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Transcript of Rahm Emanuel Monitor Breakfast

(Page 8 of 12)

Q: On healthcare, the public plan in the House and Senate committees’ bills is an awful lot like Medicare.

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RE: Medicare plus 10, you mean?

Q: Yeah. The question is, there will have to be reconciliation on this.

RE: That’s known as a conference. It’s unusual these days.

Q: Are you going to try to pass this on reconciliation, or will you go for 60 votes? Is the Conrad idea of co-ops acceptable to you guys?

RE: First question, our goal is to get it through the normal process. That’s why we’re working extensively, very aggressively towards that. Just so you know, Mort, I started this process 6’2”, and 250 pounds, this is all I got left. So I mean our goal is to do it the normal way. Work there, obviously that exists out there, but that’s not the intention.

Reconciliation exists as a tool, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to do the healthcare bill the normal way. There will be differences, and that’s what conferences are about. You’ll work them out. OK? And given that here will be differences, that’s what will happen. Ya know? That’s OK. Obviously, the more that they’re aligned, like what’s happening on the three committees in the House, with what’s happening in the HELP Committee, the shorter the conference can be, the less other kind of extraneous issues there are. And you can kind of fundamentally focus on the key issues of cost, coverage, exchange, public plan, revenue, and anti-dumping. Those are kinda – I’m probably leaving some out, so it’s not – it’s just a general run-through of tic list of the major issues.

As it relates to a co-op, again, I want to revert to what I said [inaudible] and that is, while it’s fine to focus – and you should – on a public plan, how will that co-op idea – I was teasing Kent – co-op is a fancy way of saying Blue Cross Blue Shield. The old original Blue Cross Blue Shield is what a co-op is. Now if you come from North Dakota and not Chicago, you would call it a co-op. If you come from Chicago, you call it the Old Blue, a not for profit.

But how you design it – and I wanna say this. The structure of the market slash exchange is as important to the functioning of what you’re trying to achieve, which is cost control and choice and comparative shopping, as having a plan out there.

Q: Switching to immigration, another fun topic.

RE: That’s OK, they’re all fun.

Q: Robert Gibbs said the other day the votes aren’t there to pass immigration reform right now. What do you need to do to get those votes, and if you don’t get immigration reform in this session of Congress, with the Democrats controlling White House and both houses of Congress, what are the political implications with Hispanic voters?

RE: Look, one of the reasons you’re having – I’ll say it’s self evident - one of the reasons you’re having the meeting is because the votes aren’t there. That’s kinda – If the votes were there, you wouldn’t need to have the meeting, you’d go to a roll call. OK?

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and immigration groups have all asked for a meeting because the votes aren’t there. And they asked for the meeting and that’s why we’re doing the meeting, to help focus on what does it take. And we have a cross-section of people, so we don’t just get all the yeses in the room who all agree. Now the question is, do some of the people there who have had real reservations about comprehensive immigration reform. I think Congressman Lamar Smith confirmed that he’s coming, but he was invited – who has been kind of a critic. But so you have a broad breadth of people to focus on what are the areas of agreement, what are the areas of disagreement, and what do we gotta do. That’s A.