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Public Statements

MSNBC "Hardball With Chris Matthews" - Transcript

Interview

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

MATTHEWS: You know, I think she took a risk there. I think, if

something really bad happens this weekend, and she"s saying this stuff

didn"t matter, she will be pulled into it. I don"t think she should be

pulled into, but she put herself into it.

Your thoughts about the kind of rhetoric, the noose being sent, the--

the windows being broken, the threats to Stupak? I would have thought that

the people on the right would be sort of sympathetic to him. They"re mad

of him, as an apostate, because he ended up signing the bill. What do you

make of all this?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Well, honestly, the

threats to Stupak, the threats to Jean Schmidt, who"s a Republican, any of

the threats and violence is really just totally out of place, outrageous.

And what we need to be doing is condemning violence and bullying and

threats at every level, every opportunity we can, because we can--we can

disagree, but, in America, we disagree through civil discourse, not through

bullying and violence.

MATTHEWS: Well, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, my friend, who I really

like, I will now tell you I"m so impressed with you all these years, and

you faced a lot bigger threat in your life than somebody breaking your

window.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: So, tell us about what you have learned about health care

and what you have been through and to the extent you want to talk about it,

because it"s personal, but it"s also now--you"re a public figure.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I tried to use my own personal experience with

breast cancer through this health care reform debate as a way to show that

there are many different faces to the need to reform our health care

system, many different faces of who is the uninsurable.

I, after being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, at 41, hit

with an illness out of the clear blue sky, never thought that I would

become sick for any reason, became a person who, if I lost my job tomorrow,

you know, I"m essentially uninsurable on the individual market, even though

I have taken all the steps I need to, to avoid a recurrence of breast

cancer in the future.

And there are thousands of Debbie Wasserman--millions of Debbie

Wasserman Schultzes around the country. And health care reform was so

essential because we need to put patients and doctors back in the driver"s

seat and end the abusive insurance company practices.

And that"s what we did. That was--you know, personally, for me,

it"s just incredible that I know for my--for myself, but also for

millions of children who face illness, it"s incredibly important.

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, compared to me, I really think of you as a very

young person. And the fact that you have a term--you"re subject to what

they call a preexisting condition.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Right.

MATTHEWS: And, usually, you think of an older man, for example, like

that, you know, very old.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Or a poor person or a homeless person.

MATTHEWS: Yes. But you have a condition which would prevent you from

going on the market and buying--and now--and how does the law affect

you, the Obama law?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Now, the way the law affects me, the way the

health care reform law affects me is that--well, this year, we will

immediately end the preexisting condition exclusions for children.

Then, by 2014, no one will be able to be denied coverage based on a

preexisting condition, whether they have a job, whether they"re unemployed,

whether they"re in between jobs. If you have a preexisting condition, you

will be covered. Your insurance will be guarantee-issue.

MATTHEWS: When you go back home to Florida, you have a middle-class

district, right?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes. Really middle-upper, but yes.

MATTHEWS: In some places, better-off people. Some people are better

off.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Mm-hmm.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: When you talk to them about this, it seems to me the

president is trying to address this to voters. You represent voters,

older, better-off, wealthier, whiter--white people. They tend to vote

relentlessly, perennially.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: They vote when there"s no voting going on. They get out

and vote.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That"s the favorite pastime in my district, to

vote.

MATTHEWS: And kibitzing about the voting, too.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Right.

MATTHEWS: Let"s talk about it.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: So, they have to be reached if you"re a Democrat this year,

because they will have the votes more so than in a presidential year.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, absolutely. They...

MATTHEWS: So, what"s the president have to say and what do you have

to say to people who are not working poor? They"re not the people that are

getting these subsidies, these 32 million people? These are the people who

are in the mainstream, who have some health insurance.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Right. What we talk about to those people, those

85 percent of Americans that had health insurance, is that this legislation

will provide you with the security and stability that you need to make sure

that you don"t face those skyrocketing premiums.

And I had small-business owners all over my district stop me and say,

you know, I faced last year, 30, 40, 50, 70 -- somewhat told me they had a

172 percent premium increase with 30 employees because one of them is sick.

Those are the kinds of things that we are--we have stopped as a

result of this bill being signed into law on Tuesday by President Obama.

MATTHEWS: Are you confident this bill will look as good as it did

their, week when you passed it, five, 10 years from now?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think it"s going to look better. I really do.

I think, as we phase in the really wonderful reforms, and make sure that we

can reduce costs, provide that security and stability and cover the 32

million Americans that this bill covers, we are going to make sure that

people with health care challenges are going to be able to get the coverage

they need, but, more importantly, shift the focus from a sick-care system

it a prevention and wellness system.

MATTHEWS: It"s great to have a real person on.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: Nice person.

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

of Florida...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.

MATTHEWS: ... one of the leaders of the House, probably a bigger

leader in the years to come.

Up next: Michele Bachmann--different story--takes credit for

seeing the future.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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