Interviews

Black: We see people dying every day because of ObamaCare

House Budget Committee chair speaks out on 'Your World'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 16, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST:  The House Budget Committee voted 19-17 today to approve the GOP health care bill, despite what is becoming a familiar line from the other side of the aisle, DNC Chair Tom Perez saying earlier this week people will die if the plan is passed.  

Republican Congresswoman Diane Black of Tennessee chairs the Budget Committee.  And she's with us now.  

Diane, what do you make of that?  People will die.

REP. DIANE BLACK, R-TENNESSEE:  Stuart, we see people that are dying today because the Affordable Care Act, where all the promises that were made are not coming so.  

And I'm going to take my own state of Tennessee and tell you that people may have a card, but they don't necessarily have access to care.  And we're trying to reverse this and rescue people and give them a plan that is a patient-centered plan at a cost they can afford and getting what it is that they want in their plan.  

VARNEY:  If one person perceives or one group perceives that they're going to get hit, and hit hard, by the GOP's plan, they're going to demagogue it to death.  

And I ask the same question to you as I asked to Herman Cain.  Does it stick?  Is Middle America convinced that there is something wrong when anybody, any group gets hurt?

BLACK:  Well, I will tell you this.

I have -- I went through this back in the state of Tennessee a number of years ago.  It's what brought me in the public policy arena to begin with, is that we have a program that was supposed to be the single-payer system. It was then called Hillarycare.  

It was brought to our state as a pilot.  And we saw growing costs, to a point where it was just going to crush our state.  A Democrat governor was the one who discontinued the program.  

Here was the problem, is, he discontinued it without having a glide path to take care of people.  And we're not going to do that in our program.  I have been through that.  I don't want to see that again.  

We're going to make sure that people are taken care of and that there will be a glide path into what will be a new program that will be more sustainable.  

VARNEY:  Well, can you tell me of any significant government program in the past which has been completely wiped out, even if it's replaced with something else?  Have you ever seen a big government program done away with?  

BLACK:  I think what we're seeing is, when we look at some of the governors who are using what they have as their ability and their states, such as in Maine, we're seeing some changes in the entitlement program there, and it's working, look, we can never guarantee that there won't be somebody to fall through the cracks.  

And we need to do everything we can.  As a health care provider, a nurse, I want to make sure everyone is taken care of and that we don't let people fall through the cracks.  And that's exactly what we're attempting to do in our plan.  

VARNEY:  In that Budget Committee meeting today -- or the vote, I should say -- it was a very close-run thing.  The vote was 19-17.  

Some conservative Republicans voted with the other side against the proposal.  

BLACK:  Yes.  Yes.  

VARNEY:  It's very, very close.  And the Republican Party is deeply divided on this.  It's got to worry you.

BLACK:  Well, some of those members had issues that they really felt like they couldn't vote for this because they didn't want to move something along that they weren't assured that we were going to make changes.  

But let me just say this, that the leadership encouraged us to come out with some motions of direction to the Rules Committee, which we were able to do.  We asked our members to give us suggestions.  We were able to fully debate those.  

As a matter of fact, one of them actually got some of our Democrat colleagues to come on and vote with us on that.  And so this is a process, Stuart.  And that's what I keep telling my members is, don't make your decisions today.  Be at the table.  Bring good thoughts.  

This is regular order.  This is the way laws are supposed to be made.  And that's not what has happened over the last six years.  And I'm delighted that we're in the process.  It's already been through two committees.  It's come through our committee.  It's going through the Rules Committee.  And it will eventually come to the floor.  And then it will go to the Senate.  

And they can make even more changes to it.  Along the way, it just gets better and better.  

VARNEY:  OK.

Sausage-making is an ugly process.  

(LAUGHTER)

BLACK:  Yes, it is.

VARNEY:  Diane Black, thanks very much for joining us, ma'am.  Appreciate it.  

BLACK:  Thank you for having me.

VARNEY:  Yes.  

END

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