Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) spoke with CNN chief national correspondent John King today. Sen. Kerry said that he doesn’t believe the Court has “justification” to strike down the health care legislation. A highlight from the interview is below; a full transcript will be posted at http://archives.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/2012.03.28.html. This full interview will air on CNN’s John King, USA at 6 p.m.
Please credit all usage of the interview to CNN’s John King, USA
Highlight from Full Interview
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED
JOHN KING, HOST, JOHN KING U.S.A.: And Senator Kerry joins us now from Capitol Hill. Senator, you were part of writing this bill in the first place. You understand the politics of the moment in this election year on Capitol Hill.
If the court strikes down all or part of this law, is there any prayer that Congress could do anything before the November 11 election? Or will we have to wait until after?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D) MASS.: Well, if they did — which I don’t believe there is a justification to do — but if they did, I think Congress should move immediately, obvious. And needless to say, it depends on exactly what might be affected. But you know, if its breadth is in its entirety, it’s going to be very hard to do before the election.
But if there’s some smaller component, I believe Congress would have an obligation. We are the legislative branch, not the court. The court should not be selective here. And in fact, there is an enormous presumption in favor of the law, which 30 courts have already upheld at a lower level. So to overcome that presumption, I think, would be a very, very — that would take a very significant argument.
KING: You gave an interview at “The Boston Herald” yesterday. You know the history of 2010, the health care issue did not play well for the Democrats in the 2010 elections, especially in those won by Tea Party members.
You told this to “The Boston Herald,” “I want this debate about health care in this election, because I think when Americans learn the difference between the benefit of having coverage and how it lowers costs, it’s like insuring your house.” Are you sure about that, that you want to fight this out in 2012?
KERRY: I feel very confident about it, because I think the evidence in Massachusetts, for instance, individual premiums have gone down 50 percent because more people are sharing the risk. It’s the fundamental notion of insurance. But in addition to that, there are a host of good things that are already beginning to happen as a result of this bill.
For instance, hospitals are now paying differently. Patients are being discharged and managed differently between primary care physicians all the way through the system. All of these things, electronic records, other things, are going to reduce the cost of health care.
If you got rid of this law, they won immediately — you add $2 trillion back to the deficit and you wind up with a whole bunch of Americans who are going to be told, sorry, you don’t have insurance any more, even though you have terminal cancer. Sorry, you’re not covered, you know, even though you’re — you know, it’s a pregnancy, but that’s a preexisting condition.
Kids who are currently covered till the age of 26 will no longer be covered. Seniors, tens of thousands of seniors will suddenly find they’re no longer getting prescription drugs that they get today. I mean, there would be a whole upheaval that I think people are only just now beginning to focus on.