This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," October 29, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, you are watching Howard Berg, the world's fastest reader, going through the world's biggest bill, all 2,000 pages of it or thereabouts.
Many were asking, are there really words on the pages? You can clearly see that there. If you have a high-def TV, you can actually make out the words. But, trust me, this week, as last week, he's reading an actual bill. This is not a stunt we are pulling here.
We felt that the world's fastest reader, capable of going 30,000 words a minute, can get through this. In the Senate case, he got through it before our hour was up. It might take a little longer now. He's got two piles you might see there. He's saying it's a little easier on his arms to do it that way, because if he put the bill in one pile, it would — it would hurt him.
And we don't want to hurt him, because this guy is our heavyweight champ. And, if anything happens to him, he's going to sue us. And we don't want that to happen.
All right, meanwhile, cutting Medicare fraud and slashing costs — House Democrats promising that will pay for more than half the nearly $900 billion health care bill.
But when is the last time a federal program did either of those things when either Republicans or Democrats were in charge?
Congressman Peter Welch says this one is going to do both. He is a Democrat from Vermont.
Congressman, I guess hope springs eternal, but man, oh, man, when has that ever happened?
REP. PETER WELCH, D-VT.: Well, first of all, I would share your skepticism if we were trying to save all this money just by going after fraud.
And, frankly, any fraud — a dollar or a billion dollars — we should be on that yesterday and not holding back. But the savings comes from three specific things that I think make common sense and we should be doing anyway.
One is, we're going to — with the — the drug companies, we are going to have taxpayer pay wholesale, rather than retail. That's going to save about $30 billion.
Two, the insurance companies — for the Medicare Advantage programs, independent analysis showed they're charging about $1,000 more per beneficiary than what it would cost for traditional fee-for-service for the same systems.
And, then, three, with our providers, we are going to have an expectation of them that they start doing what all American corporations are doing and trying to figure out how to deliver their services in a more efficient way.
And that's going to save...
CAVUTO: Well, how do you know any of the above will happen, Congressman? I mean, I can see your point that that looks good on paper. But Medicare, when it started, for example, in 1965, was about a $65 million program and now it is a $400 billion-plus program. We were told when the president, the last one, President Bush, had his Medicare prescription drug program, it was going to probably be, you know, over the course of years, no more than about $100 million.
CAVUTO: Then it got to be half-a-billion.
CAVUTO: Then it is going into the multi-billions.
WELCH: Well, first...
CAVUTO: My point is, the promises don't jibe with the reality.
WELCH: Well, the reality in the legislation is that we are not going to give a free pass to pharmaceutical companies. In other words, we are going to require price negotiation, rather than prohibit price negotiation.
And with the private insurance companies that frankly have been plundering the pocketbooks of our American businesses and consumers, we are not going to give them these padded premiums on the Medicare Advantage program.
CAVUTO: All right. So, maybe you will get it — maybe you will get it from those savings. But, I mean, this is a big bill, Congressman. It's 2,000 pages.
WELCH: It is.
CAVUTO: Are you able to — I know you're probably a fast reader, but are you or your colleagues ever going to get around to reading it?
WELCH: Well, I will tell you, I don't — I'm going to be able to read it as quick as the Guinness Book of Records guys.
But the question — I will read it. And I read it before we voted on it in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
CAVUTO: Well, you're going to vote on it maybe in a little more than a week. I hope you're — you've got no other commitments.
WELCH: It's my job. I'm going to...
WELCH: I'm going to read it.
CAVUTO: All right.
WELCH: And one of the reasons that I'm going to read it is, I know people like you and folks back home are asking me if I did read it.
But, having served on the Energy and Commerce Committee, I have had a lot of time to read it. I'm going to read this latest version.
CAVUTO: All right.
WELCH: Then, I will read the manager's amendment.