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Charles Krauthammer on Future of Obamacare

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 18, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: The vote to repeal Obamacare should take place tomorrow in the House, and the Democrats are furious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOICEOVER: Members of Congress know their health insurance plan can't deny coverage for their kids. Congressmen can rest assured that their insurance plan won't drop their families if they get sick. The Affordable Care Act gave your family the same health protections members of Congress get, but Republicans want to take that protection away from your family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: The Affordable Care Act is Obamacare. Joining us now from Washington, Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer. So what did you think of that spot, first of all, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it works on somebody who thinks that those two provisions are all that are in a bill of 2,300 pages. The problem is that most Americans know that there's a lot else in there. That's why the Democrats have lost the debate for the last year and a half. That's why they're going to continue to lose the debate over the next two years. They know that the price for those goodies is a trillion dollars of new spending, 138 or so new commissions and regulators getting between you and your doctor, 100,000 pages of new regulation, and, essentially, a federal government takeover of a sixth of the U.S. economy. That's a high price to pay for a couple of goodies which you can get without any of that.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, the affordable health care legislation, that's what the side that likes Obamacare is branding it, because they're trying to say -- and the argument has been made, the CBO, we've all heard all that -- that it will bring down health care costs which are of concern to every American. So is that a smart tactic?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think it can't work, and the reason it didn't work for the last year and a half. People are not stupid. If people say we're passing a bill that is going to expand coverage to 33 million Americans who haven't had it and this is going to reduce the deficit, they know you're talking out of your hat. Or that you've jiggled the numbers in such a way as to make it look like that. The argument against this deficit reduction is so clear, it's so obvious, so easy to make, if Republicans can't make it, they don't deserve to be the opposition.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, we assume it will pass the House handily tomorrow, and then it goes over to the Senate. Now, the Senate has some vulnerable senators like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Claire McCaskill in Missouri. So it's likely they'll pick up a couple of Democratic votes to repeal Obamacare. I'm going to ask to you make a prediction here. What is going to happen in the Senate?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think the repeal will not come out of the Senate. If the Republicans are smart, what they'll do is pass in the House the repeal. They know it won't pass in the Senate.

However, I think what they ought to do after that is to pass repeal of one provision, the individual mandate, which people hate. They don't want -- they don't like the idea of being forced to enter into a private contract with an insurer by the federal government.

I think you've got enough Democrats in the Senate like McCaskill and like the others -- there are 23 Democrats who have to be re-elected in 2012. A lot of them are in red states. You could get a majority on that. Now, of course, it's not going to get enough to override a veto. But the whole purpose of this, nobody expects that Obamacare will be repealed in the next two years. But it will be one of the major issues in the presidential election.

O'REILLY: No. But if they do -- if they do pass -- right, because the president will veto anything that comes through.

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. In the end, he'll defend it.

O'REILLY: He has to. So you say that -- that the Senate on this vote won't even -- will vote up -- straight up or down or won't even come up for a vote?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think there will be a filibuster, which will be ironic because it will be Democrats, the ones who have been screaming...

O'REILLY: But that will hurt the Democratic Party even more.

KRAUTHAMMER: It will expose them as hypocrites. But in the end, here's the deal. When Clinton was re-elected, he had the virtue, he had the benefit of having a health care reform that didn't succeed. It had failed in the first two years. The albatross was gone. He didn't have to defend it in his re-election. Obama has a problem. It passed. There's no way to escape it. It's now entering into law. It is, it should be, it will be one of the major issues in his re-election, and that ought to decide an issue of that size, a presidential election.

O'REILLY: All right, Charles. Thanks very much, as always.

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