Health Care Reform

By:  Phil Gingrey
Date: July 14, 2009
Location: Washington, DC


HEALTH CARE REFORM -- (House of Representatives - July 14, 2009)

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Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I thank my colleague for yielding.

It is a pleasure to be on the floor with my colleagues talking about this bill that was finally, as we all know, introduced by Speaker Pelosi at a press conference this afternoon. And hearing our colleagues from Tennessee talk about really the ultimate pilot project, we are always in Medicare, anytime they are trying to do something to improve a situation, we start with a pilot project, which makes sense.

Well, this was the ultimate pilot project, I think, this TennCare that Congresswoman Blackburn and Dr. Roe, Congressman Roe, have described to us; and as their Democratic Governor said, it was a complete abysmal failure.

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Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I am reading directly from that provision, taxes on employers and individuals.

Mr. SHADEGG. So you have read a portion of this bill?

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I have read a portion of this bill.

Mr. SHADEGG. And I suggest that you also read from a letter written by Blue Dog Democrats, conservative Democrats, to their leadership expressing concerns about provisions of the bill before it was released today, the so-called ``Tri-Committee Discussion Draft.'' So are you telling me that Blue Dog Democrats have read portions of the bill?

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. The gentleman from Arizona is absolutely right. One of the provisions that they stated in the letter is this, finally, any health care reform legislation that comes to the floor must be available to all Members and to the public for a sufficient amount of time before we are asked to vote for it.

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Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I can respond to the gentleman from Arizona, absolutely, and again in this letter, and I'm quoting directly from the letter: too short of a review period is unacceptable and only undermines Congress' ability to pass responsible health care reform that works for all Americans.

And our colleague from Tennessee, Dr. Roe, just held up that 1,100-page bill. I wonder when they are going to get around to reading it. And I yield back.

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Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank this gentleman from Missouri for yielding. I know time is running short.

I just wanted to point out, in regard to the government plan, the Blue Dogs, who sent this letter last Friday to Ms. Pelosi and to the majority leader, Mr. Hoyer. It reads: Providers in the government plan must be fairly reimbursed at negotiated rates, and their participation must be voluntary.

The bill that was introduced today by Ms. Pelosi, in regard to providers forced to participate, reads: Establishment of a provider network for the government plan. Health care providers participating under Medicare are automatically participating providers in the public health insurance option unless they opt out in a process established by the Secretary.

So, in talking about the powers of the commissioner, I also worry about the powers of the Secretary, and every doctor in America should worry about that.

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