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Rev. Jesse Jackson: Health Care Reform Law Is a 'Job Creator'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 31, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What good is a health care overhaul if no one has a job? That's a flip way to ask a very serious question. Will the health care overhaul hurt the already damaged U.S. job market?

Joining us live is Reverend Jesse Jackson, the founder and president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition. Good evening, Reverend. And what's your thought about health care and what impact it's going to have, if any, on the job market?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: First of all, the health care bill is morally right. There were 46 million Americans without health insurance in 2007. Now it's 652 (ph), and the number is rising. I went to a hospital in Portland, Oregon, this weekend, and in Chicago, to see people with asthmatic conditions and trying to breathe with the oxygen masks...

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think anyone -- Reverend?

JACKSON: Yes?

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think anyone -- I don't think anyone disagrees we needed health care reform. I actually think the dispute is twofold. One is people -- some people didn't like the process. And some people didn't think it was the right program and it met the particular needs and reflected sort of a practical aspect of funding and jobs. So I think...

JACKSON: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think anyone disagrees -- I don't think anyone disagrees that, you know, we needed health care reform. And I actually agree with you that, you know, we don't want people to suffer.

JACKSON: Well, the first premise is, it is morally right, and that's the (INAUDIBLE) The second one is that when people lose their health care, often they lose their jobs. Often, they cannot afford their house. They lose their home in a foreclosure. The child cannot stay in school. They have student loan foreclosure -- or student loan defaults. And so it is a factor in the job because sick people are less able to keep their jobs.

I think now that we have the health care frame established for more Americans to have access to health care, the next step now is to focus on job development. That's why I think they're focusing on the mass transit. We're losing green jobs in every city. We see fares going up and services going down.

The bill called the $200,000 bill, the government does not subsidize transportation employment. Operations are just on the operations.

My point is Greta, if we focus mass transit, it's a job creator, it's a big step in the right direction.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me focus on one city. There are so many pockets in this country that are truly suffering worse than others. If you don't have a job you are suffering.

Detroit for instance, a year ago had an unemployment rate of 13.5. It is now 15.6. It is going in the wrong direction. It is influenced by the automotive industry. But what would you do to help Detroit, because that city is devastated?

JACKSON: Unfortunately, we have bailed out the banks but not the automotives. So we had this huge loss in the automotive infrastructure. The big three manufacturers is now -- it has gone down.

It involves direct investment in Detroit. It involves, if we are going to revive our mass transit, Americans are going to make trains and buses as we can. They are made here, not in India. If we are going to make the steel in Birmingham and Gary and Pittsburgh and not import that steel, that way you begin to put America back to work.

We need some federal investment as a stimulus to put the job market back on the growth pattern.

VAN SUSTEREN: We have a minute left. How has the president done in terms of the economy, in your opinion?

JACKSON: He's beginning to turn it around. We went from the largest surplus ever to the largest deficit in the last eight years. We are starting to hemorrhage at the top. Now the focus is on reviving --

VAN SUSTEREN: How is he doing?

JACKSON: What strikes me about the bill, beyond helping the sick, the idea of reducing the student loan by shifting it from private to the federal government, now student lending, we can reduce the rate. We are moving toward keeping students in school and getting jobs and providing health care.

To me, those are steps that will make America better and stronger. Some of those protesting again the president to allow this -- health care.

VAN SUSTEREN: Reverend Jackson, thank you very much, always nice to see you, sir.

JACKSON: Yes, thank you.

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