Interviews

Gov. Jindal on alternative to ObamaCare

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 17, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, are you in the mood for a tax cuts after writing a check to the IRS?

Republican Governor Bobby Jindal of the fine state of Louisiana, says one might be coming sooner than you think.

Hi, Governor. Explain.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, R-LA.: Neil, it's great to be back with you.

Look, if the Supreme Court rules the way they should, not only do the subsidies go away, the individual and the employer mandates for the most part go away in up to 37 states.

That means tens of billions of dollars in tax cuts, because it was tax increases through the mandates that are part of ObamaCare, that would go away. Hundreds of billions of dollars of spending would go away. That's why it's so important that Republicans in Congress don't rush to try to become cheaper Democrats and pass ObamaCare-lite.

I think if the court gives us this chance, we need to pass our own alternative that doesn't restore those tax increases, doesn't involve a new entitlement program, and really focuses on reducing costs, unlike what the president did.

CAVUTO: Now, I'm not a lawyer, governor, but some people tell me that if the Supreme Court ruled that way -- and there is a distinct possibility it could -- then anywhere from 12 to 16 million Americans are without health insurance.

What do you think Republicans should do for them? Should they have something at the ready just in case that is what happens?

JINDAL: Neil, that's why I think they need to pass their plan today, before the court even rules.

CAVUTO: Well, they're not. They're a long way from that.

(CROSSTALK)

JINDAL: Well, and, look, I proposed a plan a year ago with 16 points, a standard deduction, grants to the states for a form of Medicaid, interstate purchase of insurance, medical savings accounts, cracking down on frivolous lawsuits, that would help millions of Americans get access, would also lower costs by thousands of dollars to the average family.

So to answer your question, absolutely. They need to pass a plan today. And here is what is going to happen if they don't. The president will be on TV. He will have a sympathetic example of a patient with chemo or a dialysis treatment, saying they're going to lose their access if the Republicans don't do something.

CAVUTO: Right.

JINDAL: What I worry about is, the Republicans in Congress have already given up on amnesty. They shouldn't give up on ObamaCare. And the best way to avoid that is to pass their alternative today, show that we have got a better plan.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes, but that would never be signed by the president, right? We're always in this weird dilemma, right? So if Republicans pass a plan that the House and Senate mutually agree on it, the president rejects it, the Supreme Court decision comes along, all of a sudden, these folks are without that, and the president is going to paint you -- not specifically you, but Republicans, as the boogeymen.

JINDAL: He might paint me specifically, and that's OK, but two things.

Look, Hillary Clinton started this back in '93 trying to take over the health care system. It took them several years to get ObamaCare done. I don't know why conservative Republicans always give up before the fight starts. If we have got an alternative plan when the Supreme Court rules, we at least can go to the American people and try to convince the president to do the right thing, not the political thing, say there is no reason to hurt millions of Americans. We have got a plan that doesn't raise taxes.

My real concern is the Republicans do pass a plan, but it raises some taxes. It creates a new entitlement program and it doesn't focus on costs and is just a cheaper version of ObamaCare.

CAVUTO: But isn't it always a matter of which entitlement is less of a burden or an annoyance? Republicans get rapped. This came up with you, I'm sure, Governor, as it did your counterpart Chris Christie in New Jersey, that you might not like the health care plan, but you're OK with the Medicaid and the money that comes that way.

What do you say to that, that Republicans are inconsistent on this?

JINDAL: Two things.

Part of my 16-point plan on health care reform is to turn Medicaid into a global grant where, in return for states getting their own tax dollars back, yes, it would be better if they would allow us to keep our dollars in the first place.

CAVUTO: Right.

JINDAL: If you're going to take our tax dollars, for them to give it back to us without all these strings, without all of this red tape.

There was a great study in Oregon, this Harvard study, that showed even when they did Medicaid expansion, they didn't see an improvement in health care outcomes. So, why not, instead of the federal government trying to micromanage states in health care, why don't they trust us? The 10th Amendment to the Constitution, under federalism, states should have the ability to innovate, experiment.

We know the needs of our people better than bureaucrats in D.C.

CAVUTO: All right.

JINDAL: So, to the extent you're going to have this funding, give it to the states without the red tape, without the bureaucracy.

CAVUTO: You mentioned funding, Governor.

I would remiss if I didn't mention all the dash for cash on the part of likely or possible presidential candidates. You're in that bunch often mentioned. And I'm wondering whether you feel like you're getting lost in the sauce with the Jeb Bushes and the Scott Walkers, who seem at this early stage -- and it's a long way from anything right now -- getting a lot of that donor dough.

JINDAL: Neil, you know, look, I know a lot of candidates are focused. Potential candidates are focused on how do they win, whether it's fund- raising or polling or consultants.

I'm more focused on what the next president should do. I spent the last year developing detailed ideas on health care, on energy, on foreign policy, on education policy. Neil, we need our next president to make big changes. I think we need somebody who is going to do something, not just want to be somebody.

I don't know why other potential candidates aren't all doing the same thing, thinking about what they would do if they were actually elected. I think that's far more important. I think will be plenty of time for fund- raising or consultants or polls.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: No, no, I understand where you're coming from. And it's a very altruistic view.

I guess what I'm saying is, I don't remember an election -- and I'm sure there were others. People tell me, in 2000, that was the case, 2004, 2008, but that the early betting was so heavily placed on the early money- getting, and that Jeb Bush appears to have gotten a lot of that.

He sort of sucked the oxygen and the cash out of the room. And a lot of others, prospective candidates, I guess, are resentful. Are you?

JINDAL: Oh, not at all.

Neil, the great thing is, it's an election, not an auction. At the end of the day, the insiders, the donors won't get to pick our nominee. The voters get to decide. It's going to be an open debate, a free contest of ideas. And I think that's a good thing.

CAVUTO: Well, it does cushion you, doesn't it, Governor? It does give you a little bit of wherewithal to get you through the bumps.

JINDAL: Well, look, the reality is, if you were at this point in the cycle four years ago or eight years and you looked at the pundits and you looked at the polls, I don't think anybody was predicting the folks that actually ended up winning in Iowa.

The great thing about a democracy, it's messy, it's unpredictable. Donors don't get to pick. Pundits don't get to pick. The media doesn't get to pick. The voters get to pick. There is plenty of time for them to kick the tires to go see who is the authentic conservative candidate willing to stand up for our beliefs and say we're going to get our country back.

This president has done serious damage on foreign policy, on domestic policy. We need a major course correction, not just minor adjustments.

CAVUTO: You know, Governor, the other day, on Fox Business Network, which if you don't get, you should demand, but one of the things I learned talking to a very conservative, I think like a Tea Party Republican conservative, and, for lack of a better term, sir, a mainstreamer, was that they're wildly opposed when it comes to how far Congress should go, even to the point of threatening to shut down the government to get their way.

And it reminds me that you're going have to bridge those two parts of the party together. It's been done before. And it can be done. And Democrats have their own issues with the far left and the Elizabeth Warren crowd and those not satisfied with Hillary Clinton.

So I'm wondering how you, if you ran for president, would bridge that divide.

JINDAL: Well, two things.

Neil, I know that the media loves to talk about the Tea Party. The far left is a huge issue. The biggest challenge to our country is not the Tea Party, certainly. The biggest challenge for our country is over $18 trillion of debt, Iran on the verge of becoming a nuclear power. We need the passion and the enthusiasm of conservatives to stand up and say enough is enough. We can't afford -- this country is bankrupting our country at home morally and abroad.

So, I'm grateful for the passion of the Tea Party and the conservative grassroots who are saying to our Congress, you gave up on amnesty without a fight. Don't give up on ObamaCare without a fight. Don't allow Iran to become a nuclear power. Don't just contain ISIS. We need to hunt them down and kill them.

I actually think that passion is a great thing, because I'm worried, I'm worried this president is trying to change the definition of America. It's greater than tax rates or spending or debt. It really is trying to redefine the American dream.

My first term as governor, I had a Democratic House and Senate. I think governors -- one of the reasons I'm biased towards governors in terms of our nominee, our next president is that governors actually have to govern. They have to work with legislators from both parties.

CAVUTO: Yes, but I was talking to Senator Marco Rubio, who surprisingly disagrees with you on that governor thing.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: And one of the things he introduced when I was talking to him, Governor, is a very simplified tax plan; 15 to 25 percent, I believe, were his two rates. He would do away with a lot of investment taxes.

Many on the left criticized that, saying it was a giveaway to the Mitt Romneys and the rich guys who that's all they get. You tax that. So they would escape taxes altogether. What do you think of a simplified approach like that?

JINDAL: Well, a couple of things.

And when I said governors, I include TV hosts as well.

CAVUTO: There you go.

JINDAL: By the way, I would make an exception to that.

CAVUTO: Absolutely. We could do worse, right.

JINDAL: We need lower, flatter, a simpler tax code.

Think about what the left is saying about this approach. The president has taught us that America is all about envy and class warfare. America should be about growth and opportunity. It shouldn't matter where you were born. The circumstances of your birth shouldn't determine your outcomes as an adult.

Of course, we should have a tax code that promotes growth, so that we don't think 2 percent is a real recovery, so we don't have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrial world, so that Washington isn't taking more and more money out of the pockets of average working families.

CAVUTO: All right. Governor, it's always a pleasure speaking with you. And I do enjoy it.

Governor Bobby Jindal of the wonderful state of Louisiana, thank you, sir.

JINDAL: Thank you, Neil.

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