This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 17, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Our next guest calls President Obama's health care law a "malignant tumor." He also sponsored a health care repeal bill. Debate on the repeal bill starts tomorrow and is expected to be voted on this week. Republican congressman Steve King joins us live. Good evening, sir.
REP. STEVE KING, R-IOWA: Good evening, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Malignant -- malignant tumor -- I guess you're not beating around the bush how you feel about it.
KING: I thought I should put it into a health care vernacular, and I think it describes what it is. It's -- it actually -- it eats away at America's liberty. Our guaranteed rights that come in our Constitution are diminished by the federal government deciding what health care we will have, what health care insurance policies we'll be able to buy and what tests we'll be able to take and which doctors we'll be able to go to. So it does, it's a cancer that eats away at us, and we've got to repeal it completely, pull it out by the roots so it doesn't grow back again. That's the malignant tumor idea.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it seems to me there are two issues in what you say. One is the whole issue of liberty, sort of the philosophical view of whether or not you think we should have a health care bill like this, which we currently do have, but you're seeking to repeal. The second is actual health care for people. Let's say hypothetically that the health care bill were repealed. Are you opposed to any sort of health care reform?
KING: Oh, not at all. And in fact, I think every Republican is for reform. I've just argued that we should separate the argument between full repeal of "Obamacare" and then the replacement components that are necessary.
VAN SUSTEREN: So you don't think (INAUDIBLE) be any modification. You don't think there's any room for modifying the existing health care bill?
KING: I don't think we can. If we start down that path, then that argues that there's something redeemable about this liberty-taking bill that is there that's called "Obamacare." We need to pull it all out by the roots, and then start down the path of having debate an individual debate on standalone pieces of legislation that fix the health care problem woe have in the United States, the standalone one piece at a time, stop -- let's say allow for selling insurance across state lines, then address the tort reform issue that we have, all the unnecessary defensive medicine that takes place, full -- full deductibility of everybody's health insurance premiums, and on down the line, one at a time, so the American people can be engaged in this debate, not as a big, comprehensive Republican bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. What will you do about the people who can't -- under your theory, who are either poor or minimum wage or can't pay for health care for whatever reason?
KING: Well, we have the situation out there today. And some of them will remain to get insurance under their employer, for example. And there will always be those who slip through the cracks.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do we do about them?
KING: Well, first -- you know, first we want to address those that we can get insured, and that's going to be the employment side of this. There are about 47 million uninsured in America, according to the numbers of the Democrats. If we subtract from that those who qualify for Medicaid, those who qualify under their employer but who refuse the coverage, those that have affordable options such as make $75,000 or more a year and more, those that are illegal, you reduce the number of 47 million down to about 12.1 million. That's less than 4 percent of the population. And it's wrong for us to try to change 100 percent of the policy to address less than 4 percent of the population in America.
VAN SUSTEREN: With that 4 percent, that 12 million, what would you do with them?
KING: You know, that's a little bit different kind of a situation, and the states can deal with that. And we can subsidize some of that. Some of those people that are in that list are those who have pre-existing conditions.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do we do about them?
KING: We can step in and help the states establish those policies to address those high risk pools. That's one of the ways to deal with preexisting conditions, and I think that will go a long ways towards -- and it's constitutional.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the very poor?
KING: The very poor have always had access to Medicaid. And the Medicaid policy is there, and there's something like 9.7 million Americans who qualify for Medicaid that just simply don't sign up. So that policy's there for those who are the very poor. We will take care of those. But we need to also make sure that the incentives for those who will take care of themselves are there, that we don't lower everybody down to the lowest common denominator and punish people for being personally responsible. We want to reward that and protect the doctor-patient relationship and allow the free markets to be part of this solution, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so when do you expect the vote to actually occur on this repeal?
KING: The debate starts tomorrow. The vote will be on Wednesday. And I'm very confident that we have the votes to finally repeal "Obamacare." I introduced...
VAN SUSTEREN: You're even going to get a couple Democrats.
KING: I think...
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I think you'll get some Democrats.
KING: I think it's be over a dozen, maybe 15 or more Democrats. And hopefully, that number will go on up. As soon as they hear the debate, I think we'll win some more over to our side. But this repeal is something that I introduced, as did Michelle Bachmann, 10 months ago. And we are at this point now on the -- on the timing and the sequence of the repeal, and it's essential the House pass a repeal of "Obamacare." I can't imagine finally repealing "Obama care" without us doing this.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I got to go (INAUDIBLE)
KING: We've got to shut off the funding eventually.
VAN SUSTEREN: I got to...
KING: We'll get it ended, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Congressman, thank you, sir.