This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," October 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, you bend, they twist — Republicans supporting health care reform crying foul over some Democrats insisting they support their health care reform.
These next two GOPers are saying, far from it — Senator Susan Collins learning that lesson today.
Same with my next guest. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson Governor was also Republican governor of Wisconsin.
Governor, Senator, welcome — or, Governor, I should say.
CAVUTO: The senator had said this. Bob Dole had told me this last week when he was with me: I didn`t sign on to their reform, Neil. I`m signing on to the notion that Republicans should work for reform.
That was kind of your pitch, right?
TOMMY THOMPSON, FORMER HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Absolutely. You know, people like Bob Dole and myself have been in the trenches for a long time advocating for a better health care system for all Americans. And that is what we`re still saying.
CAVUTO: But not this health care, right?
THOMPSON: Not this — not this one.
CAVUTO: So, you got ticked off. And, apparently Rahm Emanuel and the White House, they just pulled the ad right away.
THOMPSON: They did, because no — they got no permission. There was nobody...
CAVUTO: What did you say? Did you call the White House up, and...
CAVUTO: Oh, boy.
CAVUTO: I wouldn`t want to be on the receiving end of that.
THOMPSON: And, you know, it was just, you know...
CAVUTO: Well, what did you say?
THOMPSON: Well, basically, I said I never gave anybody permission to use me in an ad that`s going to criticize Republicans.
What I`m trying to do is bring the parties together, saying there was 80 percent of this health care bill that both political parties could support, which would be good for America. Why don`t we work on that 80 percent, get bipartisan support, and pass a health care bill that is going to really be a credit to this administration, to both political parties, and to America in general?
CAVUTO: I had — and I`m sounding like a name-dropper here, Governor.
CAVUTO: But I had Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, and he was saying, well, we want to strike a deal, but if it means that they won`t budge, better nothing on this deal than, you know, a half-patched one. And so he was saying no to this deal.
What do you make of that?
THOMPSON: Well, I think he`s probably correct, no to this deal.
But what I`m saying to...
CAVUTO: But you`re saying and Bob Dole are saying, don`t go too far with that, because then you will look like the party of no.
THOMPSON: That`s right.
CAVUTO: So, what is the middle ground?
THOMPSON: The middle ground is to say, you know — you know, both political parties, in their party platforms, advocated changing the system from a diseased system to a wellness system. Do something about chronic illnesses, manage diseases, and you will take up — about 75 percent of the cost of health care is in this particular area.
Both political parties want that. You`re talking about insurance reform. Let`s do something about allowing individuals to get insurance easier, and don`t put arbitrary kinds of ceilings on it, and be able to allow more people to get involved.
Allow people to cross state lines and buy health insurance, be able to have people come together and have groups to purchase health insurance, things like this that both political parties can and should be supporting.
CAVUTO: But you know, Governor, I have a theory on this.
THOMPSON: Sure. Sure.
CAVUTO: Could be wrong, but my theory is that many of the Democrats on the Hill don`t want to do anything that helps the private health insurance companies, because they`re the evil guys who are making a ton of money.
THOMPSON: Some feel that way.
CAVUTO: Some. You`re right.
So, they don`t want to do anything to help their cause, to, you know, cross state boundaries, shared insurance, that sort of thing, and anything that would — would address some of the private insurance companies` concerns. So, they`re not going to do that. So, that`s a nonstarter.
So, Republicans can talk all they want about that, but that is not going to go anywhere.
THOMPSON: But there`s a coalition there. There`s a coalition to get something done. And what I think Bob Dole — and I know what I`m saying is, let`s team up together. Let`s get something done.
All of us have come to the conclusion that the health care system in America needs to be changed and needs to be fixed. Why do we wait and — and get it done?
Why — why wait? We`re here now. We`re at — pretty much at the 10- yard line. And there`s a lot of things in all the bills and all the concepts that we can come together on that would really improve the health care system. I don`t want to leave that opportunity on the field. I want to get it passed. I want to make a touchdown.
CAVUTO: But what you`re wrong, we`re not on the 10-yard line; we`re actually 90 yards away from...
THOMPSON: Well, maybe you`re right, but I think we`re still on the 10-yard line.
But my point is, then, that, do Republicans negotiate, or do you assume the Rush Limbaugh position in an interview he advocated on NBC; Republicans go back to their conservative roots and quit reaching out across the aisle, because you only get slapped?
THOMPSON: Well, I think that there`s a better way to do it.
And there`s a tremendous opportunity to get something done, and done positively. An that`s what, I think, Bob Dole — I know that`s what I want to do.
I — you know, health care is my passion. I want to be able to improve health care. I have got great ideas to make it better for all Americans. And I don`t want to lose this opportunity to really improve the quality of health care for all Americans. And we can do that. And if we just walk away, we`re going to fail. And I don`t think failure is an option here.
CAVUTO: All right, Governor, Secretary, always good seeing you.
THOMPSON: It`s my pleasure.
CAVUTO: Thank you very, very much.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
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