August 2, 2009

Charlie Rangel on Fox News Sunday goes after the Blue Dogs for not being helpful with health care reform negotiations and the Republicans for not having a plan of their own to bring to the table. When Jim DeMint cites Paul Ryan's plan and his own to try to counter him, Rangel points out that they don't even have the support of their own party for those plans. Yet Rangel is still touting the benefits of bipartisanship before the segment is over. Why is beyond me when he's already clearly pointed out that they have no intention of doing anything but obstructing reform.

WALLACE: Congressman Rangel, here's a top House Democrat saying the Republicans are right, that the public option is a stalking horse for a single-payer government takeover like we see in Britain or Canada.

RANGEL: Well, we've got 435 members of Congress, and I'm -- I'm very pleased that Jim DeMint says that he's willing to work with me and other people to get national health insurance.

I don't know what he's got to work with. There is no Republican plan. All they have done is to be critical.

But this is not a -- what a -- single payer. What we are talking about is that if we have 50 million people there, just makes a lot of sense, and they don't have any insurance, we shouldn't just turn them over to the private insurance company that have denied people insurance because they've had pre-existing conditions, that have excised conditions in the contract when they found out that people were sick.

Those people out there made billions of dollars in the private sector, and all we're saying is that the people, Americans, are entitled to an alternative. And that's the public option.

And so I don't think there's anything for the private sector to be afraid of. And what the Blue Dogs have done is just increase the costs in terms of negotiating.

But why in the heck Jim DeMint would be afraid of a public option, where people will have a choice as to which insurance plan they want, knowing that 50 million Americans have no plan at all...

WALLACE: Well, wait, wait.

RANGEL: ... and about half that number...

WALLACE: Congressman, let's give Senator DeMint an opportunity to...

RANGEL: ... are under-insured

WALLACE: Let's give Senator DeMint an opportunity to respond.

DEMINT: The congressman knows Republicans have a plan. Paul Ryan on his committee has filed a great plan.

I've introduced the Health Care Freedom Act that would force interstate competition, that would give every family who doesn't get their insurance at work $5,000 a year to buy health insurance, which is above the national average for the cost.

Lawsuit abuse reform, which the congressman won't touch because of the political side of this -- and block grants to the states to set up pools or high-risk systems so people who have pre-existing conditions can have affordable insurance.

There are good ideas out here. The idea that we need a "Fannie Med" in every state to compete with insurance companies is ridiculous.

WALLACE: And that's the idea that it's going to be a Fannie Mae -- whether it's a public option or a cooperative, it's going to end up being like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

DEMINT: Of course it is, and they're going to -- we're going to have taxpayer-subsidized insurance competing with the private market, just now like General Motors is subsidized and they're competing with other companies.

I don't understand why the congressman is opposed to interstate competition of insurance companies.

WALLACE: If you could answer that briefly, Congressman, because then I want to move on to another subject.

RANGEL: I certainly can answer it briefly. When you're talking about Paul Ryan and you having a plan -- what I was talking about -- a plan that you had Republican support.

Paul Ryan's a great member. He's a Republican. He sits on my committee. He doesn't even have the support of the Republicans on the committee.

So I'm not saying that none of you guys have some idea. I'm saying you should come together with your leadership, compete with your ideas, and at the end have a bipartisan national health insurance program.

Can you help us out?

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