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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Joining me now is New York Congressman Eric Massa. And we chose him tonight to open up the show because he does tell it like it is. He's for single payer. This is one of the true Democrats that isn't beholden to anybody that tells it like it is.

Mr. Massa, the CBO score is in. What's wrong with these conservative Democrats? If it meets the criteria, why does Nancy Pelosi have to twist anybody's arm at this point?

REP. ERIC MASSA (D), NEW YORK: Well, you know, I heard-and good evening. It's good to be with you.

I listened to Senator Lieberman and I heard him talk about everything you said at the top of the hour. And I wanted to remind him that there is not a single private flood insurance policy in this nation. It's all federally endorsed and federally backed. So, if you're really afraid of true competition in the marketplace, let's just do away with all flood insurance, which is frankly the backbone of so many urban areas to even allow us to own houses.

The CBO is in. Now, we're going to get the details of this. And remember, many of us, myself included, signed a letter twice and said we demand a robust public option that allows access to the American people and true competition against the private for-profit health insurance industry.

I agree with the president. We're in the final lap, but, by golly, I've seen a lot of races be lost in that final lap. And that's where we stand as of this evening.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, what about this talk about antitrust? There's some things happening on the House side and the Senate side.

Is this something that could realistically be implemented to really reel in the insurance companies when it comes to, you know, price fixing and competition, and also just actually who's going to be operating in your back yard when it comes to offering up insurance plans? Is this the way to go?

MASSA: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: You think this will work?

MASSA: Well, let's level the playing field and make sure that everybody understands that the insurance industry has been exempt-exempt from antitrust laws. That means that they can legally create monopolies that slice up market share.

And so, when people talk about, well, we need to leave insurance to the open market, well, that's nonsense, because there is no market for insurance. And there hasn't been since the 1930s.

SCHULTZ: So, what is-what leg are these conservative Democrats standing on right now? Why don't they go along if it meets the criteria?

Medicare reimbursement rates can be worked on. Hell, that's just money. We can get that done next year.

Are these-in your opinion, are these conservative Democrats in the Midwest, are they afraid of being taken out by the industry in the next election cycle?

MASSA: No. I can't speak for them. And, in fact, I have met with many who have different opinions than I do and I respect their opinions. So, I'm not here to throw darts at fellow Democrats. Frankly, we do that very, very well ourselves.

Let's go after the Republicans, who will say anything and do anything no matter how outlandish it is, and every day come up with a completely different set of falsehoods with malice aforethought. They've been doing this as a theatrical industry for months now. And frankly, I like to call them on the carpet because the spears they throw at me change almost every day.

SCHULTZ: You're a class act, Congressman. I view this a little bit differently, there's no doubt.

We don't need the Republicans. What we need right now is some Democrats to stand up to be Democrats.

And Congressman, you're a single payer guy. They didn't even let you at the table.

MASSA: They wouldn't let me at the table, and I get called every name in the book, you know, at the top of the list. And this after serving in the military almost all my life. They love to call me a socialist, which is almost laughable.

SCHULTZ: All right. One quick question before we go.

MASSA: Sure.

SCHULTZ: Have you had some military personnel, former military personnel, or any of your constituents, tell you that they're going to join the military so they can get health care?

MASSA: Absolutely. In fact, I have a whole caseload file of exactly that, and it breaks my heart.

Ed, let me tell you, if I end up not supporting this, you and everyone watching this needs to know it's because we have given everything away to the private health insurance industry. And that's something I'm not willing to do.

SCHULTZ: Congressman, good to have you on with us tonight. I appreciate it so much.

MASSA: Good to see you tonight.

SCHULTZ: You bet.

Congressman Massa from New York, here on THE ED SHOW.

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