This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The president is urging Congress to rush a universal health care bill through Congress before the American people have a chance to give it a good look.
Now we here at "Hannity," we're not going to let that happen. Tonight, we're going to show what happens when the government takes your life and death decisions into its own hands.
We're going to show you what government rationing looks like in the countries where it exists, and we'll even going to take you to the state of Hawaii which implemented a universal health care program for seven short months.
Welcome to tonight's special, "Universal Nightmare."
Now tonight, you will also hear from Ainsley Earhardt who reports on two patients whose stories we're going to follow throughout the show. Now the American health care system did in fact save their lives, but would they have been so lucky if the government had rationed their care?
You can stay tuned to find out, but first let's meet the patients.
AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Major General William Davies retired from the military as a two-star general in 2002. One year later he went to the emergency room complaining of chest pains.
MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM DAVIES, U.S. ARMY (RET): I was there for many hours. They took blood and the whole works, and they came up with the conclusion that well, we really don't know what caused this. And it could be indigestion.
EARHARDT: Not buying that explanation, General Davies went to Carlisle, Pennsylvania cardiologist David Kahn for a stress test.
DAVIES: I was probably on the treadmill no more than four minutes, and he says, I guess you know you've got a little bit of a problem here.
DR. DAVID KAHN, CARDIOLOGIST: It was markedly abnormal, and I was concerned enough to not want to wait several days to have the patient studied.
DAVIES: I was thinking OK, well, how many weeks away is this going to be to set up this appointment for, and he says are you ready? I said for what? He says I'm going to take you to the hospital.
KAHN: The quickest way to get him studied was to take him to the hospital, so I did. I saw no upside to waiting several days.
EARHARDT: So Dr. Kahn wasted no time.
DAVIES: He personally drove me to the hospital.
EARHARDT (on camera): That's a good doctor.
DAVIES: And had his staff get a hold of the hospital.
KAHN: Did a diagnostic catherization that confirmed my belief that he had pretty significant disease and then we arranged to have his arteries fixed in a tertiary care center about 25 miles from here.
EARHARDT: How are you feeling today? How do you feel now?
DAVIES: Well, this procedure was about four years ago. I did not have a heart attack, I did not have any damage to my heart, I had four stints put in to my arteries, and I'm living a normal life.
EARHARDT (voice-over): 1,700 miles southwest of Carlisle lives Katherine Hale. Ten years ago she was facing major health problems of her own.
KATHERINE HALE, CANCER SURVIVOR: I was diagnosed with — they said a walk-in-the-park cancer, had surgery by a gynecologic oncologist, and after the surgery he says no, it's much worse than we thought. You have no more than six weeks left to live. Don't even try chemo, you'll die from the treatment of chemo. The chemo won't even touch the cancer, and that was it.
Actually he told me not to go to anyplace else, that he was positive. Quote, unquote, he said, "If you don't die in a car wreck or get shot by a gun, you'll be dead from the cancer in six weeks."
EARHARDT: But like General Davies, Katherine didn't accept that answer. She went to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for a second opinion.
DR. DIANE BODURKA, GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGIST: These are just little blood vessels in your lung and your liver. The original doctor had recommended chemotherapy only. When this type of cancer is advanced, it is never ever cured by chemotherapy alone.
So what we did here was we tailored a specific plan with her. We combined one type of chemotherapy with radiation because we knew the original chemo wasn't working, and then we added chemotherapy after the radiation was done.
HALE: I was told not to give up, let's try this. And if this doesn't work, there's other things we can try.
BODURKA: We take advantage of what we call multi-modality care, so — and somebody that has this advanced disease, and we know that one regimen is not going to work, we integrate several regimens, and that worked for her.
HALE: I had special teams of doctors that all met on my case, and here I am today, seven years, getting ready to eight years next month.
EARHARDT: For Katherine, those eight years had meant seeing her children grow up and the birth of her two grandchildren, something she could never put a price on.
HANNITY: Socialized medicine is by no means a new idea. In fact, the citizens of Canada and the United Kingdom are living through what can only be described as a "Universal Nightmare."
Now take a look at what could soon become a reality right here in America.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The very first promise I made on this campaign was that as president I will sign a universal health care plan into law by the end of my first term in office.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Folks, reform is coming. It is on track, it is coming.
HANNITY (voice-over): It's coming all right, and if the Obama administration has its way, millions of Americans are staring at another massive government tax hike.
DR. STEPHEN SIEGEL, GASTROENTEROLOGICAL SURGEON: The current proposals for reform of health care are very worrisome to me. I think they represent a slippery slope. For health care reform to be successful, they have to reduce costs, and the only way in fact to reduce cost is to reduce services and ration care.
HANNITY: Canada and the UK have government-run health care systems and many opponents say be careful for what you wish for.
SIEGEL: I think that once the American people realize that this is where the plan will lead us, they will not accept it.
HANNITY: Shona Holmes is a native of Ontario, Canada, and she knows all too well the struggles of being a patient in a government-operated health care system.
SHONA HOLMES, TRAVELED TO U.S. FOR TREATMENT: Before I went to the doctors in Canada, I started coming down with some symptoms, and I had to go and find out what was wrong with me, and at that point I was told that my vision was going and that we needed to see an endocrinologist and a neurologist immediately.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get an appointment with either one of them for up to four to six months for either one. I realized that I was in trouble, and at that point I decided that I better go down to the states and get a diagnosis and at least find out whether or not there was something serious to worry about, and that's when I traveled down to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
HANNITY: Within one week, Shona received the frightening news. She had a life-threatening brain tumor and with a full diagnosis in hand she headed back to Canada to fight for her life.
HOLMES: The people wouldn't even look at the diagnosis that I brought back from the States and I basically got thrown back into the system for testing, and I had been told that I needed to have this surgery in order to save my eyesight within four to six weeks.
HANNITY: With little health from her own health care system Shona and her husband returned to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Within weeks she had surgery that changed her life.
HOLMES: The U.S. health care absolutely saved my life.
HANNITY: Earlier this month Shona testified on Capitol Hill about the horrific experience.
HOLMES: What started many years ago as a seemingly compassionate move in our government to treat all equally and fairly by providing the same medical coverage has in fact turned into a nightmare of everyone suffering equally. And I'm here to say, when it doesn't work, it doesn't work.
HANNITY: Recently a Pajamas TV reporter went undercover in a Canadian hospital to get a firsthand look at what the American people could experience.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But it's hard to get a family doctor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE DOCTOR: Yes, I know. The only thing you can do is just call the phone number.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I did that like three months ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE DOCTOR: Yes. But maybe it's like two or three years.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Three — to get a doctor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE DOCTOR: Yes, but you're young, so you have the time.
HANNITY: Stories like this are common across Europe. Katie Brickel of London, England was another victim of a government-controlled system.
KATIE BRICKEL, CANCER SURVIVOR: When I was 19 everybody around me seemed to be getting smear tests, and I went to the doctors and asked if I could have one, and they told me that I was too young, that the age limit in England to have a smear test was 20, and so I went back when I was 20 years old. And they said the same thing, but this time the age limit had been raised to 25.
And I didn't need one until then. But when I was 23 I had symptoms I was worried about, and I went to the doctors, and we eventually found out that I had cervical cancer.
SIEGEL: When you have a x number of doctors for triple x number of patients, this results in waiting and waiting delays diagnosis, waiting delays treatment, waiting results in poor health and bad endings.
BRICKEL: I didn't get the care that I should have got. I didn't get it when I asked for it, and it ended up leading me to having an incurable cancer all because of one simple test that is too expensive for the government to have allowed me.
HANNITY: So if patients lose out and doctors predict disaster and all we hear are stories of long lines and wait lists that stretch for years, well, we have to wonder why this president is pushing for a system where poor quality health care is the norm?
SIEGEL: I have difficulty understanding why we as a country are trying to move towards systems that are not successful. I don't recall hearing of anyone flying to Canada or to the United Kingdom for second opinions in specialized care. They all come here.
HOLMES: In the United States I felt like a patient, and I felt like I was cared for, and in Canada I'm nothing but a number.
OBAMA: For those naysayers, cynics that think that this is not going to happen, don't bet against us. We are going to make this thing happen.
HANNITY: Unbelievable. Now let's check back in with Ainsley Earhardt and the two patients she profiled.
EARHARDT (voice-over): So how would our two patients have fared under the socialized medical system of Canada or Europe?
DAVIES: I can only suppose that given, you know, the circumstances that I was facing, if that happened in Canada or the United Kingdom, that perhaps I could have died. That's the conclusion I can draw.
EARHARDT: Remember General William Davies?
DAVIES: I went into ER, and the result was that I probably had indigestion because there's nothing else that we can determine.
EARHARDT: But when he went for a second opinion, his cardiologist put him in his own car and drove him to the hospital for immediate heart surgery.
(On camera): You were on an operating table getting stints put in to save your life.
DAVIES: The same day. It happened so fast.
EARHARDT (voice-over): General Davies has a daughter in law enforcement and a son currently fighting in Iraq. He worries that the long waits for care in other countries could one day be a reality here.
DAVIES: Everyone has a health problem one time or the other. Given that, my concern is how is my daughter or my son going to be taken care of when they have a health problem that has to be dealt with immediately?
Are they going to have to wait in line, have an appointment that's six months out or six weeks out? It wouldn't make any difference if you're going to die tomorrow.
EARHARDT: And what about Katherine Hale, the cancer patient in Texas.
BODURKA: I do know that they have gynecologists in Canada. I don't know how easy it is to access those physicians or how easy it is to get second opinions there, and the second opinion's really what saved Katherine's life.
HALE: If I were living in a country where you don't have a choice to go to a specialist, I would have done whatever it would have taken to come to the United States of America, to come to (INAUDIBLE) to seek out the specialist that gave me the best opportunity to have a life.
BODURKA: I was born in Canada, so I'm pretty familiar with the health care system there because my relatives still live there, and it is my impression that there is a long wait in terms of seeing a physician, getting the appropriate imaging, and then getting the appropriate treatment.
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