This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Yes, here it is! This is the health care bill everyone is fighting over, HR-3200. And as you can see, it can double as a piece of a workout equipment.
VAN SUSTEREN: Even if you had the time to read it, and that is what you pay your Congress members to do, of course, what's your bet, that it's plain and simple writing or that it is a convoluted mess that you have to fake that you understand?
Joining us live is Steve Moore, senior economic writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page. And don't you love Congressman Conyers? He's honest!
STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL, "THE END OF PROSPERITY" CO- AUTHOR: Yes, he is honest.
MOORE: By the way, you owe me, Greta. I actually read -- I haven't read the entire thing, but I've read a good portion of this bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right...
MOORE: I can't say I understand all of it, but...
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, now, I want to -- we just want to go through -- we've isolated some parts just to see...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... just to help the viewers understand...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... what it is that none of us understands.
MOORE: I have (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: And so I want to go to the first section, which is section 102. And I'm just going to read this and see if everyone can understand. This is the clear and plain language of the bill. OK. Subsection C, "Limitation on individual health insurance coverage. Subsection one. In general, individual health insurance coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance coverage under subsection a may only be offered on or after the first day of Y1 as an exchange participating health benefits plan." OK, got that?
Then the second one is -- is "Separate accepted coverage permitted. Accepted benefits as defined in section 2791C of the Public Health Service Act are not included within the definition of health insurance coverage. Nothing in paragraph one shall prevent the offering other than to the health insurance exchange of accepted benefits so long as it's offered and priced separately from health insurance coverage."
VAN SUSTEREN: You got that, viewers? OK!
MOORE: By the way, what that means is...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... ridiculous!
MOORE: ... in simple English is it's going to push more and more people into the government -- you just had that conversation about the public option. This is really meant to very much limit the ability to be enrolled in the private sector.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's what that means?
MOORE: That's what it means.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's how you read this?
MOORE: ... private insurance. That's what that section -- not those particular paragraphs that you read, but that's -- that's essentially what (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) did you understand that -- what I read? Come on! Honest!
MOORE: A little bit of it. A little bit of it.
VAN SUSTEREN: A little bit (INAUDIBLE)
MOORE: You have to put it into the context of the entire bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, let's talk about transparency then.
VAN SUSTEREN: Section 133, transparency. That's my favorite.
VAN SUSTEREN: This is to show that you understand because the president wants transparency. "Section 133, requiring information transparency and planned disclosure." That's a good idea. (INAUDIBLE) OK. "A, accurate and timely disclosure. Subsection 1. In general, a qualified health benefits plan shall comply with standards established by the commissioner for the accurate and timely disclosure of plan documents, plan terms and conditions, claims, payment policies and practices, periodic financial disclosure, data on enrollment, data on disenrollment, data on the number of claims denial"...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... "data on rating practices, information on cost sharing and payments with respect to any out of network coverage and other information as determined appropriate by the commissioner. The commissioner shall require that such disclosure be provided in plain language" -- is my favorite! And then goes on to talk about plain language, which I just want to read for a second. "Plain language section 2. As defined in this subsection, the term plan language means language that the intended audience, including individuals with limited English proficiency, can readily understand and use because the language is clean, concise, well organized and follows other best practices of plain language (INAUDIBLE)" -- these people are insane! These people are totally insane!
MOORE: They don't even get the irony here! They don't get the irony! Nothing in this bill is clean and concise and understandable, and yet they want the health plans that people enroll in to be plain and understandable.
VAN SUSTEREN: I -- I...
MOORE: I mean, really...
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think Conyers was dishonest when he said two days and two lawyers.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, that's not going to help anybody!
MOORE: Oh, no. No way. I mean, there is so little -- I have a master's degree, and a lot of this stuff was gobbledygook to me.
VAN SUSTEREN: A lot of it? It all is!
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, that made no sense!
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, that is absolutely ridiculous! I mean, we can (INAUDIBLE) all right, let's read about the section 401...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... "tax on individuals without acceptable 11 (ph) health care coverage." OK, here's -- here's a real plain one. "Title IV, amendments to Internal Revenue Code of 1986, subtitle A, shared responsibility, part one, individual responsibility. Section 401, tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage. A, in general, subchapter A"...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... "of chapter one of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end of the following new part" -- oh, I'm not going to...
MOORE: Yes. I'll tell you what it means. It means that if you don't have health insurance as an individual, you have to pay a 2.5 percent tax on our income. Now, this violates the president's promise not to tax...
VAN SUSTEREN: Where do you get that?
MOORE: It's in there!
VAN SUSTEREN: I found this. I've read the entire section -- a 2.5 percent tax. So if you have a $40,000 income, you pay $1,000 for this -- for this provision to pay for health care.
You know what is so insane about this, which people aren't thinking about? If this is incomprehensible...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... of subject to dispute, what's going to happen is that -- let's say it got passed and signed. It would get shipped out across the country...
MOORE: Of course.
VAN SUSTEREN: The first person who has to now implement it...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... can't figure it out, then hires a lawyer, then everyone hates the lawyers, then the lawyers go to court.
VAN SUSTEREN: The judge gets this and the judge says...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... Well, this isn't plain. The judge rules a certain way.
VAN SUSTEREN: And then there's the attack on the judge for being an activist judge for making it up!
MOORE: Right. And Sebelius runs the -- the Health and Human Services has huge discretion in terms of (INAUDIBLE) this is the essence of bad law, having 1,100-page law that people can't understand. You're right, it just -- it -- it's a lawyers' full employment act.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what? I would be ashamed or embarrassed to peddle this.
MOORE: They should be.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I think...
MOORE: They (INAUDIBLE)
VAN SUSTEREN: I need -- I think we need to fix health care in this country.
VAN SUSTEREN: Don't get me wrong. But I would absolutely be ashamed to say this is something I wrote or have my name on it!
MOORE: And this is why -- you know, as we started this conversation, John Conyers is the first guy to say something honest about this bill! He said, Why read the bill? I can't understand it. And if the members of Congress can't understand it, who does? I mean, who wrote this stuff?
VAN SUSTEREN: But even that tax equal 2.5 percent of the excess of, which is here -- is that (INAUDIBLE) they just pull these things out of a hat!
MOORE: Well, I think they do. And it's -- you know, that -- by the way, that does violate the president's pledge not to tax people under $250,000. He may not even understand that because maybe the White House hasn't read the bill!
VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) you know, shame on them. I mean, they -- they could make this very simple. I mean, I actually -- I mean, some people think that you have to make it complicated...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... so that you look smart. A smart person writes clearly. A smart person come up with a simple solution to solve a problem.
MOORE: If only they would follow their own advice and write in clear, concise and understandable language, something they are incapable of doing on Capitol Hill.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, but I -- you really don't think -- I mean, it's, like, I'm just stunned at it. I don't even know what to say.
MOORE: It's a good cure for insomnia, by the way. Anybody out there, if you cannot get to sleep, read this bill! It will put you to sleep!
VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know...
MOORE: After about 20 pages.
VAN SUSTEREN: I would just be profoundly embarrassed if my name were on it. Anyway, Steve, thank you.
MOORE: Thank you, Greta.
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