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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript


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MR. SCHULTZ: Let me turn now to Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee and was there that day when these folks (proponents of single-payer health care) were escorted out.

Senator, Americans want to know. How did this happen?

SEN. STABENOW: Well, Ed, first of all, I want to thank Dr. Flowers for her advocacy and everybody who is speaking out for a single-payer health care system. I'm not familiar with how things were put together that day, but I can tell you that I'm meeting with people who care about this issue passionately, want us to consider and look seriously at a single-payer system. And I know that other members of the Senate are doing that as well.

I mean, I want to get insurance company bureaucrats out from the middle between patients and doctors. But I do want to also caution something else, Ed, which is part of what this whole process is about. While folks will say, "Yes, we want national health insurance," and I want that -- I believe health care is a right, not a privilege -- but we also have folks that say, "You know, I want to be able to keep my health care that I have now."

MR. SCHULTZ: Well, but --

SEN. STABENOW: And most people get their health care through their employer.


SEN. STABENOW: So we're trying to figure out -- you know, in my state, a lot of folks get it through their employer and would like to keep it. So we're trying to figure all that out.

MR. SCHULTZ: All right. Well, Senator, if you've got the majority of Americans that want single payer and they're not included at the first health care reform meeting, there's something wrong with this picture, not to mention it doesn't go on record to the American people, these folks who want to testify and say it's actually cheaper if we go down this road.

But the pictures we have now are these people being escorted out. Some of them were arrested. What impression does that leave with the American people when stuff like this happens? "Oh, here comes the single-payer psycho crowd." Wait a second. In fairness --


MR. SCHULTZ: -- can you get Senator Baucus to change his mind on this and make sure they're included in the next few meetings?

SEN. STABENOW: Well, first of all, the situation at Finance, I think everybody felt was extremely unfortunate. I felt very bad about the dynamic about all that. Absolutely, people need to be involved. There are a lot of presentations, a lot of meetings coming up.

And I think what is most important is that we keep focus on the fact that we've got to have a health care system where everybody can get health care, where everybody can afford to do it.

MR. SCHULTZ: I agree.

SEN. STABENOW: And if you'll keep pushing, everybody keeps pushing, we're going to get there.

MR. SCHULTZ: I agree. Well, we've got to get there with everybody at the table.

Senator, I appreciate your time tonight.

SEN. STABENOW: You're welcome.

MR. SCHULTZ: Especially in your state of Michigan, I mean, my God, with all the unemployment that's going on there.

SEN. STABENOW: Oh, I know.

MR. SCHULTZ: I know it's the number one issue around the country.


MR. SCHULTZ: Thank you, Senator; appreciate your time tonight.

SEN. STABENOW: Take care.

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