This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," November 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRIAN SULLIVAN, GUEST HOST: All right, fair and balanced, right? Your next guest says health care will create jobs, New Jersey Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone. Congressman Pallone, Brian Sullivan, in for Neil tonight. Thanks very much for joining us.
I am sure you have heard our interview here with Governor Huckabee. Why will health care reform create jobs?
REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, first of all, you are going to cover a lot of people that are not covered now. Ninety-six percent of Americans will have health insurance, so they will have access to doctors and to regular primary care, being able to see a doctor on a regular basis. So, you are generating jobs in the health care profession. You are generating jobs in the insurance industry, because a lot of the — more people will have to be hired to sell insurance.
You are also selling a lot more prescription drugs. I mean, the fact that people are going to have health care just means more business in general.
SULLIVAN: Well, don`t we already have a shortage of nurses? We hear that. I know that the number of practicing general surgeons is down about 26 percent over the last decade.
Do we have the health care providers, things that take years of education to get to, to cover all these new people that will begin showing up?
PALLONE: Well, I`m not suggesting that everything is going to happen overnight. I mean, you already talked about how it`s going to take some time.
But, in this legislation, there are major incentives, educational incentives, loan programs to basically educate more health care professionals, whether it be nurses, doctors, home health aides, all those.
SULLIVAN: We look at your state, New Jersey. If the Bush tax cuts expire, we are going to have a federal top end that goes to 39.6. New Jersey`s top end has gone over 10 percent. And if the Pelosi plan passes, add another 5.4 percent to that to the richest residents. In New Jersey, your state, the top-end tax rate will be 55.7 percent, Congressman. That is above the highest in Canada. Is that fair to the residents of New Jersey?
PALLONE: Well, listen, everything has to be paid for. There is no free lunch. And I think it makes sense to have the charge, if you will, or the surcharge on the top 1 percent of Americans, rather than put the burden on businesses or on the middle class.
I mean, you have to pay for it. We have made a commitment this is going to be totally paid for. And so that is one the ways to do it. I think the best way to do it is basically this millionaire tax.
SULLIVAN: Well, the alternative minimum was designed to be that. It captured 19,000 people in 1970. Now an estimated 25 million families are getting hit because it was not indexed to inflation.
Would you commit to getting something in a bill that would index that to inflation, that it would only capture a tiny percent, and, in 20 years, won`t capture 5 or 10 percent of the economy? Would you support that?
PALLONE: Well, no, I wouldn`t.
I mean, we`re talking about individuals who make over $500,000 a year or couples that make over $1 million a year. I mean, we have really narrowed this down from where it was originally. So, I think it makes sense. Basically, you`re talking about less than 1 percent or approximately 1 percent of Americans.
SULLIVAN: Right now, but, in 20 years, that could be 5 percent or 10 percent of the economy as inflation wields its blunt force.
PALLONE: Well, we can certainly revisit it. I mean, this is a 10- year program, as you know. I mean, this is an authorization for 10 years.
But, you know, this started out, I think, at individuals who were making $280,000 and couples that were making $350,000. Now it is up to $500,000 and a million. It`s really not hitting that many people, and I don`t think it will over the next 10 years.
SULLIVAN: New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone.
Congressman, thank you very much for joining us on "Your World."
PALLONE: Thank you.
SULLIVAN: All right.
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