CNN posted a transcript of this episode. We’re copying and pasting the full segment transcript from Tom Reed’s interview below.
The source of the transcript, which includes the full show’s transcript, can be found here: http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1705/08/nday.03.html
The screen shot used in the blog post was taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1phfuLV7iDU
“So House Republicans met with some angry constituents this weekend at town halls in their home districts after the House did pass the GOP’s bill to replace Obamacare. One of them was New York Congressman Tom Reed. He found himself facing a teenager born with Type I diabetes who’s worried about his future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at me, a 14-year-old boy, in the eye and justify how you can vote for a bill that would take away mine and millions of others’ guarantees about being discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition?
REP. TOM REED (R), NEW YORK: The fact that the pre-existing conditions is in the bill, it is in this bill, is going to continue, and you’ll have access to health insurance just as you do today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. There was mixed reaction to that answer. Let’s bring in Republican Congressman Tom Reed.
Congressman, you were a “yes” on this before the amendments that were supposedly trying to soften the harsher impacts of the bill. Did those constituents make you think about your vote at all?
REED: Oh, absolutely. And as the constituents in the town hall said, we held on this issue. I listened to the people we represent. And making sure that that reform was going forward was something that was integral in my vote to stand with those individuals.
CUOMO: And how do you believe you are standing with individuals like that teenager if you remove the guarantee that pre-existing conditions get coverage?
REED: That’s the misinformation. When you read the bill like we have and study the bill, 300 pages. The pre-existing guaranteed issue is still cornerstone reform as we go forward.
And with the waiver opportunity that comes down, it only can get better as I read the bill and the text of it. And I have a son who’s a type I diabetic, so I know what that young man’s going through. And I care deeply about that individual and I care deeply about millions of other Americans that are in that exact same situation.
CUOMO: So your understanding of the waiver is that it does not allow flexibility within insurance companies in terms of what and how they cover pre-existing conditions? Because that’s what it says by the letters.
REED: What folks are getting to is a theoretical state that theoretically applies and you have a continuous coverage lapse and then all of a sudden, then the community rating issue can be raised.
Right now, the cornerstone of the reform at the federal level is that pre-existing condition will continue and go forward. And that’s good. And that’s what I promised the people we would do. But we cannot let the status quo go forward as is. These markets are collapsing. Access to health care will go away. And that is immoral not to act in order to solve this problem.
CUOMO: Now, there is no question that there are problems with some of the marketplaces, the individual marketplace venues. And there is a good argument to be made as to why your party refused to address those waiting for an opportunity to kill the ACA instead of fixing it. That’s one argument to have.
But another one is you know that many people don’t maintain coverage. It’s expensive. Life is hard. And they drop it for months at a time. That would make them vulnerable if a state took a waiver. And we both know that companies, given an option, will not cover pre-existing conditions if they’re told they don’t have to. Why ignore those possibilities?
[07:25:04] REED: Because we have to look over the horizon and provide for flexibility at the state level to come up with innovative ways to improve upon it. That can do things better than what one-size-fits- all health care is doesn’t work under Obamacare.
CUOMO: But pulling money out of the system has never been shown to be a way to improve coverage in terms of how many people will be getting care. You’re pulling $880 billion out of it over about a decade period. How is that going to help?
REED: See, and that is one of the fundamental issues I think we have in disagreement to the other side. The other side assumes that putting money into the situation solves the problem. I believe in giving flexibility, innovation to the private market. Allow people to be empowered to make choices. That can go a long way to make the dollars be much more effective and efficient and provide access to care to millions of people that don’t have it today.
CUOMO: Right. Look, whether it’s the governor in your state, my brother, who you can dismiss as a tax-and-spend Democrat, if you want, but he’s one of many governors, including Chris Christie across the river there in New Jersey who say it is illogical to tell me as a governor that you’re taking away money from me and you want me to do more.
And that does seem to be what you’re doing. I don’t understand why the GOP just doesn’t own it and say, “Yes, we’re going to put less money into it. Yes, some people may not get covered the same way they are now. But we think it is worth it, because it’s going to help fund our tax cuts.
REED: I would agree with you, Chris, that our governor tends to need more money or want more money to say that’s going to be the cure-all for the problems of the people in the state of New York. That just doesn’t work. The debt load, the taxpayer burden that I see on people fleeing New York. They tell me constantly that’s one the reasons they leave. It’s just not sustainable.
I care about these individuals. We need to do better, and we need to come up with more innovative, effective ways to do it. And this is a step in that direction. And I look forward to the debate continuing.
CUOMO: But you had a CBO score that said you’re going to have many millions of people who lose coverage because you’re taking money out of the system. How is that compatible with your compassion?
REED: Well, because that same score showed that premiums are going down. Now I understand, and I hear that score…
CUOMO: Ten percent after going up the first couple of years. The first couple of years they go up 15, 20 percent. Then over time, down 10 percent. I don’t — do you believe that that’s a winning argument?
REED: Going down, Chris.
CUOMO: Yes, go down incrementally.
REED: Need to go down.
CUOMO: At the cost of millions potentially losing coverage.
REED: And I — I would agree with you that the next step in this process, and I work across the aisle. I co-chair the Problem Solvers’ Caucus. I’m the Republican chair with my Democratic colleague on the side that are working together to solve issues of health care, tax reform an. I want to be a voice to bring people together to solve the health care problem. We dealt with insurance in this bill. Let’s embrace the divide between us and unite and take on health care. That’s the next step I’m fighting for.
CUOMO: But what I’m saying is what you just voted for is being seen as something that makes the situation worse, not better. That’s why you had constituents like that kid coming up to you and saying, “I may not be able to get coverage, and I’m not going to do what Newt Gingrich told me and go to the emergency room every time my bloods aren’t right, because I could die if that’s the way I deal with my condition.”
And you know Type I diabetes. What do you say to that kid?
REED: Yes. Yes. I understand the fear. I understand the anxiety. And a lot of misinformation out there is generating this fear and this anxiety.
CUOMO: What is misinformation?
REED: That’s why we wanted to do the town hall.
CUOMO: That waiver gives the ability to companies not to cover. But here’s what I’m saying. I’m all for debunking misinformation. I don’t understand how you — you’re reading this waiver that’s different than how I am. If you give a company flexibility under conditions to decide what they cover, they are not going to cover everything that they cover now. It’s not in their financial interests to do so. How is that a guarantee?
REED: Because the guarantee will be guarantee the issue is there. And in order to achieve that waiver, you have to demonstrate you’re going to improve health care for folks like that young man like my son. And that is the initial essence of a waiver, in allowing a state to figure out maybe there’s a better way to do this than what we anticipate today as a one-sized fits all solution out of Washington, D.C. I think we can do better than that.
CUOMO: Tom Reed, I appreciate you making the case here on NEW DAY. You’re always welcome. Appreciate it.
REED: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Thank you very much.”