Defining the Health Reform Bill Deadline on CNBC

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... structural divorced from safety and soundness regulation? >> i understand the motivation. i understand why people are concerned that fed and others have not been sufficiently active on this, and they think that maybe having a separate -- a separate agency would be more committed to these issues. i do think, though, that there are some costs to splitting consumer compliance regulation from safety and soundness regulation. >> and welcome to ""power lunch,"" i'm michelle cabrusso-cabrera. fed chief ben bernanke back on the hill testifying before the house financial services committee about the state of the economy. we are joined by steve liesman and brian shackman. and majority leader stenny huer, it's a pleasure to have you, because we want to talk about the issues we are facing right now, including health care. thanks for being with you. >> thank you. good to be here. >> there is a lot of debate about whether or not this can get done by august 1st. i see you said yesterday it's going to get done by august 1st, but the president says do it by the end of the year. what's the ultimate deadline here? >> well, i think we're talking about two different things. we want to get it through the house by time we leave for the august break. but that just means the house bill. that does not mean getting it done. obviously the senate has to pass a bill, we have to go to congress. the senate and the house have to agree on one version, and then we have to pass it again through both houses. the conference sends it to the president. so october is really the target date in terms of a signature by the president. so getting it done would be they're getting it done initially in the house or getting it done finally. they're two different dates. >> leader hoyer, does that dovetail with his agenda? >> yes, it does. >> let me ask you about the blue dog democrats and when they say thief got a release from representative ross about where they stand and what do they want and will they get some semblance of what they want. >> well, i think they are very interested in passing health care reform. all of them have indicated publicly they want to vote for a health care reform bill. they know american people said want that and that's what they want. they're working towards trying to get some of the things they think are important in the bill. >> such as? >> in terms of cost containment, they want to make sure in fact we're bringing costs down in the health care system. they want to make sure that the provider community is compensated properly. they want to make sure that the disparities in reimbursement around the country are addressed in the bill. they to make sure that we get rid of waste, fraud and abuse, which all of us want to look the at. >> but they're not drawing a line in the sand on when it comes to the public option. >> no, they're the not drawing a line in the sand on public option. they did indicate they wanted a trigger on public option. there are obviously some members of our caucus who want single payer, some members who want a trigger on a public option. i think we'll have a public option. and i think that's not the line in the sand. >> is that negotiable for you, leader hoyer? public option has to be in there? >> i think we'll have a public option, yes. we'll have a public option there, but the president said we want a public option. however, as i indicated, the blue dogs want to make sure that the public option is not simply a transition to a all-public system without the private sector options available to their consumers. i think we're going to get to that -- >> well, sir, how do you do that, leader hoyer? if the public doesn't have to pay taxes, doesn't have to account for its payroll and has all sorts of other advantages over the private sector, the complaint has been, hey, they start off with both hands behind their back when it comes to the private sector competition. >> you know, there how about a lot of talk about the cbo scoring and estimates and opinion. cbo makes the opinion. they're a nonpartisan arm of the congress. they make -- they have made the opinion that they believe that less than 10% of the consumers will go into the public option, which means 90% will go into the private sector. and, of course, we're going to expand the inclusion of some 40 million people, and maybe 47 million people, not quite there, probably, but a substantial number of millions of people into the system. now, if 90% go into the private sector, 10% go into the public sector, you will expand very substantially the insurance industry's number of clients. >> speaking of the cbo report, it said that these options on the table or many of them would not end up saving money when it comes to health care. how do you respond to that? >> i think that those are of concern to us, and we're going to make sure that this is a., paid for, and b., that it does, in fact, bend the curve. that is -- bend the curve, in other words downward so that the cost of health care coming down, not up. now, they'll go up in terms of dollars, but as a percentage of our gdp, we want to bring them down from the approximately 16, 18% that they now are at, down ...