GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Republican members of Congress are a bit hot under the collar. They are firing off a strong message to the nation's governors. They are telling the governors not to implement health care exchanges, the GOP lawmakers calling the ObamaCare mandated exchanges expensive and intrusive. Do the governors agree?
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal joins us. Good evening, Governor.
LA. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL: Hey, Greta. How are you this evening?
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. Governor Scott of Florida told us the other night that he is not going to begin developing these exchanges. I'm curious, Louisiana, your state, do you intend to begin developing these exchanges? If not, why not?
JINDAL: Absolutely not. We declared over a year ago we were not going to do the exchanges. We said immediately after the court's ruling we're not going to be expanding our Medicaid program.
I think this is a huge mistake for the country, certainly for the state of Louisiana. We need to do everything we can to repeal ObamaCare.
Greta, let's step back and realize what they're doing. In the middle of the greatest recession since the Great Depression, the president is creating yet another entitlement program! We can't afford the ones we got -- $1.76 trillion in new spending, over $500 billion in tax increases, over $500 billion in Medicare cuts.
This is simply not affordable. It's not sustainable. You know, we used to celebrate when we got people off of government programs. Instead, this president seems to want to make more and more Americans dependent on the government. Food -- you look ahead, an array of government programs -- food stamps have almost grown 70 percent in the last five years. Now he wants more Americans on government-run health care.
It just doesn't make sense for our taxpayers, doesn't make sense for the state of Louisiana.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any idea, apart from the other things, like the expanded mandate, which you now can opt out of, and I understand that - - but just the cost of setting up the exchanges. I don't have a sense of what the -- I know many governors are rejecting it. I know members of Congress and Senate are asking them not to do it.
But I'm curious, do you have any idea what the actual cost of an exchange setup in Louisiana would be?
JINDAL: Well, we've rejected all the grants. We know from other states' experiences it could easily run in the tens of millions of dollars. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The reality is, the Medicaid expansion -- we've calculated -- our health department calculated the first 10 years of implementation would cost our taxpayers over $3 billion. And Greta, here's what's really scary -- over $100,000 people would then be on Medicaid that today have private insurance.
We've seen promise after promise broken by this president when it comes to health care. My real concerns -- not the costs of actually running the exchanges, but what it does to premiums, what it does to employers in Louisiana, what it does to our taxpayers.
Think about all the promises that have been broken. The president said premiums would go down $2,500. They went up 9 percent last year, according to Kaiser. He said that he was going to leave Medicare alone, protect Medicare, that CMS's actuary says the cuts are not sustainable, not realistic.
He said people wouldn't lose their plans or doctors. Some estimates as many as 20 million Americans could lose their health care, their employer-provided health care coverage. He has made promise after promise that's not being kept in ObamaCare, in this health care law.
I think the real cost of the exchanges will be higher health care costs, lower quality health care, more government intrusion in micromanaging health care. That's a big mistake. That's why we need to elect Mitt Romney, repeal ObamaCare, and end this culture of dependence.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is the -- is your objection to this health statute, this health care statute, that Louisiana can't afford it, or that it's just a dumb idea, or from a -- this is not part of your ideology as to how -- you know, big government or bigger government and federalism? Which is it? Or maybe it's all three.
JINDAL: I was going to say, is there an "all of the above" option? Because the reality is, those are all three great descriptions of this law.
The reality is, is it doesn't bend the cost curve down, as the president promised he was going to do. It doesn't put patients and their doctors in control. Why in world do we think it makes sense to have the government come in and take over almost a sixth of the economy?
Again, we can't afford the programs we've got. The government's already spending 24 percent of the GDP. You know, we've got a choice. Do we go the way of Europe? You know, our founding fathers were celebrating, they were declaring our independence. I don't think they intended us to be this dependent on government-run programs.
VAN SUSTEREN: Explain to me -- as I understand, the government expansion for the first number of years will be -- the cost would be fully borne by the federal government, and then at some point down the road, a couple of years, that 10 percent will be paid for by your state, Louisiana, and every state.
In the event you don't have this Medicaid expansion, the people who -- there's going to be this group in the middle who don't have any sort of health insurance. I assume that they're going to show up on the doorstep of hospitals around the state, and someone's going to pay for it because we're not a state that -- we're not a country that simply looks away from bleeding people or people with head injuries. I mean, all this stuff is going to be paid for.
So I mean, who will be paying for this if there isn't this expansion?
JINDAL: Sure. Well, two things, Greta. Right now today, Louisiana actually has already had tremendous experience in government-run health care. We're the only state in the country that runs our own government- owned, government-operated hospitals. I'll be the first to tell you that's not the best way to provide health care. And we're replacing that. We're transitioning folks on our Medicaid program to privately-run insurance coverage.
But here's the bigger point. We're not just talking about repeal ObamaCare.
That's the first step. We've got to replace it. Governor Romney has talked about we do need to help people buy health care coverage. We need to make insurance portable across state lines, across jobs. We need to help those people with preexisting conditions, those with continuous coverage, make sure they don't face discrimination, those buying insurance for the first time, make sure they got high-risk pools, reinsurance to help them afford that insurance when they're sick.
He's also outlined other reforms to the Medicare program, as well, as well as the Medicaid program to give states more flexibility. So nobody is saying leave these folks uninsured. What we are saying is a government-run program, and a new government entitlement program, when we can't afford the ones we've got, makes absolutely no sense at a time we got over $15 trillion of debt.
We're borrowing over a trillion dollars from China. We're not just borrowing from our children and grandchildren anymore, we're literally impacting our present, out economy today.
You know, the Democrats will try to attack Republicans. They'll try to say this is free health care. It's not free. I think governors have to stand up and say, These federal dollars are our taxpayer dollars, we just can't continue to afford this spending.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, thank you, sir.
JINDAL: Thank you, Greta. Always great to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.