Discussion of Health Care Reform with Sen. Conrad, Rep. Coburn, and Rep. Blackburn on CBS

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... as we now know the president famously brought together members of congress thursday for the health care summit. he didn't... it didn't seem to change very many minds but it did underline how far apart all sides seem. we pick up with four members of congress now. senator coburn is in tulsa this morning. the rest of our guests are in the studio. >> good morning. >> schieffer: so i guess majority leader steny hoyer in the house, i guess the first question is to you. it is simply what next? >> well, first of all let me say about this meeting that we had. i thought it was extraordinary. i can't remember a similar meeting held by any president certainly in the 30 years i've been in congress. i think an awful lot of the american public watched it. i talked to aate low of people last night and the day before that had watched it. hopefully it was a better education. it was a civil and substantive discussion. i think the american public got the impression that very serious debate and discussion and there were differences. >> schieffer: but what now? >> but there was an agreement that we needed to have health care reform. that seemed to be a universal agreement. as a result of the work that has been done, we're going to move ahead to try to make sure that all americans have access to affordable, quality health care. we think that's essential. we think it will bring down costs. we think it will improve the health of america. and.... >> schieffer: do you have any better sense today than you had then that you're close to even having the votes? congressman ryan over in the house said this morning on television that you just don't have the votes over there in the house right now. >> i don't think we have the votes in terms of specific proposal because there's not a specific proposal on the table yet. the president has made some suggestions which i think reflect the discussions between the house and the senate. >> schieffer: when? >> i would think within the next couple of weeks we're going to have a specific proposal and start counting votes to see whether or not those proposals could pass either the house or the senate or both and send something to the president. >> schieffer: senator coburn, you're a republican leader in the senate said just this morning that as things stand now, all 41 members of the republican party in the senate would vote against health care reform. do you see that changing in any way? >> well, i think it could change if we started over and we actually worked and treated the disease that is plaguing the american health care. the disease is cost. until we put in the incentives to change the dynamics, the market dynamics, the fraud dynamics, the defensive medicine, that's $250 billion a year in defensive medicine costs, what we need is not more government. we need more market-oriented patient-centered health care rather than government-centered health care. so i think if we move to something like that, you could get some votes. >> schieffer: well that seems to be where the divide is. the republicans want less government. the democrats seem to think that this problem can be solved with more government. let me go to senator conrad. he's the chairman of the budget committee in the senate. do you see any chance that this divide can be bridged, senator? >> actually, i do. you know, my impression was very much different than the lead-in here. i thought there were wide areas of agreement. senator coburn talks about focusing on cost. i believe that's essential because we're now spending one in every six dollars in this economy on the health care. if we stay on the current course we're going to spend one in every three dollars. that's totally unsustainable. that's going to break the bank of the government, of families, of businesses. so we've got to do something and we've got to begin now. senator coburn just mentioned a series of things that need to be done. many of them are in the bill. this is a market-oriented approach. the government doesn't run health care. this is not single payor where the government would run it. this is based on private insurance delivered through state exchanges which was originally a republican idea. and the best estimates we have is that it would reduce the deficit, reduce premiums for the vast majority of people so it's a beginning. senator coburn has said we've got to do more. he's right. that's what we ought to focus on. what are the additional things we could do that might bring us together. >> schieffer: let me just ask congresswoman blackburn because you had some ideas about what could be done as the next step. >> absolutely. >> schieffer: what are they, congresswoman? >> i think what we need to do is look at starting again and addressing what the american people want to address. they want to make certain that we take a focus on cost containment and do some work there, that we look at across- state-line purchasing, look at what you could pull out of the cost of health care if you address medical liability reform. with all due respect to the senator and to the majority leader, bob, our problem is this: what they want to do is let the government have the federal government have the overshadow of all of this and make the decisions of what the states can do. ...