CHILDREN'S HEALTH AND MEDICARE PROTECTION ACT OF 2007--Continued -- (House of Representatives - August 01, 2007)
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, throughout this debate, we have heard a vote against this bill is a vote against the children, a vote against the poor, a vote against those who need the help most; and had this legislation merely reauthorized the current law, the arguments might have had an element of truth to them. But with this unconstrained growth in a welfare entitlement bill that this expansion has become, what we do know is that this bill now undermines the health care of millions of uninsured children and insured children and does so at the expense of American seniors.
Supporters of this bill would say that by no means is this a back door to a mandatory, socialized, government-run health care system. I say, not the back door, but, as PAUL RYAN might say, it's a front-door approach to a socialized, government-run health care system. Also, it opens the windows and the garage door as well.
This bill does not set a cap on the annual income levels of the families it covers, it does not include an asset test to ensure that millionaires are not eligible, and it expands the program to cover childless adults.
It is entirely conceivable, and, actually, it probably will occur, that the States can enroll as many people in this program as local politics will make expedient. A benchmark figure that has been bandied about is 300 percent. They want to enroll families up to 300 percent above the poverty level.
Just what would that system look like? According to the Census Bureau, and I just got these numbers a little while ago, of the 300 million or so people in this country, 48.3 percent, or roughly 145 million people, live at or below the 300 percent of the Federal poverty level. So we're now considering a new entitlement program for nearly half of the entire population of this country. And if you add to that number the 44 million people who are currently enrolled in Medicare, what does that mean? That means, with this bill, almost two-thirds of the entire population of this country will be on a government-run, socialized health care system, two-thirds paid for by one-third.
Mr. Speaker, make no mistake about it. This proposal is a large step towards a single-payer, Washington-run State health care system.
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