Transcript of Rahm Emanuel Monitor Breakfast
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*Questions may be paraphrased, but all comments by Rahm Emanuel are direct quotes.
*All references must be sourced to The Christian Science Monitor Breakfast.
*Thursday, June 25, 2009
*St. Regis Hotel, 10:00-10:55 a.m.
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RAHM EMANUEL: I assume we’re going to hit on a lot of topics. I’m going to open up with healthcare. You know, I talked to Senator Dodd yesterday, who is if you don’t know, finished up the markup of his bill except for one provision, which is the coverage provision, which he will do as soon as they get back from break, which is right on schedule.
And I use that as an example, though, of having been here in the White House in ’93 when they were dealing with healthcare, or that was actually ’93 through ’94. You have stark differences between now and then, and a lot of what we have done are ah, and I’ve said this early on when we started, lessons learned.
And even the secretary of State has noted differences of what we have done.
Mainly, you have the very voices that marshaled the resources to oppose the plan are now the advocates for passage of a plan. That’s No. 1. And I think that’s – I mean, I say that No. 1, but it’s a significant, fundamental diffrence. Because whether it’s from the pharmaceutical companies, to the doctors to the hospitals or the insurance companies, some actively now promoting the passage of the bill, some working through their issues. But there’s a fundamental difference when the providers who have over the 40 years, not just in ’93, but the providers have always been the voices and advocates for opposition to reform or some type of legislation, going back to the doctors and AMA – the doctors and Medicare. So this just doesn’t have to be ’93. So to have them in the advocacy role leaves the - those who oppose to be the, for lack of a better way of saying it, the defenders of the status quo.
Two, in addition to what I just said about what Chris is doing in his committee, and I think Senator Baucus later on today from what I understand will be also making some announcement about their timing and their progress. The House is on schedule, the committees, I know Ways and Means, my old committee, had an all-day hearing and the beginning of markup. They’re all working off the same text.
If you go back to ’93, Ways and Means produced a bill, Energy and Commerce could not produce a bill. They were all working off a total different set of sheet of music, the two committees. All three committees – George’s, Charlie’s, and Henry’s – are all working off the same basic text of legislation, and they’re moving simultaneously. Fundamental difference. So whether you look at the legislative process, where it is, and timing-wise and document. You look at the outside groups, where they were, fundamental difference. And I do believe – and one other piece of this, just and get certainly back to the pharmaceutical piece, which I’m sure some people will ask questions. The fact that the AARP endorsed this legislation, I think anybody that went back and looked at the prescription drug Part D plan, when the AARP came out, that was a significant piece of political business in getting this legislation passed.