Discussing Congress' Health-Care Proposals on MSNBC

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... done yet. that's where how to pay for it will come in. the other thing democrats will mention is some of the things they want to do to control health care costs like prevention, wellness, aren't scorable which is speak for this congressional budget office can't take those into account so you're not really getting a full picture of the savings. needless to say these headlines are terrible at a key moment. >> savannah, why don't you stick around. here with us now from capitol hill we have democratic representative from maryland and house majority leader congressman steny hoyer. thanks very much, congressman, for joining us this morning. >> good morning. good to be with you. >> tagging right off what savannah was talking about and the criticism cbo hasn't looked at this bill closely enough, have you read the whole bill and is it in jeopardy now given these headlines? >> well, let me say that i think the headlines today and the cbo's observations certainly are critically important for us to look at. one of the main objectives of this legislation is to bring health care costs down. not only for individuals and families, which i think it will do, but also for governments. the president has said the present cost curve is not sustainable. we have to bring it down. we have to look carefully at cbo's analysis and make such adjustments as are necessary to accomplish that objective. the bottom line is both senator mccain and senator obama both said health care reform was essential. both proposed their plan and we are proceeding to affect health care reform that the american public wants. we need to have affordable, quality health care accessible to all americans. that's what our objective is. >> mike barnicle, jump in. making adjustments to the bill could be perceived as also watering it down. >> congressman, if i went out this morning into the heart of prince georges county, which is the heart of your congressional district, and i talked to the first ten people i met, do you figure they would tell me the thing most on their minds was health care reform or jobs, jobs, and jobs? >> i think jobs, jobs, and jobs would be their major concern. even more so in other parts of the country. we're relatively stable vis-a-vis other parts of the country. the economy is on everyone's mind and is our principle objective. as well, as you know, the president said in his campaign handily elected, that health care reform was a major objective and now i think it's his priority overarching is the effort to get the economy moving again, get jobs being created, get people off the unemployment roles but make sure people have access to affordable health care. we need to do both. in the long run that will positively affect our economy. we have to effect that reform in a way that does that, accomplishes that objective and bring costs down. i think that's going to be of paramount consideration as we go forward. >> savannah, jump in. savannah guthrie, go ahead. >> reporter: sorry. congressman, i have a question about how to pay for this. obviously that's a huge issue. the president has set up a proposal that would raise, i think, $300 billion or so by limiting how much wealthy taxpayers can deduct on charitable deductions. i wonder why that was rejected so quickly and yet this notion about taxing health care benefits seems to have more resonance with moderate democrats and republicans. can you explain why one is more palatable than the other? >> well, they are always controversial, as you know. buying things is easy. paying for them is tough. i have to support both the proposal the president sent down in terms of capping that 28% deduction and i also think it is good tax policy and good health policy to limit deductions on employer health care benefits. that clearly is not supported either by the majority of congress or by the majority of the american people. >> all right. >> those being discussed, however, i think are viable and will be debated. i think the ways and means committee acted last night. i think that is one alternative that is acceptable. >> peggy noonan? >> congressman hoyer -- >> can i add this? the president also suggested and we are pursuing very substantial efforts to cut out waste, fraud and abuse in the present system and to effect efficiencies in medicare and medicaid to save over half a trillion dollars. >> peggy? >> let me ask, congressman hoyer, peggy noonan here -- >> hi, be peggy. >> good morning. is there any sense, congressman privately expressed among democrats in the congress, the house and the senate, that they would have actually quietly preferred it if the president ...