March 21st, 2010
05:01 PM ET
3 years ago

Feinstein: Dem health care bill 'isn't the perfect bill'

Sens. Feinstein, a Democrat, and Hatch, a Republican, sat down with CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday to discuss the prospects for the health care reform legislation in the Senate.
Sens. Feinstein, a Democrat, and Hatch, a Republican, sat down with CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday to discuss the prospects for the health care reform legislation in the Senate.

Washington (CNN) – A prominent Democratic senator predicted Sunday that her party will succeed in passing a reconciliation bill that puts the finishing touches on President Obama’s plan for health care reform. But, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, also said the legislation isn’t “perfect” and that the reform package will likely be altered at a later date to work out any issues that may arise.

“I believe, at the end, more than 51 Democrats will hold firm and will pass the reconciliation bill and we will have health care reform,” Feinstein said on CNN’s State of the Union.

But Feinstein also said, “This isn’t the perfect bill. We all know that. We all know that there are going to have to be fixes down the road just as every major [federal] program has had – Medicare has had, Social Security will likely have because of the explosion of costs.” In defense of the controversial and unpopular Democratic package, Feinstein pointed out that the United States spends more on health care than its European counterparts without achieving better outcomes. “We spend a lot of money but we don’t necessarily spend it in the right way or in the right places.”

And Feinstein continued with a prediction if her party is not successful in passing the legislation after the past year of wrangling on Capitol Hill.

“This bill is really important. Because if we don’t pass it now, you can forget health care reform forever after, I believe. So this is the opportunity. We’re right at the goal line.”

Responding to Feinstein, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the United States should not aspire to be like its European counterparts.

“You reach a point where you say, ‘Who’s going to pay for all this?.’” Hatch said of the $940 billion plan, “And, it’s going to come down to us taxpayers. And like I say, it’s the Europeanization of America and that’s the worst thing that can possibly happen to our country.”

Asked whether she was comfortable with the legislation’s price tag and with whether the country can afford the reform package, Feinstein reiterated the possibility of tweaking the legislation in the future.

“Yes, yes,” she told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, “I believe we can and I believe that will be sorted out over time.”

While Feinstein predicted enough Democratic support to get the legislation through the Senate under special budgetary procedures that require just 51 votes, Hatch said there will not smooth sailing for the reconciliation bill because of its potential impact on Social Security, a federal entitlement program which historically has not been altered by a simple majority of senators.

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Filed under: Dianne Feinstein • Extra • Health care • Orrin Hatch • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. ib

    She's right it not perfect it's stupid.

    March 21, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Jaakko

    "it’s the Europeanization of America and that’s the worst thing that can possibly happen to our country.”

    As a European, I have to object to that in the strongest terms. This person apparently is not familiar with Europe or the typical health care systems over here. You think the European system is expensive? Try again. I live in Finland, and we have universal health care for everyone. Still, the cost of health care per person is much lower than in the US, according to an official study that compared the current systems of health care in both countries.

    One example of what health care can be like: some years ago I had to undergo an emergency surgical operation. I went to the local public hospital, was on the operating table in an hour, and released from hospital 3 days later. What did I have to pay?

    120 US dollars.

    I think the US could well do with a little "Europeanization".

    March 21, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Independent

    Yeah, Senator is not the perfect bill but it is a huge step in the right direction... please don't stop supporting the bill.

    March 21, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. amy

    the bill is crazy, why don't concentrate on other things like jobs, how do you expect for us to pay for this, with our looks, we are unemployeed and struggling as it is. what happen to listen to the american people. this seem's not to be about us anymore, it's about the president, and what he can do with his powers.

    March 21, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. brian

    So the solution is to pass a trash piece of legislation and then "fix" it later? The worst possible route to law and policy development I've ever heard of. Why not just take the time and do it right? We are talking about close to a billion dollars here. People hear 100s of millions now and don't blink an eye.

    March 21, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. John Murphy

    Canadians have better access, better quality and better outcomes than Americans have while Canadian health care is paid for by taxes (including health care) being almost half of what Americans pay for taxes+health insurance+deductables+copays.

    March 21, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Mark

    It is interesting that Orin Hatch believes that 'the Europeanization of America' is 'the worst thing that can possibly happen to our country'. Presumably, he therefore believes that being a radical Islamic republic would be preferable. Europe at least has a reasonable record of allowing the individual liberty of the subject, the freedom of markets. and freedom of conscience: if that is the worst thing (his words) that could happen to the United States, I'd like to know why he thinks, for instance, that radical Islam and Osama bin-Laden are preferable.

    March 21, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Chip Pudims

    Please someone tell America why if this is such historic legislation, then why do Democrats have to be begged, bribed and bullied into supporting it?

    March 21, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. jp,michigan

    No it is not a perfect bill, so why pass it. The end of days is not tomorrow. You have time to correct this bill and do it right. So what is the rush. The President does not employ you, the American people do. Majority of the American people don't want this bill, but want health-care reform.

    March 21, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Desmond in Canada

    The perfect is the enemy of the excellent which is what you have. We here in Canada would like you in the USA to have as good a health care system as we do. We really care about you!

    March 21, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. tpbco

    NO special deals for unions. NO special deals for Louisiana. NO special deals for Nebraska. NO special deals for Florida. NO special deals for Connecticut.

    Gives us EXACTLY the same plan as congress...

    OR JUST PLAN NO!

    March 21, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Sherry

    Newsflash! There will NEVER be a perfect bill and the Republicans want NO BILL at all, so we shall see what they will do to torpedo the American people in order to have their way. What a pathetic bunch! They profess to care about their constituents, but lets be fair, the Republicans are about politics and strong-arming to have their way, nothing more. Let the Karma begin.

    March 21, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Blutarski

    I wonder how many small businesses will reduce their workforce to under 50 employees, and their payroll to under $250,000 to be exempt from the provisions of this Bill. Sound like higher unemployment and a reduction in wages to me. Duh. But at least the Bill passed. MMM MMM MMM

    March 21, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Richard

    I see Medicare taxes will increase significantly. Do they increase to this level for everyone or are members of government (Senate, House and the president) and some other governmental employees still exempt? If so, that will drive me to the Taxed enough Already group.

    March 21, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Tim

    And Tiger Woods isn't the perfect spouse. But it's amazing what people will put up with when all knds of money is thrown at them.

    Let the farce be with you.

    March 21, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. John

    Orin Hatch and his Republican colleagues can't get past the idea that some government programs are a good thing, and that the US doesn't always have the best system for everything. The CBO says the current healthcare reform bill will save over $1 trillion in the next 20 years – and I should hope it will be greater than that because the plan does nothing change the system from one focused on treatment to one focused on prevention.

    According to the World Health Organizations Our European friends have better health plans and they spend much less per person. So why shouldn't we be humble ourselves and borrow some of the best ideas from other developed countries.

    March 21, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. VK

    What Sen Feinstein says is NOT Europeanization of health care. She says "when we spend more than Europe on health care, we should get better results than them". That is not same as Europeanization.

    March 21, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Why is it that so few people have so little faith in the American system's ability to make adjustments in its legislative processes? Ignorance or lack of concern? I have little patience with those who deliberately deprive themselves of the information necessary to make informed judgements.

    March 21, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    "Isn't the perfect bill" is, I guess, one way to describe the financial ruin of the country, the ruin of American health care, and one giant step toward American socialism.

    March 21, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Bob in Pa

    You are absolutly right, If it isn't perfect, throw it out.

    March 21, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |