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Excerpt of an Interview with Burnie Thompson of WYOO

October 29, 2007

BURNIE THOMPSON: "You know I realized that health care is what you're focused on now and what a big issue in this country health care is. How would your health care differ from what we have now, and certainly from what, God forbid, Hillary Clinton's offering?"

MAYOR GIULIANI: "Well, it would differ from Hillary Clinton's in that it wouldn't be socialized medicine. It would not go in the direction of the government running everything, there being major government mandates, and, you know, a law that you have to have health insurance and if you don't you're going to get fined or you're going to get penalized or you're going to get taxed. It would go in the direction of making health insurance much more affordable by encouraging private purchase of health insurance by creating a very big tax exemption of $15,000 for people to buy their own health insurance. Whatever they pay for it, if they pay less than that, they get to keep that as part of a Health Savings Account which would allow them to set up a very high deductible if they wanted to drive down the cost. And if you think of it in terms of free market economics, which is the only way to reduce cost and increase quality, if we had 40 or 50 million Americans who were buying their own private health insurance instead of only about 17, the cost of health insurance would go down …"

THOMPSON: "Absolutely."

MAYOR GIULIANI: "And a lot of people could afford it. I mean, the people who don't have health insurance are not the poorest. They have Medicaid."

THOMPSON: "Right."

MAYOR GIULIANI: "People who don't have health insurance can buy other things. They can't buy or don't want to buy health insurance because it's either too expensive or they don't see the incentive. Well, if you make it a lot less expensive and you create a health savings account that can give them equity, and you make it portable, and you allow them to buy it from other states so you get a lot more competition, all of a sudden you're going to see the cost of health insurance go all the way down. Maybe the easiest way to say this, Burnie, is we're going to solve this through private action. She's going to solve it through socialized medicine."

THOMPSON: "Absolutely. I mean consumer driven health care is what we need. I mean it's become such a political football, Mr. Mayor. I mean the insurance companies are grabbing for the ball. The hospitals are grabbing for the ball. The government is grabbing for the ball and meanwhile patients and doctors have been forgotten."

MAYOR GIULIANI: "That's exactly right. It should be the individuals in the system who have control of it, meaning the patient and the doctor, the health care professionals like the doctors, not the health care economists, not the health care bureaucrats, not the Hillary government bureaucrats who are going to run it. And beware of a mandate. Beware of anybody that says we're going to mandate health care. Every place they've tried it--I'm in New Hampshire now right next to Massachusetts."

THOMPSON: "That was my next question."

MAYOR GIULIANI: "They mandated health insurance in Massachusetts. Now in fairness to Mitt Romney, he now says that he would not do that. In other words, he wouldn't do what he did in Massachusetts for the rest of the country, which shows that it was a mistake to mandate health insurance."

THOMPSON: "Uh, huh. Uh, huh. You know I was talking to my uncle--"

MAYOR GIULIANI: "And he's right by the way. He's right to say we shouldn't mandate health insurance given what's happened here in Massachusetts. It's become that much more expensive and there's even an issue of--just think of this: if you mandate something and you require that people have to buy it, don't you by that very act in a private economy, don't you make that more expensive?"

THOMPSON: "Increase the cost."

MAYOR GIULIANI: "Of course."

THOMPSON: "Absolutely."

Rudy Giuliani, Excerpt of an Interview with Burnie Thompson of WYOO Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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