Interviewer: Ed Schultz
Joining me now is Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind. Hes a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Ron, good to have you with us tonight. Youre on the phone because I know youve got some votes. If youre hearing in your district in Wisconsin what I heard in Madison last night, my friend, I think youve got to get on board with the public option if youre not there yet.
REP. RON KIND (D), WISCONSIN: Ed, first of all, I was glad to see my home state of Wisconsin survived your visit over the weekend. You were well received and we appreciate your visit.
Ed, you know, this is this generations moon shot, health care reform, because the current system is unsustainable. Weve got rising costs and the number of uninsured growing each and every day in this country.
SCHULTZ: But Congressman, what I heard last night is that people dont care about the money. They care about the coverage. And well find a way to pay for it. It seems that the conservative Democrats are saying, all of a sudden this is just too much money. Where was that resistance when we were voting for the war in Iraq and the Bush tax cuts that cost us 750 billion dollars, and the war which is going to be maybe two trillion when its all done with?
Here we are balking at 900 billion dollars. How does that add up for you?
KIND: Ed, I also recall five years ago, when the Republicans jammed through that prescription drug bill at 3:00 a.m. 800 billion dollars. Not a nickel of it was paid for. All of it was deficit financing.
But reforming health care is important. And doing it the right way is important. For too long weve had a reimbursement system that has flowed to the volume of care given as opposed to the value of care. Thats why studies show that close to one-third of all the dollars spent in health care in this country goes to care and treatment that does not improve the patient.
Thats what were trying to reform so we can cover all Americans. And it will be sustainable for future generations. But without that delivery system reform, rewarding value over volume, its going to get very expensive very fast.
SCHULTZ: Are you with the president on a public option, Congressman?
KIND: I am, as long as it competes on a level playing field. A public option should be a choice that people are free to make, along with other health care plans.
SCHULTZ: Well, that would be the plan that youve got in the Congress. That seems to work pretty good.
KIND: It does. But, again, the public option should be based in reimbursement on the quality of care thats given, as opposed to the quantity of care. And thats been one of our biggest problems in providing coverage for all Americans. Costs are sky-rocketing. Were not getting a good bang for the buck.
SCHULTZ: So are you with the president? I mean, can you make a statement that Im with the president? What he wants, Im going to do what Im going to do whatever I can as a representative from Wisconsin to deliver?
KIND: The presidents been the biggest champion in reforming this delivery system so it does reward the quality of health care, as opposed to just the volume of health care given. Hes been up there speaking endlessly about this. Thats the goal that we do share with the president.
SCHULTZ: And are you willing to give up your vacation recess in August to make sure we get this thing done?
KIND: Im willing to do whatever it takes to move health care reform along.