This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 11, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews. 

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Reaction to this, fast and furious, we decided to get one of Washington's best and brightest right in the studio with us to weigh in on it, Senator Tim Hutchinson, a Republican of Arkansas, of course, not only of the Armed Services Committee, he's also in the Health Committee. He handles it all. What did you think?

SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON (R-AR), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, Neil, I'm very pleased to see the president speaking out and really getting ahead of the curve on this. During the January recess, there was no issue that I heard more about than rising health care costs and the concern about the increased number of uninsured. So this is very timely.

He took a very free market, not looking to government for the solution. The, as you said, the medical savings accounts, the individual health accounts, that concept has been around but we haven't had a president to push it. We do now. The association health plans to allow small businesses to get the benefit of size. This is something I pushed and we've got a president now supporting that.

CAVUTO: But it costs money, right? I mean, you might not have something as grandiose as what the Clintons envisioned nearly a decade ago, but this is still going to cost some change, expanding Medicare's role, Medicaid's role, it would expand it, wouldn't it?

HUTCHINSON: Well, absolutely. The prescription drug issue is certainly going to cost money and I'm pleased that he addressed -- I think it's something we absolutely have to address. We need to address it in the sense of reforming the system because the system has financial problems. So there is going to be some costs involved. Association health plans, I think, are more a policy change because this is something that legally we can't allow these health plans to go beyond state borders unless we change...

CAVUTO: See, that what worries me, Senator. You know this far better than I do, but how are you going to get all these guys together on this? Anything that insurance companies like and doctors like can't happen, right? I mean, one or the other is going to like it. Doctors might like this. Insurance companies might balk at this.

HUTCHINSON: You called it a middle of the road approach. Whether you take the patients' bill of rights or any of these other issues, he did take a centrist approach on it and I think we can build some consensus. These are not all new ideas.

CAVUTO: Right.

HUTCHINSON: What we have lacked is a president to put the power of the presidency behind it.

CAVUTO: And now what we lack, sir, is money, right? I mean, now with the president wanting to beef up defense this year, what, $48 billion. You know, the Democrats are blasting you on this tax cut thing. Do you feel that they are going to put you in a box and say, all right, you want these medical savings accounts or whatever you are going to call them, give up the tax cut. What would Senator Hutchinson say?

HUTCHINSON: I would say that would be a terrible mistake, that we need to make those tax cuts permanent because that is the best way to get this economy going again and when the economy starts going, soon we'll have surpluses again. And we have a wartime budget, and I think the American people have accepted that.

CAVUTO: And the American people would accept the deficits that come with that?

HUTCHINSON: I think they will accept temporary deficits as long as they understand where it is going and why we are doing it.

CAVUTO: You know, I had Congressman Weiner here from the other side of the aisle, who is saying, you know, we Democrats are going to revisit this tax cut rollout for the upper income. Is there some nervousness in the Republican ranks that this could turn into class warfare and you guys are behind the eight ball?

HUTCHINSON: Well, they always try to turn it into class warfare and I don't think there is any anxiety. We'll take on the tax debate any day. The American people, if they want to go out, the Democrats, and campaign to increase taxes which is what do you if you defer the tax cuts, then we'll have that debate because I think the American people realize that raising taxes is not the way we deal with our economic situation or our government services issues.

CAVUTO: Senator Hutchinson, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

HUTCHINSON: Neil, thank you very much.

CAVUTO: Good see you in the flesh.


Senator Tim Hutchinson of the state of Arkansas.

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