Interviews

Rep. Kelly on being called out by Trump on health care at Pa. rally

Pennsylvania Republican congressman weighs in on 'Your World'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 1, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And I will be so angry at Congressman Kelly and Congressman Marino and all of our congressmen in this room if we don't get that damn thing passed quickly.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, that was from Saturday, of course, when the president was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for a rally of his core supporters.

And the Pennsylvania congressman was in the audience.

Mike Kelly joins us right now.

Well, did that make you sweat a little bit?

REP. MIKE KELLY, R-PA.: No.

(LAUGHTER)

KELLY: No. No, not at all, Neil.

Listen, if you can't stand the heat, you shouldn't be in the kitchen. The president is exactly right. And is he going to be angry? He is probably going to be angry. But, more importantly, most of America is going to be angry. So, we have to do something this week. And I think we're going to get it done this week.

CAVUTO: Well, wait a minute. You said he is going to be angry.

Does that mean you're going to vote whatever this rework health care measure is? That's what he was referring to.

KELLY: No, no, no, no. I have been on board since day one.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But no to what? I'm sorry, Congressman. What were you saying no to?

KELLY: Well, what I'm saying is, am I upset with him being angry? No, I'm not at all.

And I'm not saying no to a health care package that has had a lot of accommodations in it and is addressing some of those issues that we think are the most pertinent. So, preexisting is one of those things that I have been on since day one.

But -- but it's still comes down to the business model of insurance and how do you construct it? And then what is the states' role in this? Because we really do believe the states should have some sovereignty. They should be able to put together what they think is best for the people...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But what if my state says no to coverage for preexisting conditions?

KELLY: There's a lot of people who feel that's up to the states to decide.

I really do believe in my heart of hearts...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But if you have that in the measure, sir, what that is going to do is tick off a lot of your moderate colleagues who say no way in hell would they vote for that.

KELLY: Do you know what, Neil? At this point, I don't think we can put something together that is going to keep everybody happy.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, preexisting is a big one. Wouldn't you argue that?

KELLY: Oh, it is a big one. And I think you have to have -- do you have to have an understanding of how important the preexisting is.

That's why you do have these high-risk pools. You have all these things that you can do and re-insurance programs that help keep that under control.

Again, it's a business model. And if you understand how businesses work, this shouldn't be a problem for people. But some people get so wrapped around the axle on their principles, they can't see how they're really affecting the people they represent and the importance of this issue to each and every one of those folks.

CAVUTO: Well, I think to those who have preexisting conditions or illness before, they get a little nervous when they hear, well, it is not quite a definite, it's up to the states.

Are you telling me, just to be clear, that the way it's been reworked, this latest incarnation of a repeal rework of the president's Affordable Care Act, there's not a -- there's not a guarantee that preexisting conditions are covered, that it will be at the discretion of states?

KELLY: Well, here's what I can guarantee, that we have put together a health care package that is going to go before the Congress.

We're going to have to rely on just Republicans to get it across the finish line. Will every Republican agree with it? No, absolutely not. I do believe -- and, for me, for my vote, we have to have preexisting conditions in there. I think it just makes sense.

Now, some people will disagree with me and say, no, that's not. And that's a nonstarter for me.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But it doesn't sound like it's in there. It doesn't sound like it's in there.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: No, we definitely want it.

CAVUTO: That's what you want and then maybe Pennsylvania that will be guaranteed by your state, but what about in other states that might say, well, maybe not?

KELLY: Well, I think the opt -- the option to do it or opt out of it may be there for other states.

But I got to tell you, where I'm from, that is...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But you can see why your colleagues then are getting antsy, right, because the moderate ones are saying, you know, that's the one thing we all agree on, because it's coverage of something that could happen to anyone, and we want to make sure it's in there. And now you're saying there's a possibility, your own personal views notwithstanding, sir, it might not be.

KELLY: No, my understanding, it is in there. And I'm going to find out.

They go into the whip meeting pretty soon to see what exactly we're at. My understanding, it is in there.

And I will just say this, Neil. Look, there are some people that, no matter what you do, they couldn't get to yes. So they're going to vote no and hope yes.

CAVUTO: Yes.

KELLY: Which is OK. You can do that. But that's not a sign of courage to me. That's a sign of maybe we will go back home and say no, no, no, I wasn't on board with that.

Here's what I'm saying. We know, as a party, we know as a people, more importantly, who is it that we're trying to take care of? Preexisting conditions is key to so many of the people that I represent back home. Listen, they're not all Republicans.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Apparently, it's not all key to your colleagues. Right?

KELLY: Well, you know what? My colleagues have to do what they think is right in their heart. I represent -- and I have said this before -- 705,000.

CAVUTO: Well, try to tell that to someone who has had cancer or a life- threatening disease and, all of a sudden, they're marked men. I don't care whether they're Republicans or Democrats or independents or Martians. They're scared, right?

KELLY: I hear you. I hear you.

But let me tell you something, I have gone through those issues with my own family and with friends. And I understand that. So it's much easier to go on TV or go and say this is not what I'm going to do. When you see these people face to face, you look into their eyes and you know what they're going through, I don't understand how you couldn't be understanding of that sympathetic with it and not do something that makes sense for the people you represent.

That's just who we are. That's who we are as Americans, for crying out loud.

CAVUTO: All right, well, the president obviously seems to think, Congressman, that coverage is in there for preexisting conditions.

He said as much in a CBS interview. Does he know something we don't know, or is he missing something that he should know?

KELLY: No, I think that is consistent.

That's what I believe is in there also. So, you're going to have some differing opinions. You're going to have some people make statements out there. But I believe it's in there, Neil, and I believe it's coming up. And I believe we are going to see very quickly a vote and it gets passed through the House and sent to the House -- to the Senate.

CAVUTO: This week? This week?

KELLY: You know what? I can't say this week.

CAVUTO: All right.

KELLY: I feel it is this week. But it has to get to the Senate and we will see what the Senate does with it.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very much, Mike Kelly...

KELLY: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: ... of the beautiful state of Pennsylvania.

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