Alan Grayson On His Medicare Buy-In And Reality Show Personality Palin

Alan Grayson appeared on Rick Sanchez's show for the first time and talked about his Medicare You Can Buy Into Act, HR 4789, how he feels about passin

Alan Grayson appeared on Rick Sanchez's show for the first time and talked about his Medicare You Can Buy Into Act, HR 4789, how he feels about passing the health care bill, his comment about Palin where he said "scientists were studying very carefully her trips between Florida and Alaska to learn more about the migratory patterns of the wild Alaskan dingbat" and his statement that the Republicans' health care plan is don't get sick and if you do, die quickly.

SANCHEZ: Joining us now, he's on THE LIST for the very first time after voting for the health care bill last night, is Florida Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson.

Congressman, good to see you, sir.

GRAYSON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Hey, what was it like yesterday? I just got to ask you, first of all, because there were times as I watched it I couldn't take my eyes off of it for seven hours. It was like watching a docudrama or something, what was going on in the House. It looked like the Taiwanese parliament for a while there.

What was your impression of everything going on?

GRAYSON: I had a different take than most people. I've heard those speeches over and over and over again.

I actually left around 8:00 and went down and hung out with the demonstrators for about an hour and a half and talked to them. There were plenty of people there on both sides of the argument. And I learned a lot from talking to them, and I heard some things I had not heard from my colleagues before.

SANCHEZ: You voted for this thing but you didn't like it. Right?

GRAYSON: No. I wouldn't say that at all.

I think it can be improved on. I've introduced a three-and-a-half page bill called Medicare -- the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act, HR 4789. And I think that that's the missing piece to this bill.

I think people should be able to buy into Medicare. If you want it and you pay for it, then you should have it. And I think that you're going to see movement in that direction after this bill. But I think it's a good bill. I'm glad I voted for it.

I mean, look, it saves lives.

SANCHEZ: I imagine the reason you want to do this, by the way, this Medicare thing that you're introducing, is because you want to create more competition. It doesn't seem like there's enough competition in this bill. Right?

GRAYSON: That's part of it. The other thing is that we -- the most difficult part of establishing competition is to establish a provider network.

And we've spent billions of dollars making sure that everybody from Nome, Alaska, to Key West Florida can actually go and see a Medicare doctor wherever they might need to be in the country, but it's available to only one-eighth of the public. It's like saying only seniors can drive on federal highways.

It just doesn't make any sense. It's this enormously valuable public resource that we own and we pay for and we have to use for the benefit of everyone.

SANCHEZ: The only thing about the Dems that I think they're being somewhat disingenuous on is I think you should just come clean, shouldn't you, and say, yes, this is very expensive? It takes a lot of money to do something historic like this. But I hear a lot of Democrats making it sound like this is the way to solve all of our economic problems.

Is that true? Is that genuine, when you hear people say that?

GRAYSON: Well, I think of it in terms of human beings. I know that there are so many people who don't have any coverage, and now 30 million more Americans will have it.

I know there's a lot of people who can't afford their coverage. Now it's going to be more affordable for them.

SANCHEZ: Right.

GRAYSON: I know that there's a lot of people who finally get all the health care they need until they actually need some. And then the insurance companies try to chintz them. That's not going to be possible anymore. So, ,in terms of actual individuals, those people are going to be better off, and seniors, too.

SANCHEZ: No, and I get that. And even Republicans that I talk to get that. But their concern is, it's too damn expensive.

Couldn't you have done it another way? Couldn't you have done it another time?

GRAYSON: But how can you say that when the Congressional Budget Office says it will reduce the federal deficit by $4,000 for every man, woman and child in this country? We're saving money, not wasting it.

SANCHEZ: Let ask you about something that just went on between you and Sarah Palin. You got into a little bit of a scuffle recently.

She said in a speech in Orlando, your district, your area, she said, "I can't even talk about this guy because there's kids in the room."

I mean, you've got to be a pretty awful guy for someone to say they can't even talk about you.

GRAYSON: I want to know why her kid was in the room. My kid was in school that day.

SANCHEZ: Well, you came back and you called her a "Alaskan dingbat." Did you really say that?

GRAYSON: What I said was that scientists were studying very carefully her trips between Florida and Alaska to learn more about the migratory patterns of the wild Alaskan dingbat.

SANCHEZ: My goodness. Now --

GRAYSON: And I also told her that I'd welcome the opportunity to debate her on the issues as soon as she learns anything about them.

SANCHEZ: Oh my goodness. So you don't think that Sarah Palin's all that qualified, then, from what I hear you saying, huh?

GRAYSON: You know, I think that she's an inspiration to quitters all over the country.

SANCHEZ: Whoa.

GRAYSON: I think that she's an inspiration to every student in school who cheats. That handwriting business, that was really original.

SANCHEZ: Palin recently said that she'd got some treatment. She was giving a speech in Calgary, I believe, and she said that she got treatment with her parents and would go down to Canada for -- to use their single payer system.

Now, that was weird, because she's been a real fighter against the system. Were you taken aback when she said that?

GRAYSON: Oh, look, you know, she's not even a political figure anymore. She's just a reality show personality. That's where all of this is heading. She just want to make money. That's it.

SANCHEZ: When you --

GRAYSON: It's all about -- go ahead.

SANCHEZ: Sorry about that. We've got a little bit of a satellite delay and it looks like we're stepping on each other just a little bit.

You're the kind of guy who says what he thinks. And when recently you were in the news for coming out and turning things around, as you tried to do with Republicans, and saying, no, they're the ones who are creating a situation where they'll kill old people, did you say that --

GRAYSON: No, no. Look, I mocked the absence of their health care plan.

There is no Republican health care plan that would actually give insurance to the people who don't have it. There is no Republican health care plan that will give you cheaper insurance. So what I said is, the Republican health care plan is, don't get sick.

But they understand that people are going to get sick anyway from time to time. So their backup plan is, if you do get sick, then die quickly. That's what I said.

SANCHEZ: Final question -- when you say things like that, which you know are going to -- I mean, Congressman, you know that they're going to get a lot of attention. Are you playing to the audience? Are you trying to get folks to say, hey, you know what, look at that guy down there in Florida, he's interesting? I want to see him -- are you making a lot of noise for the purposes of making noise?

GRAYSON: Look, you know, what it really comes down to is what the other side is saying. The truth hurts. And truth is very powerful.

SANCHEZ: And you believe that you were telling the truth?

GRAYSON: Oh, no question about it. No question about it.

SANCHEZ: Alan Grayson, congressman --

GRAYSON: Truth to power.

SANCHEZ: --- from Florida, is Alan Grayson. He's good enough to come and join us to have this discussion.

I'm glad you came on, sir. This is your first go-around, but we'll get you back. OK?

GRAYSON: I'll love it. Thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: Thank you.

Transcript via CNN.

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