Democrat Not Worried by Legal Challenge

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," March 23, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.


BIDEN: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.




NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Well, a big something deal, indeed — Democrats whooping it up as states start really lawyering up.

Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto.

Well, plenty of whooping and hollering as the nearly-trillion-dollar health care plan becomes the law of the land, the president signing on to make history. Now 14 state attorneys general signing off to try and make what he unleashed history.

My next guest not too worried, though, Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch, who was among those celebrating at the White House today.

Congressman, very good to have you.

REP. PETER WELCH D-VT.: Good to be here.

CAVUTO: This on the same day, sir, I’m sure you’re aware there are a number of attorneys generals, including one Democratic A.G., who is looking to stop this. Very unusual. Are you very worried?

WELCH: You know, I actually think it’s a great fight.

If the Republicans and those who voted against this want to repeal this and make this the issue in November, that’s a fair-and-square fight, because, at the end of the day, the American people obviously have to have a say.

And what the difference will be is that now the bill they want to repeal is a fantasy bill. It doesn’t exist. The bill that we passed means that we have our kids on our health care until they’re 26. Do they want to repeal that? Insurance companies can’t deny you because of a preexisting condition. Do they want to repeal that?

We’re starting to close the doughnut hole for our seniors on Medicare. Do they want to repeal that? So, this is a great debate, but I think it actually changes dramatically, because it’s a real bill, not the fantasy bill that they have been running against.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, they’re actually running against the real issue of 16,000 IRS agents that will now be hired to police compliance with this. What they’re running against are extra fees and taxes associated with this compliance if you don’t run with this.

And what they’re really looking at is whether Congress itself has usurped its role here and gone way beyond what can legally be done. That’s what they’re looking at.

WELCH: Yes. You know, there’s a — they’re going to go to court. And the way it works in our country, as you know, Neil, is that, if there’s a dispute about what the Constitution says, it’s not decided by you or me; it’s decided by the court. And fine. Go to court and have a decision.

But on what this legislation is about and what it’s going to mean to the American people, we now have a real bill. And, in fact, that’s going to allow us to have much more of a real debate than we had these past several months.

CAVUTO: So, when we have the real bill right now, Congressman, if you can bring me up to speed on the mechanics here, assuming the second measure, the so-called reconciliation measure, makes it through all the debate and other things we’re going to be get into later in this show, will that then become the superseding bill, assuming it gets to the president’s desk?

WELCH: Well, they’re both the bill.

I mean, what — the reconciliation bill essentially amends the Senate bill, so it’s not unlike other any legislation. You pass bill A and then you pass some amendments to "improve it." And that’s obviously my point of view. So, it would be a combined new health care bill.

But, bottom line, the insurance reforms that are long overdo and were really resisted by the insurance industry, are going to make a huge difference for the American people.

I get so much positive response from folks whose kids are graduated from high school or college and then they get dumped off the health care plan of their parents. Or I get — we all hear stories about folks who have a preexisting condition and can’t get coverage.


CAVUTO: No doubt. No, Congressman, you’re quite right, sir. There are quite a number of very good features that, by and large, a lot of folks would support. As a — as — a daughter of that age, I’m not quite sure it’s an impetus to just have her keep living with me, but that’s OK. I think your intentions are good.


CAVUTO: But what I do want to raise, and I wonder why leave out, some of these less-than-attractive elements in this law that are being questioned here, and whether the — the hand of government is getting a little too stern on some of those more unpleasant features that are coming in future years, are just sort of being put off and not discussed.

WELCH: Well, see, my view is that that’s — that’s a lot of exaggeration. I mean, a lot of the debate was, this is a socialist bill.

CAVUTO: Well, no, wait, wait, wait. What am I exaggerating, that we don’t tax...


WELCH: Well...


CAVUTO: And some of these measures are coming. We know the IRS is going to police this. We know it’s going to hire 16,000 people to police this. We know taxes are going to go up. Medicare, unearned income is going to go up on the wealthy and others in a payroll tax. We know that’s happening.

WELCH: Here’s the fundamental question.

The fundamental question is whether or not this is going to be successful in bringing down the deficit. We’re having an argument about that. The CBO says it definitely will. The fundamental question...


CAVUTO: Wait a minute, Congressman. With all due respect — and I’m very happy you came on. I don’t mean to interrupt you here, but, with all due respect, the CBO did not take into account some of this promise that has been made now to doctors who are ticked off about the Medicare reimbursement.



WELCH: Go ahead.

CAVUTO: But many in the CBO have said that, in order to pay for that, that that alone could be $100 billion to $200 billion extra, and that would be not deficit-neutral, would it?

WELCH: Well, this is the same thing that Mr. Boehner did.

The bottom line is that we argue back and forth, but the impartial referee is the CBO. They’re saying $138 billion over 10 years.


CAVUTO: I know, but the CBO hasn’t — I know. I know. But the CBO hasn’t looked into that, right?


CAVUTO: The CBO hasn’t looked into that.

WELCH: Yes, sure they have.

CAVUTO: No, no, they haven’t. Trust me. This much, I know. I spent the better part of the last half-a-week in Washington. And that, I know they have not looked at, the allowances that are being made to doctors who fear their Medicaid reimbursements are going to be cut.

So, as a promise and — and a salve to them, they have been told, we’re going to do something about that, and a tonic that would cost, if it was placed in here, and the CBO had to score it, it would be a lot of money, right?

WELCH: You know, Neil, you have got — you have got a real valid point about the doctors, because we have got to pay them fair.

And the Republican Congresses and the Democratic Congresses have kicked that can down the road. That’s a problem that pre-existed this health care situation. And it’s something, I hope together, we can resolve, as we have before.

But, the bottom line, on the health care bill, there’s a lot to debate, but now it’s a real bill, not a fantasy bill, including some of those provisions that you mentioned, because those are fair-and-square subjects of debate.

But the notion that — that government is getting over-involved, I really challenge that, because people will continue to select their own doctor.

CAVUTO: All right.

WELCH: They will be able to go to the hospital of their choice. It’s private delivery of health care, just like Medicare. And that was the part of the Republican argument against this that was really exaggerated and overblown.

CAVUTO: All right. All right. Fair enough. We shall see, because you’re quite right, sir. It’s out there for the world to see right now. It’s the law of the land.

Congressman, thank you very much.

WELCH: Thank you, Neil.

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