This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 25, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: No response.
As yet, not a single health insurance company has formally answered Washington demands for all sorts of information — either Henry Waxman's call for a salary and bonus breakdown of all top workers or Senator Jay Rockefeller's order for a similar break down of all premium money spent.
But if embattled private health insurance company CEOs are at a loss how to respond, Ken Langone has a few suggestions.
The billionaire co-founder of Home Depot says Washington is deflecting by doing a little scapegoating and the worst these guys can do is cower.
KEN LANGONE, CO-FOUNDER, HOME DEPOT: The insurance industry is about is regulated an industry as I can think of. I am sure all this information is on file, residing someplace.
I would suggest that these people who are hyping the whole thing, try and find it first and have to live with the same regulations we live with in understanding it and then go back and say we tried to find it, we could not it, or we did find it.
CAVUTO: But they know where it is, Ken.
Video: Watch Cavuto's interview
LANGONE: Well, because...
CAVUTO: So, but — but they — all these insurance guys are running like with their tail between their legs. They are afraid to take them on. You would take them on?
LANGONE: The current bad boy in America are the health insurance companies. These are the bad guys.
I don't believe that. But politicians need to flog somebody every day. And this is their turn. This is the insurance companies' turn.
CAVUTO: Do you think, had any of them written a check, as the drug industry did, to either fund an ad campaign in support of health care reform or to promise savings, as the drug industry did, to support it, that any one of them would be getting a letter now?
LANGONE: Probably not, but I can't prove that.
Look, we are where we are in terms of health care and in terms of being governed. I — I happen to like what I see right now, which is, the American people — and I believe it's — this is not contrived; this is legitimate. I think the American people are saying, hey, wait a minute. Hey, wait a minute. Don't come too far into my life. I need you for — I need government for certain things, but I don't need government for everything.
So, whether or not these people bought peace, if you want to call it that, by running ads, whether — whether the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association made a deal with the devil, I don't know.
I'd like to think that, at the end of the day, reason and fact will prevail. But you never know.
CAVUTO: But none of these companies is accepting TARP money. None of them have accepted tax bailout money. This is, at best, a stretch, is it not, to start rifling through their books and rifling through their pay scales?
LANGONE: I can guarantee you this. Because of the sheer size of these health insurance companies, internal audits, external audits, state regulatory insurance requirements — everything is there. Everything — we're not going to find credit default swaps in here. We're not going to find all this toxic — OK?
CAVUTO: But these guys know it is there, all right? I mean, these guys know this stuff is readily available on the Internet. It's readily available at the SEC, right?
LANGONE: Yes, but this buys headlines for you.
CAVUTO: Right. I gotcha.
LANGONE: This buys headlines for you.
Look, I think — and I don't want to be partisan here — but I happen to think that they have got themselves in a hell of a fix with this health care plan.
CAVUTO: Where did they go wrong?
LANGONE: Number one, I think they made the assumption that the American people generally were dissatisfied.
That is not the case. Most people feel pretty good about their health insurance. I think, if you're going to a paradigm shift, then we ought to talk about guys like me losing some weight as part of — no, seriously.
LANGONE: My next-door neighbor watches his weight. He swims. He runs every day. He takes care of himself. I come home. I have four beers. I eat a big bowl of pasta. I have a nice big piece of strawberry shortcake. And then I go to bed.
I have got all kinds of weight problems. I'm an accident waiting to happen — diabetes, joint diseases, gout, you name it. This guy is healthy. This guy takes care of himself. Why — why should he subsidize my indifference to the things...
CAVUTO: Well, that is what the president is saying. That's what these proponents of health care are saying.
LANGONE: But they're not putting it in.
Smokers. You have a car. I have a car. You take your car in for checkups. You make sure you change the oil. I do nothing. I beat my car into the ground.
I come and say to you, give me money because my car needs to be fixed, and you should help me.
CAVUTO: That's a very good point.
LANGONE: How stupid...
CAVUTO: Do you think, though, that — that — you have mentioned before insurance companies are now the latest villains. It was not that long ago when this administration came to power, it was going after the Wall Street fat cats and all.