Kyl made the remarks while being interviewed by Greta Van Susteren for her Fox News Channel show on Wednesday. The Fox-provided transcript (typos and all) is below the video.
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Two years after President Obama signed his health care plan into law, we are finally getting closer to finding out if the law's constitutional or not. Next week, the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments about the individual mandate, but right now, Republicans are gearing up for a fight in November. What is their game plan for taking on President Obama and changing health care?
We spoke with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl earlier tonight.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.
SEN. JON KYL, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, Greta. Good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, here's the hypothetical. Assume that the Supreme Court does not declare the national health care law unconstitutional and that it's going to go forward. Between now and November, is there anything that the Republicans in the Senate plan to do or can do vis-a-vis the national health care bill?
KYL: Well, of course, the Democrats control the Senate. So we're not going to be able to pass a bill that repeals any part of "Obamacare" in the U.S. Senate. But if it is not unconstitutional, it will become the biggest issue of the campaign. And you can rest assured that we will try to bring attention to what's happened in any way we can. And we do that by offering of amendments or floor speeches, those kinds of things.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now -- let's assume hypothetically that Governor Mitt Romney then is the candidate, the Republican nominee. How can you make that an issue and an effective issue for the Republican Party in light of the fact that Massachusetts has a state health care that is very much similar to the national health care?
KYL: I think that if that occurs, Mitt Romney's going to have to be very specific and say, Look, the Court has spoken -- by the way, I'm hoping the Court will rule the other way, but let's take your hypothetical forward, that the Court has said it's constitutional.
Then I believe that candidate Romney at that point has to say, Look, we need to repeal the whole thing, and here are the three reasons why. If we can't do that, we need to repeal this piece and this piece and this piece, and here are the reasons why.
In other words, it can't be general because they did something like that in Massachusetts. So people are going to be skeptical unless he can be very specific about what he's talking about and why.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, how can anyone, though, as a viewer, have great confidence in that? Because I mean, he was an advocate for the system in Massachusetts. And I realize that's a state, not the federal government, but he was an advocate. And if that's what the Republicans are really sort of aggressively going to go at the president with, if he -- if he's got sort of in his back yard this issue, just saying, I'm now going to do away with it, may not be particularly persuasive.
KYL: Yes, and that's the point that Rick Santorum has been making. And the answer to it is, as I said, I think -- and I'm not his campaign manager and I'm not the smartest campaign guy -- but I think you have to be very specific.
And if you say, Here are two specific things or three specific things that are wrong, and that's why we have to repeal it and I am committing to do that, then the public begins to see that you're serious about it and you've got something concrete.
Now, what he would have to do then is to say, And that's unlike Massachusetts, or, One of those things is actually a little bit like what we did in Massachusetts, and I don't see it working out so well. He'd have to have, in other words, a reason to distinguish it from what happened in Massachusetts.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything implemented now that -- that we -- that the economy or we're feeling under this national health care?
KYL: Well, great question. And I think that the experts would say just the fact that it's hanging over our head and about to be implemented in most of its pieces -- some of it is being implemented, but the big pieces are yet to be implemented. The fact that that's hanging over our head is having a dampening effect on the economy, on economic growth and on job creation.
A lot of small business folks are saying, Why would we add more people to our rolls, when if we do that, we exceed the threshold, and then "Obama care" applies to us? Other people are saying, Why should we continue to apply -- or to buy health insurance for our folks when as soon as "Obamacare" comes in, we're going to have to scrap that, go to a whole different kind of plan, or pay a $2,000 fine as an alternative?
That's why the way -- by the way, why people are going to leave the private sector because it'll be cheaper for these companies to spend $2,000 on a fine than it is to spend $10,000 or $15,000 or $20,000 per family purchasing insurance.
VAN SUSTEREN: One of the things that Republicans object to in this plan are these advisory boards that will have some control over prices and services. Do you oppose those -- IPAB, I guess, is what they're called, IPAB.
KYL: That's the second worst thing about the whole bill, the IPAB. IPAB a board which is appointed by the president. He could make recess appointments. It doesn't have to be politically balanced.
These people have one job, and that is to make sure that some arbitrary number that is assigned for Medicare payments is not exceeded. In other words, here's the budget, and everything has to fit within it.
And if it turns out that there are people that need more care, they have to find a way either to delay that care into the next year or reduce the amount of care so that it fits in with the money part of the budget.
It's a little like Indian health service. I represent a lot of Native Americans, and there's a saying in Arizona, You better get sick before July. What do they mean? They're on a budget. And if you get sick in the latter part of the year, they probably pretty much run out of money and you're going to have to wait until next year to get your operation or your care.
So it's a kind of a sick joke, but that same thing could apply to Medicare with the IPAB. They're going to have to keep the costs within the arbitrary amount, and that means they're going to have to ration care.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, there are a lot of people in this city that make decisions who are not elected. And I understand that. But in this instance, these are decisions on the budget, essentially. These are budgetary decisions. And these are made not by members of Congress. So you know, if we don't like it, we can't throw you out, in essence. They are made by appointees of a president -- in this instance, President Obama and the next president may be President Obama.
Is there any objection to the fact that it's non-elected officials who would serve on this?
KYL: Sure. I mean, that's one of the problems. The first problem is that, inevitably, whoever you put in that position will have to ration care. And that should not be in America. We shouldn't have a government program that has -- that is contained in such a way that the only way to make it work is to ration health care. You ration either by...
VAN SUSTEREN: We're rationing now, though, don't we? I mean, don't we really...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... ration it -- I mean, some people on Medicare, some don't. Some have better medical care than others. I mean, we -- don't we ration it a little bit?
KYL: Very good care. Very good question. In Medicaid, which is the program for poorer people, we pay doctors even less than we do in Medicare. And guess what? Those are probably the last people in the waiting room to be taken care of if the doctor gets around to them. A lot of people say that care is being rationed to some extent in the Medicaid program because we don't reimburse the hospitals and the doctors enough. So naturally why would they want to do that work?
That will creep into Medicare and become a big part of Medicare with the IPAD. It will to do the same thing that is being done with Medicaid to a little extent. We are trying to prevent that. It's already happening with the Indian health service.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir. Nice to see you.
KYL: Thank you, Greta.
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