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June 28th, 2012
10:01 AM ET

Sen. Schumer: People want health care bill, says if GOP tries to repeal 'good parts' in health care law, Dems will be on 'strong ground'

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) tells Soledad on "Starting Point" that the elements in the Affordable Care Act are things the American people want.

Transcript after the jump.

O'BRIEN: Democratic Senator Charles Schumer is a member of the Judiciary Committee he has said that he's confident the court is going to uphold the law. You still think that's true. That's going to happen today.

SEN. CHARLES SHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Well, look it's silly to make predictions. What I said awhile back was they certainly have a right to uphold the law because they are well within the Commerce Clause but no one knows how the court is going to rule. And we'll know in an hour, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You heard Boehner there saying just a moment ago that the - he believes if the individual mandate is struck down, he's going to work to repeal the rest of the law. What will happen in the Senate?

SCHUMER: Well, does Speaker Boehner want to tell senior citizens that we're not going to fill the doughnut hole and help pay for their prescription drugs? Does Speaker Boehner want to tell kids out of college who can't afford health care they can no longer be part of their parent's plan? And does Speaker Boehner want to give free rein to insurance companies so they could charge huge amounts for nonmedical costs? We limit it to less than 20 percent and we make sure that you know if you didn't dot an "i" or crossed a "t" they can't cut you off your insurance once you get sick. Does he want to get rid of all of those things? The American people sure don't.

O'BRIEN: It sounds like you're saying that would be a strategy in the next five months. In fact if that were to happen in terms of campaigning for the White House.


SCHUMER: Well, look. There are lots of good things in this bill. And we hope that the Supreme Court will keep the whole bill intact. But certainly, keep the good parts of the bill intact. And if the House Republicans try to repeal those good parts, I think we'll be on very strong ground.

When you ask people about the overall bill, they're worried about it. When you ask people about lots of the individual parts, they love it. And -


O'BRIEN: So then, analyze that for me then, sir? So does that mean that the messaging was just terrible? Right because I mean, I'll give you the numbers 51 percent disapprove when you asked them overall. When you start navigating down to individual provisions, 85 percent approve of the pre-existing conditions; 77 percent approve of children being covered.

SCHUMER: Early on, look, if you look - Soledad, people are unhappy with the present system before the health care bill ever went in to effect. Insurance companies just got away with everything. Rates were going up. And lots of things weren't covered.

I think as the bill, if the Supreme Court keeps it intact as the bill goes in to effect people will like it because it's what they want. Were there a parade of horribles put out by the enemies of the health care bill, whether they be ideological or had a pecuniary interest against it? Sure. But as people learn of the good things happening they want to keep them and that's what the data shows.

O'BRIEN: And if the individual mandate is struck down and the House tries to disassemble the rest of the bill altogether, what will be the - the move by the Democratic leadership?

SCHUMER: We in the Senate will not go along with repealing the entire bill. That's for sure. No matter what the House does and that's because as I mentioned so many good things in the bill.

O'BRIEN: Do you think this was a failure of a message?

SCHUMER: I wouldn't say that. I would say in a big complicated bill the way our world works, frankly, the way the media work, they always emphasize the negative.

But as people see the actual effects, they are going to be very positive. Seniors love having their prescription costs covered more and more will be covered through 2017. I've heard from so many young people and their parents that it's such a relief that their kids can be on their health care plan.


O'BRIEN: Yes. But this polling seems -

SCHUMER: Those went into - well, Soledad those went in to effect immediately. When the - in 2014 when we have the competition among the insurance companies, and rates begin to level off, when we see that insurance companies can't charge more than 20 percent for advertising or salaries or profits and the rates start going - the rate start - stop increasing at such a large rate, people are going to like that, too.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Becerra we played a little chunk of what he said. He said, "People should praying tonight to make the Supreme Court doesn't come down 5-4 again because it's going to - in his word, "unmask the court's political tendencies". Do you agree with him on that?

SCHUMER: Well, look. As I said, if they're just judging the law strictly on the merits, this is clearly within the Commerce Clause. They say there can't be mandate, we mandate car insurance on everybody. There are all kinds of mandates. The original Wickard v. Filburn case with the courts even Scalia has stuck with for 70 years said we can mandate that a farmer can't grow this amount of rice or that amount of wheat.

O'BRIEN: So if it's a 5-4 decision and it finds the law is unconstitutional would you agree with Congressman Becerra who says, listen, it looks political?

SCHUMER: You know again, I would like to read - I would like to read the decision first. I will say this. I am troubled about previous decisions in the court, particularly Citizens United and Bush v. Gore being highly political. And I frankly am worried with - about Justice Scalia's ventures in to politics way away from the law. But I'll have to wait and see the decision before I characterize it.

O'BRIEN: We're all saying that same thing. We're expecting it in just about an hour and eight minutes. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, nice to see you sir as always. Thanks for talking with us.

SCHUMER: Soledad it's good to talk to you. Thank you.

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