happen without their help—we are going to be looking to run single-payer candidates against them in their districts.  And if people out there are unhappy with their representative for doing that, because they don‘t want to join Maxine Waters in drawing a line, then come to Fire Dog Lake, and we will put you to work recruiting a candidate in your district. 

SCHULTZ:  Jane Hamsher, good to have you with us tonight.  Keep up the fight. 

Let‘s bring in our panel tonight.  Democratic strategist Todd Webster is with us, and former Congressman Ernest Istook, now a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation.  Todd, I want you to know you are a distinguished guest here on THE ED SHOW.  so all of you guys are distinguished. 

TODD WEBSTER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Good to be here.  Thanks for having us.  

SCHULTZ:  You bet.  Ernest, are you winning the battle at this hour?  Are the conservatives—the statement came out today from the Republican caucus that they are not going to support anything on the table when it comes to health care.  Has your strategy worked to stick together? 

ERNEST ISTOOK, FMR. CONGRESSMAN:  I don‘t think anybody is winning the battle, least of all the American people.  If you look at this latest plan, which by my count, is the eighth version that we‘ve had, major version from the Democrats in Congress since this summer—this plan du jour takes a federal program already going bankrupt rapidly and says let‘s make it bigger.  It doesn‘t  do what the American people want, which is the opportunity to have more affordable insurance, rather than bigger government. 

You know, let companies sell across state lines.  Make them compete against each other across state lines.  That‘s one of the things we ought to be doing instead. 

SCHULTZ:  You want to force them to compete across state lines or do you—

ISTOOK:  Sure. 

SCHULTZ:  Or do you just want to allow them to compete across state lines? 

ISTOOK:  Well, if somebody comes in and competes where you‘re accustomed to doing business, yes, you are forced to compete, even though you did not choose to go into another state.  They come into yours.  So the result is the same. 

SCHULTZ:  OK. 

ISTOOK:  More competition.  That‘s what we need, not more government. 

SCHULTZ:  Todd Webster—all right.  Todd Webster, two solid polls out today, very strong numbers for the public option.  Why can‘t Harry Reid just grab these conservative Democrats in the Senate and say, look, this is what we are going to do.  You are either with us or you are against us?  This is what the American people want?  Why can‘t he do that? 

WEBSTER:  I think that he is clearly working behind the scenes.  He is working within his caucus, within the framework.  It‘s taken six months to get to this place.  And it illustrates how hard it is to do health care reform.  It hasn‘t been done in 50 years precisely because it is so difficult and because you have so many interests engaged in it. 

Over the last week, though, you have heard the Republican in the Senate debating this bill.  You‘ve heard Republican senators talk about how much they want to save Medicare and put more money into it.  You know, Republicans saying that he wants to save Medicare is like Tiger Woods trying to convince you he is a family man.  They don‘t have a lot of credibility on it, given the history. 

SCHULTZ:  All right, gentlemen, let‘s switch gears and talk about the president of the United States.  He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize today, and made this statement, talking about the conflict that this country is involved in.  Here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  Make no mistake, evil does exist in the world.  A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler‘s armies.  Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda‘s leaders to lay down their arms.  To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism; it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  The majority of Americans don‘t think the president of the United States deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.  But I give the president high marks for going in there today, total class, explaining the position that he is in.  Ernest Istook, how did the president do today? 

ISTOOK:  On that particular segment you played right now, I say that the president, right on.  You are making the case for realism, that we have to defend ourselves when we are attacked, whether it was 9/11, or he uses the examples of the evils of Nazism.  I thought that portion of his speech, at least, was very good.  It was excellent. 

SCHULTZ:  Todd Webster, your thoughts.  The president put in somewhat of an untenable position today.  Here he is.  He has got two conflicts going on that he is trying to mop up.  He has just ordered more troops to go into Afghanistan.  And he is accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.  Did he explain himself well today? 

WEBSTER:  Without question.  This was a—he rose to the occasion, as he does on these occasions, gave a masterful speech, explaining, you know, why we are in Afghanistan, and pushing the European allies to engage.  We can‘t just walk away from Afghanistan.  We can‘t abandon it.  But we could sure use some help there to try to stand up a political solution there. 

So it was a fantastic speech talking about the importance of—that America has in renewing its position of leadership, after eight years of the previous administration, and saying that peace is certainly important and aspirational, but sometimes you need to carry a big stick.  And the Afghanistan—

ISTOOK:  Peace through strength. 

WEBSTER:  The Afghanistan plan was after consultation with military advisers and diplomatic adviser and political advisers.  But we do need some help from our allies.  And that is why his diplomatic offensive is so important for the future of global security.  He did make the point that was very—

SCHULTZ:  Todd Webster and Ernie Istook, good to have you with us tonight.  Appreciate your time so much.  Good to have you on the show. 

ISTOOK:  Thank you.

SCHULTZ:  Coming up, some experts are saying that Tiger Woods needs to publicly come clean about his private life.  I think I know a better way how Tiger ought to be handling this whole thing.  That‘s coming up in the playbook.  You are watching THE ED SHOW, from Kansas City, here on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  In my playbook tonight, there‘s just no end in sight to the Tiger Woods drama.  “People” Magazine reporting that Tiger Woods‘ wife may end up staying with the professional golfer for the sake of the kids.  And one of Tiger‘s alleged mistresses gave an interview to “Extra TV,” where she placed a lot of the blame for the affair on Tiger. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He never mentioned his wife.  I would have never pursued him if he didn‘t pursue me.  I tried to walk away from it, because, you know, I was second-guessing myself with what I was doing, morally and emotionally.  He was just—he just kept—always creeping up in the back of my mind, with his text messages, kind of kept pursuing it, saying he missed me.  And I mean, that‘s really hard, when your heart wants something to just tell it no. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ:  You know, throughout all of this, we still haven‘t heard from Tiger, or gotten any indication about what his next move might be.  Tiger, I‘d love to be your agent for ten minutes.  I‘ll tell you exactly what we would do.  We are canceling all contracts.  You have absolutely no obligations.  You don‘t owe anybody anything.  This is your private life.  You don‘t have to do any interviews.  You weren‘t arrested.  You didn‘t break the law.  You are a good citizen.  OK?  You abide by the laws.  You pay your taxes. 

Hey, you are in the entertainment business.  This isn‘t a team sport, Tiger.  You make the—you hit the fairway.  You hit the green.  You make the putts.  You win the championships.  We don‘t want any more obligations, Tiger.  You don‘t want to be looking over your shoulder.  It is over.  Cancel everything and we will start negotiating contracts in about a year. 

And the price is going to go up about 25 or 30 percent. 

Folks, let me tell you something, Tiger Woods is going to get through this.  He is going through some personal turmoil.  But this isn‘t a team sport.  This is Tiger.  He owns his own ability.  They can‘t take his heart.  They can‘t take his soul.  They can‘t take his ability.  They can‘t take his desire. 

I would like to see some sponsor put a price tag on Tiger Woods walking up the 18th fairway, about to break Jack Nicklaus‘ record for winning major tournaments.  Tiger, I‘d love to be your agent and call the next shot, buddy.  You will get through it. 

Up next, I will talk with one of the medical doctors here at the

clinic in Kansas City.  She has got some stories that will just rip your

heart open.  >

Plus, my call to action; I you folks to get in gear and help this organization out.  We are right back on THE ED SHOW.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW, live from the Kansas City, Missouri Civic Center, where I‘ve spent the day here at a free clinic.  And I have met some fabulous Americans.  One of them is with me right now, Dr.  Bridget McCandless.  She runs the Jackson County Free Health Clinic in Independence, Missouri.  She is a graduate of the University of Missouri.  Double graduate. 

DR. BRIDGET MCCANDLESS, CLINIC MEDICAL DIRECTOR:  Yes, sir. 

SCHULTZ:  Undergraduate and medical school, MBA, and she is a medical director at the free clinic.  You don‘t get paid for anything you do? 

MCCANDLESS:  All of the people who work the Jackson County Free Health Clinic are volunteers and most of them just will tell you that doing the work that they do is the pay that they need.  And most of them have other jobs, and then they come and share their time to work at the clinic, to take care of the patients that really need the care. 

SCHULTZ:  So your husband lets you do what you really like to do, and that‘s help patients? 

MCCANDLESS:  Yes. 

SCHULTZ:  What does this day mean to you?  And share a story with us. 

MCCANDLESS:  OK.  SCHULTZ:  What impressed you today? 

MCCANDLESS:  It‘s amazing how many people still need care.  Even though there are 33 sites in the greater metropolitan area that are taking care of patients, it‘s amazing that so many of them still need to come to an event like this.  And for simple things; you know, some people just needed a physical exam to be able to go to cosmetology school.  One gentleman came in today, and he is in the midst of working on having a heart attack.  So I ended up being able to get him in to see a cardiologist.  But that‘s mostly through personal favors to be able to make that move that fast.  And it‘s frustrating that he had to wait so long for care. 

SCHULTZ:  What struck me is how many of these Americans are working.  They are working two and three jobs, and they haven‘t seen a doctor for years.  That‘s got to be rewarding for you. 

MCCANDLESS:  It is.  It is rewarding.  It is also frustrating.  A lot of them have lost their jobs.  And this is, you know, the new poor who are coming in to get care today.  A lot of them had care for a long time, and now don‘t know what to do without t. 

SCHULTZ:  Doctor, are these free clinics a solution?  Or are they just an illustration of what we really need to do?  What do you think? 

MCCANDLESS:  I love what I do, but I will tell that you it is a poor substitute for comprehensive care.  I can‘t put people in the hospital.  I can‘t always get specialty services.  And people are really complex when they don‘t have money, and they are trying to manage these complicated diseases.  So unfortunately, we do the very best we can, and for patients, they are very grateful for that.  But we are really a poor solution to a really complicated problem. 

SCHULTZ:  Doctor, thanks for what you do I appreciate it so much. 

MCCANDLESS:  Thank you. 

SCHULTZ:  Go Mizzou.  You‘re a Tiger fan? 

MCCANDLESS:  Yes, sir. 

SCHULTZ:  Tonight in our telephone poll, I asked our audience, are you OK with a health bill without a public option.  Eight percent of you watching said yes; 92 percent of you said no.  

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

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