Interview on CNN's Inside Politics
May 13, 2003
Congressman Dick Gephardt's health care proposal was a big issue at the recent debate among the Democratic presidential hopefuls. Today former Vermont governor and medical doctor Howard Dean unveiled his own health care plan. I spoke with Dean earlier today, and began by asking him why businesses should continue to offer health insurance for employees if the Dean plan will help those businesses that don't offer insurance.
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because, first of all, Dick's plan is a good plan, but it's three times as expensive as ours is. The reason that people should continue to cover their employees is because they'll get a better health care plan that way. Our plan requires employees to pay 7.5 percent of their gross income, if they don't have health insurance already. The other thing that happens is that we penalize companies that don't give health insurance by removing some of their tax deductions. If your a big corporation and you could get health insurance but you don't, we do not allow the American taxpayers to subsidize your chief executive salaries, your senior executive salaries or benefits. In other words, you lose the tax deduction for those benefits.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you, if you have a plan that costs one- third, I guess is how we do that math, of what Congressman Gephardt's plan does but covers everybody, something tells me that somebody is not going to get very good coverage because you get what you pay for, don't you?
DEAN: No, that's not true. Dick's plan has chosen to subsidize every corporation in America. We don't think that's possible. I don't think we can get that through. It's not that Dick Gephardt's plan is a bad plan. It's just incredibly expensive and it's a little complicated. So ours is much easier to understand. It's much cheaper. It's based on what we did in Vermont. As almost 12 years as a governor in a position, of course, I've got a fair amount experience with how to do this. We just found it was much easier to look, specifically, at the individuals that don't have insurance and cover them, rather than to do a huge change in what the system already is by giving enormous subsidies to big corporations. That's probably not the best way to do this in terms of the taxpayer dollars.
CROWLEY: Let me talk to you a little bit about what gets the most play about you, and that is your relationship with Senator Kerry. Is it as tense as it appears to the rest us from the outside looking in?
DEAN: I don't think so. This race is not about myself and any of the other candidates. This is about taking the country back, back to a time where we could trust our government.
CROWLEY: Most of the squabbling does seem to come between the two of you and I'm trying to figure out why that is.
DEAN: Well, I can't tell you why that is, other than we're doing much better than I think most people expected us to. I think a lot of people expect we are going to just be a candidate that wasn't going to go anywhere, and we're tied for the lead in New Hampshire by a good margin. And I think that's of some concern to some of the other candidates. Politics is a rough sport. I expect him to say things about me. Again, 5he campaign is not about my relationship with other candidates, it's about what we're going to do for the country…