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Transcript of Rahm Emanuel Monitor Breakfast

(Page 2 of 12)

And I think that, just one technicality, although I think it’s a relevant technicality – those early on have said, well how come you didn’t send up a bill specifically. We’ve let the legislators play their role of being legislators and drafting the bill, working through some of the issues, weighing in, putting our thumb down on the scale where they’ve hit some of the difficulties and the rough patches. OK?

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But we didn’t kind of come with a prescriptive, here is our tune, here it is, here’s healthcare reform, now could you mark it up and go pass it? That’s just not the way the process works, nor is it productive to letting the process work.

The tradeoff is you kinda get how the legislative process works. And the members, ya know, don’t, ya know, I like this public plan, no I like this version, I want the co-op, etc. That is a different kind of legislative process to John Dingell not being – it’s not a criticism of him – but in ‘93 not being able to produce a bill. Charlie, rather Dan Rostenkowsky producing a different bill, and them all having to say, here’s our bill, we designed it behind closed doors and here it is and now we know the truth and you guys have to get along with it.

So on a host of fronts, today is different than then.

We have a lot of hard slogging to go, but I believe, given where the process is, given what they’re working on, given how coordinated it is, in the sense of the House and Senate working on a timeline, and given we’re all, I think, some of the voices are, I think that we are in good shape.

I know there’s other issues, and ya know, Henry Kissinger has a statement that I’ve always loved. Does anybody have any questions for my answers?


Q: My colleague Amy Walter wrote yesterday that all the polling on healthcare, there’s a consistent theme, that Americans know the system is broken, they’d like to see it fixed, but the more the potential fix affects them personally, the less interested they are in supporting it. My question is, so the toughest problem you face, that the public wants a painless fix and there is no such thing?

RE: (eating) Sorry about this, hold on. If this was more like a Jewish family, I would feel fine. I can say that, some of you can’t, OK? I think that Amy is astute to an observation about the public. About, they are, at one level, very fundamentally want change, but the closer that change gets to them, yes, they get nervous, which is why it’s so important that what the president says if you’re happy with the healthcare you have, you are able to keep it. So you kinda give them that zone of protection and sense of security.

In addition, I will also say, and let me finish out if I can although to Amy’s comment. If you posit those – I mean, the flip side of that is, those who don’t want change are the defenders of the status quo, the very thing the public does not want, by big margins.

So the choice is not one just of change versus no change. The choice is change that deals with cost in a fundamental way vs. the status quo that accepts what happens today as a good thing, for lack of another way of saying it.

There are two numbers that I think are fundamental to this debate. Because this debate is about cost and coverage. On the coverage side, 14,000 people lose their healthcare every day. That is, they lose their doctor, every day, 14,000 people in America. And that doesn’t when you keep status quo.