Sunday, 01 July 2012 15:05

Meet the Press transcript: Jindal, Dean spar over Affordable Care Act, Obamacare

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jindal-deanLouisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Democratic Chair, Dr. Howard Dean debated on Meet The Press, on Sunday morning, the recently-determined constitutional healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act..

Jindal had announced last week after the Supreme Court ruling that he would not implement the healthcare law, he derisively calls Obamacare, in Louisiana and would prefer to work towards electing Mitt Romney as President and a Republican Congress to repeal the legislation.

Here is the transcript of their Meet The Press discussion.

In addition to discussing the health care law, Gregory asked Governor Bobby Jindal  questions about his possibly being selected on the Romney ticket for the Vice President spot and also asked him about the recent decision by the Times Picayune to publish a paper edition only three times per week.

Here is the transcript of their Meet The Press discussion.

 Joining me, the former chair of the Democratic Party and Governor of Vermont, Dr. Howard Dean, and republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. welcome to both of you.

 Thank you.

Governor Jindal, you heard me ask leader Pelosi, is the fight over? She said yes. Republican attempts to repeal it are basically fantasy at this point. But you and other republican governors say no, you're not going to fully implement the law even though the supreme court has spoken. why not?

Absolutely. look, this election, this coming election gives American voers a chance. We've got two very different candidates. President Obama has doubled down on this creation of a brand-new entitlement program over $500 billion in medicare cuts, $500 billion in tax increases, $1.7 trillion in new spending we can't afford. We can't afford the programs that we have. He wants to create a new program.  There's never been one day a majority of the American people wanted this. He forced this through on a party line vote without one republican vote in support. I  think voters --

 Governor, wait a second. what are you not going to do? You're not going to cover people who need insurance in your state even after if the federal government passed it, the congress passed it and the supreme court says it's constitutional?

We have two critical decisions. do we set up exchanges and expand Medicaid? We're not doing either . Makes more sense to elect Mitt Romney and repeal Obama care. This is simply growing government health care. Governments on experts, they say health care spending is going up. CMS actuaries say health care will go up 7% in 2014 as this law begins to be enacted. They did not bend the cost curve down as the president promised. They did not make health care spending more sustainable. We can't afford another entitlement program. We'll have more people in the cart than pulling the cart. We'll go the way of Europe if we don't repeal.

 A lot of facts and figures and charges that are disputed. I want to slow this down and break it down so it's understandable. Governor Dean, on what Governor Jindal is proposing to not do, can you actually explain what the impact of that will be?


 And how audacious you think that is?

 Let's deal with the exchanges. If you don't put in your own exchange, the federal government will run one for you.

 Where you pie a program.

 Bobby has a choice of having this done for him by the federal government or doing it himself. I think that's a no-brainer. But look, in my state, we have had universal health care for every kid under 18 for 20 years by expansion of Medicaid. In Louisiana, 48th in the country in terms of child poverty, 48th in the country in terms of premature deaths, 48th in the country in terms of industrial accidents and so forth. Just by expanding Medicaid alone, by accepting the president's Medicaid extension, 340,000 out of those 860,000 uninsured people get covered. This is a great deal.

 And the federal government pays for 100% of it.

 I have some sympathy with the notion that we don't want to get into this thing and they'll cut it back to 90% and 70%. But right now for the next ten years, this program is pretty much fully funded. And I'll just -- we're doing a lot of facts and figures here. When I was running for president and campaigning in South Carolina, we calculated that if the South Carolina governor at that time had done what we did in Vermont in terms of matching money for Medicaid, they get 80%, 20% they put up, 80% the feds put up, they would have raised their entire gross state product by 2% simply by having the same Medicaid rules that we do. So i think this stuff about not accepting Medicaid and not accepting exchanges is crazy. If you don't like the law, I understand. I don't like the law all that much. But the fact of the matter is it is the law, it will work, it's necessary, and Governor Romney knows it because he did it in Massachusetts.

 Two things real quickly. On Medicaid expansion, this is a great philosophical difference between republicans and democrats and Mitt Romney and President Obama. You heard Howard say a growing Medicaid grows your state's economy. Look, federal dollars aren't free. Those dollars are coming from us, our children, our grandchildren. We're borrowing money from China to spend on government programs we can't afford. The best thing we can do is help people get good-paying jobs instead of giving them federal programs. We've been under the national rates and averages. Under President Obama, median family income has gone down $4,000. Since I've been governor, it's gone up $2,000. They need better paying jobs to afford health care. I agree we need to reform the health insurance marketplace. I do agree the status quo is not acceptable. I just don't think this expensive, unsustainable entitlement is  the solution to our problems .

 So the solution, Mitt Romney says, is repeal. This is what he said after the courtroom.

 What the court did not do on its last day in session I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obama care.

 Bottom line is easier said than done.

 He will do no such thing. First of all, he's going to take health care away from all the senior who is got their doughnut hole closed?

 What does that mean, by the way?

 The doughnut hole is a part of medicare which is incredibly expensive for really sick people whose prescriptions are no longer covered because they spent so much money. That drives seniors into poverty. It was fixed in the bill and then of course if they repeal the bill they now throw a whole bunch of seniors into trouble again. Then they're going to take away health insurance from kids who are 20, 25 who can stay on their parents' policy? I don't think they are going do these things. Here's the thing that drives me nuts about this debate. Mitt Romney did this in Massachusetts, and the truth is -- and I'm not for an individual mandate, but he did it with an individual mandate in Massachusetts. 98% of all the people in Massachusetts are covered in their health insurance, and all this economic stuff is hocus-pocus. Massachusetts is doing very well economically relative to other states. So all this stuff about it's going to bankrupt the state, Mitt Romney is the one that showed this could be done for the whole country.

 I’ll come back to the individual mandate in a second. Pure legislative politics. Couple points. You have to have the votes in the senate. You have to get through the legislative grind, which is easier said than done on the campaign trail than it is when you're in office, if you here in office. Secondly, how realistic is it to take something away that people have already started to benefit from?

 Three things. He said repeal and replace. Mitt Romney says pre-existing conditions absolutely a genuine concern, wants to make sure people continue coverage, don't face discrimination in the insurance marketplace, wants to make sure people going into the market for the first time have high risk pool of reinsurance subsides, so they can afford . It makes no sense in today’s insurance markplace, it makes no sense when people need help the most it's hardest to buy insurance. So, he’s not saying just get rid of it and don’t replace it. Unfortunately, the president, if he had engaged in serious bipartisan dialogue, could have gotten some reforms done. Secondly, when you talk about how easy it is to do this, the democrats used reconciliation to get this done on a strictly pure majority vote in the senate without needing 60 votes. The reality is when Mitt Romney is elected he'll have a mandate. You'll see not only a republican senate but democratic senators like senator prior and others and others in swing states all of a sudden i think support mitt romney.

 Here's the issue. As a matter of politics, you have to go out and make the case when back in 2006 then Governor Romney passing health care in Massachusetts-- this was by the liberal research PAC that found his position on the liberal mandate exactly what it is on this bill. This is what he said then.

 Secondly, with regards to the mandate, the individual responsibility program which I proposed, I was very pleased to see that the compromise from the two houses includes the personal responsibility of principal. That is essential for bringing health care costs down for everyone and getting everybody the health insurance they deserve and need.

 This is somebody who says let's repeal a law that has the individual mandate at its core.

 I think Paul Ryan made this point very well Friday. Mitt Romney has always been against the national mandate, always been against Obomcare, always said he wanted to repeal it. Look, the founding fathers intended for each state to be a laboratory of experimentation.   I come from one of the most distinct cultural states in the entire country. Mardi Gras is great for Louisiana. May not work as well in Vermont or other states. The reality is what works in Massachusetts may not be appropriate to another state.  Mitt Romney,

 You're comparing Mardi Gras to universal health insurance?

 What I'm saying is every state is different. Mitt Romney has never been for a national mandate. It is very different for the federal government…think about what the Supreme Court has done now. The founding fathers purposely reserved powers to the states and the individuals, they would not give to the federal government. Now, the court did something -- I disagree with the ruling. They're eroding our freedoms. But at least they're more honest than the president. They called it what it was, a huge tax increase. The federal government can now tax us for inactivity to compel behavior, not primarily to collect revenue, they can….”  

In Massachusetts they had very few people who actually had to pay. Most people got health insurance. That's a fact, isn't it?

But, now they can compel -- that's the whole point. This is not about collecting revenues, it’s about changing behavior. So, for example, the first lady --

 You saying it is a big tax increase but very few people actually had to pay a tax.

 It's the threat of a new tax increase to change behavior.

 Let me get a response on this point.

 This is a fundamental disagreement between republicans and democrats,  and between Bobby and myself. Let’s pick on Texas, not Louisiana. Texas has 22% of its kids have no health insurance, and 25% of its adults have no health insurance. Those aren't just Texas kids. Those are American kids. And I think we have an obligation to make sure our kids have health insurance. And this bill does that. I don't like the individual mandate either, and I don't think it was necessary, but it's there. The Supreme Court has spoken. The congress has spoken. The President has spoken. Mitt Romney has shown this can work because it did work in Massachusetts with 98% of people covered. I don't want to live in a country where 22% of the kids who are American kids in Texas don't have health insurance, and i think it's our obligation as a society to make sure everybody has health insurance, and that is what this bill does.

 I'm out of time. Two quick ones for you, governor. You're on the VP list. Would you like to be his running mate if he asks you?

You and i talked about this before. We're not going to speculate. I've said this the last several weeks. “We’re not speculating. We’re not commenting on that.” For all those questions that governor romney and his campaign, no disrespect to joe biden, nobody is going into the voting booth and voting based upon who’s vice president, this is a choice between two visions for America. Mitt Romney will grow the private sector, not the public sector. I do want to say in Louisiana 96.5% of our kids do have coverage. I think if you leave it to states -- nobody is saying leave these kids uncovered. We're saying a new government entitlement program is not the way to get this done.

 Times picayune, newspaper are under siege across the country, talking about publishing only three days a week, there’s a big draft effort to reverse that. Where do you stand?

 Look, personally, as a citizen, i think it's a sad day to have this newspaper go to three days a week instead of seven days a week. I know they'll enhance digital content. I have a lot of friends that work at the paper. I don’t always agree with the paper. I shouldn’t always agree with the paper. I think it is important for democracy. We’ve got robust news gathering organizations, I think the daily newspaper, the printed newspaper plays an important role of holding government accountable, uniting our people. I think, they played such a critical role after Katrina bringing these people even when their houses were flooded.  I’m saddened by this development . Even though I don't agree with the editorial positions and reporting, I'm saddened by the fact we’re going to have a great American city without a major daily newspaper. I don't think it's a good development.

 Governors, thank you very much.

(For the most accurate account of this program, watch the interview)

Below, Discuss the Jindal-Dean Meet the Press discussion

See video below of Governor Jindal's appearance on Meet the Press after he made the announcement that he was turning down 100 million dollars in stimulus money.

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