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Sen. Lindsey Graham Sounds Off on Senate Health Care Bill

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: Now for the top story tonight, reaction [to the Senate health care bill] with Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina, Republican. And Senator Graham, man, this thing is a Christmas tree with all sorts of decorations. And the Democrats are the Grinch. That's how I see it. How do you see it?

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SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Well, it turned into a pretty sleazy process at the end, didn't it? Obama campaigned on the idea of transparency and a new way of doing business. He said that we will negotiate on C-Span the health care reform this country needs. Everybody will have a seat at the table, including the bad insurance companies. And you'll be able to watch negotiations on C-Span. What happened? Harry Reid negotiated with one member of the Senate to get the last vote, the 60th vote, in a room no one knew where they were at. No one knew what they were talking about. They roll out the 400-page amendment. Not one Republican was able to amend that amendment. Now it's a 2,500-page bill with no Republican input. That's not change.

INGRAHAM: You heard my "Talking Points Memo."

GRAHAM: Sure.

INGRAHAM: Webb and Warner, I'm just focusing on two of the so-called Blue Dog Democrats. Where the heck were they?

GRAHAM: Well, all I can tell you is how do you explain to people back in Virginia or South Carolina that there's one state in the nation where Medicaid enrollees will be paid for by the federal government? This deal that Ben Nelson was able to achieve, the bill requires Medicaid to expand. That's a very big burden on states, because they have a matching portion of that, except in Nebraska. So what do you go back to Virginia and say?

INGRAHAM: They got nothing.

GRAHAM: We're going to enroll…

INGRAHAM: What do they get?

GRAHAM: ...more people on Medicaid. My state's going to have to pay more money to meet that obligation, except for Nebraska, because he was the 60th vote. That's not change anybody can believe in.

INGRAHAM: You see what I think, just as an analyst, putting my analyst hat on, you can't really blame the liberals. This is what liberals do. They're always trying to expand government. They always think they can tax people.

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

INGRAHAM: You know, people who make X amount of dollars and it will all be fine. That's what liberals do. I focus on the moderate — so-called moderate Democrats. I believe there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat anymore, and this bill proves it, whether it's Tester or Bob Casey or Warner or Webb or Lincoln or Pryor or any of these people. They are not fiscally conservative on any issue that matters. A seventh of the economy, Senator Graham.

GRAHAM: This bill is a travesty in the making for the American people. It's $1.3 billion in increased costs. And they say it reduces the budget deficit by $132 billion. How do you get there? You got to assume we're going to cut Medicare.

INGRAHAM: Oh, right, that's going to happen.

GRAHAM: We haven't cut Medicare by 10 cents. So we're not going to cut Medicare over the next 10 years by $470 billion.

INGRAHAM: But wait, Senator Graham.

GRAHAM: Nor should we.

INGRAHAM: President Obama said it's going to save $132 billion over 10 years. Look, the Congressional Budget Office, that's what the Congressional Budget Office says. So what do you say?

GRAHAM: Well, if I put my budget together and I assumed I was going to win the lottery, I could do more. The Congressional Budget Office can't be politicians. They can only look at numbers. The way they get it to deficit neutrality is to cut Medicare by $470 billion. The doctor fix, $274 billion of reductions to doctors are not accounted for. So, it's not going to happen. It's a false assumption.

INGRAHAM: Well, look, 18 specialty societies of medicine came out against this.

GRAHAM: Right.

INGRAHAM: We had the AMA, however, come out for it, along with hospital — certain hospital associations.

GRAHAM: Certain hospitals.

INGRAHAM: So how did that all happen? That was backroom deals, backroom negotiating. American people didn't hear any of it.

GRAHAM: Well, how do you get Louisiana vote? How did you get the Nebraska vote? You did things for people to get them on board. It wasn't about reforming health care. It's about getting 60 votes. The goal was to pass something. We didn't give a damn what it was.

INGRAHAM: You have a gem in there that you found. And again, as months go on…

GRAHAM: Yeah.

INGRAHAM: ...we're going to be able to find other little gems…

GRAHAM: Oh, there are a lot of them.

INGRAHAM: ...in this bill. I mean, little explosions that are going off during election year.

GRAHAM: Yeah, yeah, right.

INGRAHAM: What do you know about long-term care because I hadn't heard this before?

GRAHAM: There's a provision in this bill called the Class Act. For the first time, the federal government is going to offer to all Americans long-term health care insurance. Now here's the deal. It will be offered by the federal government. You can sign up voluntarily. And they collect premiums for five years without any benefits. It generates $72 billion, which helps pay for this bill. The problem is once the benefits are paid out, the CBO says the thing's going to go bankrupt. We won't let it go bankrupt. The sickest people are going to join. One day, it will become an entitlement…

INGRAHAM: Another entitlement program.

GRAHAM: ...to get long-term health care insurance from the federal government. Here's what Kent Conrad, the Democratic Budget chairman, said about this provision: A Ponzi scheme of the first order. The kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of. And he avowed to make sure it wasn't in the bill. Seven Democrats wrote to Harry Reid in October, don't put this in the bill.

INGRAHAM: It's in the bill. Did they not know it was in the bill before they've all pledged we're going to stand Kumbaya with Barack Obama and have this big celebration for this historic moment?

GRAHAM: All I can tell you, they said it was a Ponzi scheme Bernie Madoff would have been proud of. It's in the bill they voted for it. Now they're all co-conspirators of this Ponzi scheme.

INGRAHAM: Barack Obama also said today care will improve, efficiency will be increased, it's deficit neutral, and all the naysayers out there are going to be proven wrong. Will care in any way, shape or form be improved for most Americans?

GRAHAM: If you take $470 billion out of Medicare over the next 10 years to start a new program, senior citizens are going to get less care. Hospitals and doctors are barely hanging on now, based on their reimbursement rates that Medicare is able to pay. If you take $470 billion out, you're going to have a harder time finding a Medicare doctor. If you increase taxes by $518 billion, you don't think any of it's going to be passed on to the American consumer? This is a falsehood. This bill is based on false promises, things that will never happen. We're not going to cut Medicare by $470 billion. And we are going to reimburse the doctors by $274 billion, which is not in the bill. So this whole thing's a Ponzi scheme. It's a gimmick.

INGRAHAM: Fast forward to next November. What's these next several months going to be like for Republicans campaigning?

GRAHAM: I think we're going to highlight the fact that they say one thing and do another. That everything campaign — that President Obama campaigned on in terms of turning the tide in Washington, changing the behavior the way this place works has been absolutely a failure, a miserable failure.

INGRAHAM: Still a believer in bipartisanship? You came into town saying I'm going to build bridges to the Democrats. They burned those bridges, Senator.

GRAHAM: I'm a believer in making the country strong, and that takes us — let me tell you what happened with Medicare, 21 no votes. Social Security, six no votes. Americans with Disabilities Act, eight no votes. This is the first time that there's been a major piece of legislation passed in a partisan way. That's not change we can believe in.

INGRAHAM: They own it. Senator Lindsey Graham, we appreciate it.

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