This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," September 25, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the push for the public option is gaining a lot of steam. Two top Democrats are pressing to make sure that the Senate bill includes a government-run plan. The Finance Committee is expected to vote on it tomorrow.
My next guest says that public option will kill lots of private sector jobs, and he's got a plan that will not.
Bobby Jindal is the Republican governor of Louisiana.
Governor, always good to have you. Thanks for coming.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Neil, thank you for having me.
CAVUTO: All right. Now, a lot of folks are concerned that this public option ultimately becomes the only option and ultimately means the government is running everything.
You have an alternative. What is it?
JINDAL: Absolutely. Well, let's start first of all — Neil, across this country, I think the debate's over. I think the American people have spoken loudly. they have said they don't want a government- run plan that increases their taxes, that increases government spending.
Across the country, our people are worried that government is spending too much money. Only in Washington, D. C. , would they respond by creating a plan that could spend $900 billion more dollars.
Across the country, people are worried about jobs and the economy, and the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Only in Washington, would they respond by saying let's raise taxes on employers and families.
Across the country, our people are worried about the rising cost of health care, the inaffordability of health care. Only in Washington would they respond by proposing taxes on health insurance, on medical devices, on — on medical products.
Look, the reality is, the American people don't want this big Pelosi plan that government take over our health care. But there is an opportunity to get bipartisan reforms done.
Nobody is defending the status quo. As Republicans, we can't just be the party of no. There's several things — if they would scrap these massive government plans, there's several things we could agree on in a bipartisan way.
For example, let's make health insurance portable across jobs, across state lines. People are more mobile now, more than ever before. You shouldn't have to lose your coverage because you switch jobs or you move across state lines.
Secondly, let's require insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions. It makes no sense that it's harder to get insurance when you most need it, when you have a sick child, a sick relative or you, yourself, get sick.
Third, if we're serious about driving down the cost of health care, let's address the cost of defensive medicine. Frivolous lawsuits, one study says, could cost as much as $100 billion a year. I think it's telling neither of these plans really have significant reforms.
Fourth, I agree with the president, let's have electronic patient records that could drive down the cost of care, improve quality.
Fifth, let's also reward people when they take actions like preventative health care, when they take care of themselves.
Sixth, let's make tax savings accounts more available to more people, so people can participate in buying their own health care in a tax affordable way.
CAVUTO: But how do you pay — how do you pay for all of that? I mean, if you — whatever savings you get going after the defensive medicine issue, it isn't going to — it isn't going to fly. Right?
The argument that the president says and Democrat, even some Republican leaders say, someone's ox gets gored. Right? Someone sees themselves paying more. Who?
JINDAL: Well, a couple of things. One, in contrast to what they're proposing Congress, I'm not saying let's throw the baby out with the bath water. I'm not proposing a $900 billion plan. I'm saying, let's improve the situation we've got. The majority of Americans that have health care like their health care...
CAVUTO: No doubt — no doubt, Governor. All I'm asking you, though, is, then, in order to address the portability coverage, the preexisting coverage and all, it's going to come out of someone's hide. Whose?
JINDAL: Well, look, these things — cracking down on defensive medicine, making insurance portable, requiring them to cover preexisting conditions, doesn't require a new government program. That doesn't require tax dollars.
What we're going to say to insurance companies is actually pool risks. What we're going to say is, on the regulatory front, you should be able to buy coverage across state lines. We should create voluntary purchasing pools so people in the individual insurance market get the same savings that people that work for large employers do today.
When it comes to — to actual — to what we're proposing, you can make health care a lot more affordable without creating a new government program. Let's not buy this Washington mind-set the only way to solve health care is to spend more government money or to increase government taxes.
One of the ways I think we can redirect existing government money, you know, both the House, the Senate plans, they want to expand Medicaid, expand government-run plans. Why not take some of the money we're spending on DSH, the Disproportionate Share program, on Medicaid, and help people through refundable tax credits actually afford their health care, working Americans that can't afford health care today. Instead of just running and expanding government-run programs, make it more affordable for them to access the private care, private insurance market.
But my bottom line is, we don't need — the American people aren't clamoring for a huge government program requiring taxes or requiring hundreds of billions of dollars.
Let's fix the insurance marketplace that we've got today. Let's make it more efficient, more...
CAVUTO: Well, Governor, what always comes up — I'm sorry, sir — but what comes up in this in the attack from liberals to a plan like yours would be: What about the uninsured? What about — they say 46 million, I'm sure it's not even near that — but be that as it may, they say there's nothing in that plan to cover those who don't have coverage now.
What do you say?
JINDAL: Well, a couple of things. Actually, if you make health care more affordable, people will be able to buy their health care. If you really want to help the uninsured, let's get the economy growing and let's create good-paying jobs so they can afford private coverage.
But the bottom line is, if you make health care portable, if you create voluntary purchasing pools, you crack down on defensive medicine, you will make health care more affordable so the millions of Americans that really need access and aren't just choosing to go without health care can afford to buy it.
Let's not make the mistake of saying, all right, to cover people that genuinely need help, let's not destroy the health care system we've got today. But let's also take the money that we are spending — tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars across the country on Medicaid and DSH, and let's use that for private...
CAVUTO: Not — not a bad idea. Let me ask you, though, Governor. I know you'll be campaigning for the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia...
JINDAL: Republican candidate — Republican candidate.
CAVUTO: I'm sorry. That would be a — that would be a FOX News Alert. I apologize.
CAVUTO: But — but if...
JINDAL: You're going to get me in trouble.
CAVUTO: It does seem to people that the Republicans lead in — in Virginia. They lead in New Jersey. There's this Merkel election in Germany, the breadth of which surprised some folks. Do you think that conservatism is clawing back? Or how would you describe it?
JINDAL: Absolutely. Look, I have never thought America stopped being a conservative country. I think Republicans stopped being a conservative party. Our candidates in Virginia and New Jersey — and you're going to see this again in 2010 — when we have competent, principled candidates that say the answer to the economy is not to raise taxes; the answer is to cut spending; the answer is to create private sector jobs, not new government programs, that will resonate with voters.
I think D.C. is disconnected from the American people and I think conservative candidates are going to be very successful. I think we'll win in Virginia and New Jersey and again next year in the congressional elections.
CAVUTO: We shall see.
Governor, sorry for that faux pas on my part. Always good having you.
JINDAL: That's all right. Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Governor Jindal of Louisiana.
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