This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 12, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: If you want to see what government-run health care system looks like, you need not look any further than the countries like Canada or Great Britain. They already have in place so-called universal health care, and the results, well, they're not pretty.
And joining us now is European member of parliament, in studio for the first time. Now we usually have you, you know, from Britain. What time is it when you're doing this? Three in the morning?
DANIEL HANNAN, MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: It's about 3 in the morning.
HANNITY: Thank you so much or being here. You really have become quite a phenomenon among the conservative movement in this country because you constantly frame the debate as America, you are our friend. You are our brother. You are our ally. And please don't go down this wrong road on health care.
You feel that passionately about it. Why?
HANNAN: Because I'm a friend of this country and I wish it well, and because, as you say, we're an important ally. And what's bad for America is bad for Britain and bad for the free world.
And, you know, at a time when the American state is expanding so much because of the stimulus and the bailouts and the nationalizations, the idea that in the middle of all that, you can also afford this massive state takeover of health care, that has got to be bad news for, obviously for U.S. citizens but also the world economy more generally.
HANNITY: Look, you said to me the last time that I had a chance to talk to you that the United States was about 10 years behind Great Britain in terms of — of nationalizing things. If we were to project 10 years down the road, where is America going to be if, in fact, all these things are implemented?
HANNAN: Bankrupt. And...
HANNITY: Almost there now.
HANNAN: Impoverished and with your credit gone. I mean, where we are now, if I could. We're maybe a couple of years behind Zimbabwe, a few years ahead of you.
I mean, it's — we have — the health care system we have is kind of a relic of an era in Britain when the state was considered all-powerful and benign and when we had rationing and when we had I.D. cards and when we had mass nationalization.
And we're still stuck with it because once you get a system like that, it's almost impossible to get rid of.
How amazing to me that a free people, you know, citizens of a country founded on the principle of independence, independence for the citizen as well as independence for the state, should be contemplating, in peacetime, burdening themselves with a system like this, which puts the power of life and death in a state bureaucracy.
HANNITY: And one of the reasons I wanted to have you back. For example, I have here — last time you were on, it had been decided a week before that you have a government rationing body, your national health service is what it's called. And I read the British papers all the time. And they had just determined that they were not going to provide life-saving medication to women with advanced breast cancer. And I asked you, was that a death sentence, and your answer was?
HANNAN: Yes, I mean, of course. And if you then try to purchase and your own treatment outside the national health service, they will cut off treatment you were getting from the NHS. Because they have this bias against the private sector.
To be fair, some of that — there was such an outcry about that, that some of that has been modified, but you get a pretty good picture of the mentality.
HANNITY: Because it's not uncommon — because we have people from Canada come to America because of long waits and inferior care. We have people from Great Britain coming here for elective surgery and emergency surgery and the same thing with France.
HANNAN: I mean, the thing that you may find hard to believe is that you go along and you say, I need a hip replacement. Or you, know, I need treatment for prostate cancer. And they will say, thank you, the queue is over there. We'll see you in October of next year or whatever it is. I mean, it's unbelievable.
People are left in pain in pain, in positions where they can't work, where they're losing income at the back of the queue, waiting for permission to get treatment. And there's nothing you can do about it.
HANNITY: Do you think the American people have lost, maybe, a certain part of their uniqueness and understanding of what it means to be free?
HANNAN: No, I don't think. I don't think the people of this country have. I really don't.
HANNITY: Why are they supporting it?
HANNAN: See, I wonder whether they really do. I — I'm an elected legislator as well. And no politician can ever afford to forget what his constituents think about things.
But I'm actually quite optimistic. I mean, this — you know, this is a country founded in the principle of small government, big individual. You know, constrained power and free citizens.
And you know, this — the idea that this, of all countries, could put into the power of a state bureaucracy decisions over what kind of medical treatment you get, literally whether you can live or die, is deeply un-American.
HANNITY: I would agree with you, but there is a large segment of the population, for whatever reason, they have almost mentally been conditioned to think that the government is the answer to all their problems.
They promised them Social Security. Social Security in America is bankrupt. Medicare in America is bankrupt. The stimulus, once it passed, promised that unemployment wouldn't go above 8 percent. It's now headed to double digits. There are people that put their faith in government, which I think is the antithesis of the very founding principles you mentioned.
HANNAN: I'm not sure that they're — of course there are people who think that. There are people of good will who think that. We should be honest about this Sean, that people who think that they're not wicked. They've — they have a different position from ours.
HANNITY: You've tried it, France has tried it.
HANNAN: And you know what, all the countries of Eastern Europe tried it.
If you go back to the 1980s, the British health care model was not as unique as it now is, because it was shared by Czechoslovakia, Eastern German and Poland and others have dismantled it, because part of the democratization process was of that was to get rid of the NHS-type system and replace it with something lose closer to —
The idea that you'd want me to know go down this road to Cuban what North Korean system, is just extraordinary.
HANNITY: It's extraordinary. And the fact that we are — the audience out there is doing their job. They're going to those town-hall meetings of those politicians. They're confronting them. They're embarrassing them.
But even with that happening, Democrats are just, you know, blinders on. They still want to ram it down our throat. There's a real commitment to get this done on the Democratic side, the liberal side in this country.
HANNAN: I don't know if that's going to be the case. I mean, you know, I've met some — I've met some good, sincere, patriotic Americans in both parties, and this is a democracy. And people have to, you know — you have a really good, open, accountable system of government with open source politics, with open primaries.
HANNITY: I'm watching at a distance, and I see your political star has been rising quite a bit. Do you ever perhaps think of a day where you could be the head of a party that could come to power and one day I'd introduce you on this program as prime minister of England?
HANNAN: Let me exclusively tell you I don't think that's going to happen. Tell you what. You know, the last time that a bald party leader defeated a hirsute party leader in the U.S. was when Garfield won in 1888. Right?
The last time it happened in England was in 1831. So I — I'm ruled out on those grounds already.
HANNITY: Daniel Hannan, great to see you on this side of the pond. Thanks for being with us.
HANNAN: Thank you, Sean.
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