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Public Statements

Affordable Health Care For America Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, today brings the culmination of an extensive and spirited debate over health care reform. Both parties agree that the status quo is unacceptable. Obviously, we disagree on how to fix what is broken. And as the gentleman from New York just said, there are times in this body when we really can tell the difference between us Republicans and you Democrats, and this is certainly one of them.

Mr. Speaker, the Democrat solution is a 1,990-page, trillion-dollar overhaul of the health care system we know, a sweeping new entitlement that raises taxes, cuts benefits to seniors and, Mr. Speaker, it spends over a trillion dollars that we don't have.

Republicans believe there is a better way. We have proposed an alternative approach that offers a stark contrast to the majority's plan. It is a fiscally responsible and reasoned approach.

The majority's proposal overturns the whole system. We keep what works and then try to fix what is wrong.

Their bill puts the government between families and their doctors. Ours doesn't.

Their plan cuts Medicare benefits to seniors. Ours retains them.

Their proposal blows a hole in the deficit. Ours actually saves money.

Their bill imposes penalties and mandates on our small businesses that cost jobs. Ours does not.

Specifically, Mr. Speaker, our bill will help you access health care if you lose or change your job. And it will ensure that you have access to medical care if you have a preexisting condition. And we also, Mr. Speaker, deliver on something that the majority refuses to even talk about, and that's real, meaningful medical liability reform.

And most importantly, Mr. Speaker, we produce cost savings for workers, families, and small businesses. The Congressional Budget Office says that the Democrats' new government-run system won't reduce costs. CBO says our legislation lowers health care costs. In fact, CBO says that the Republican plan cuts premiums by up to 10 percent for employees covered by small businesses, up to 8 percent for those not covered by employers, and up to 3 percent for employees covered by large businesses.

Mr. Speaker, in the face of 10.2 percent unemployment, Americans want jobs. They want less government spending and more economic security. The majority's bill shows they have not listened. Ours shows we have.

Interestingly, Mr. Speaker, the only bipartisanship on Capitol Hill today will be in opposition to Speaker Pelosi's trillion-dollar-plus government overhaul of America's health care system. With that, Mr. Speaker, I urge passage of this substitute.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, any physician in America will tell you that the simplest way to reduce health care costs is to enact real medical liability reform. The fear of being sued by opportunistic trial lawyers is pervasive in the practice of medicine. Our system wastes billions on defensive medicine that should be going to patient care. That's why real medical liability reform is needed. In fact, CBO estimates that as much as $54 billion can be saved by the Federal Government alone. It is totally unacceptable that this money is being spent in the courtroom instead of the operating room.

At the same time, the majority has promised the American people that their health care bill will lower costs, yet the bill before us today, Mr. Speaker, contains no medical liability reforms. And why not? The truth comes from one of the Democrats' own, no less than former DNC Chair and physician Howard Dean, who said last August, The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people that wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth.

Mr. Speaker, the Republican motion to recommit adds real meaningful medical liability and reform and uses its $54 billion in savings to create a fund that will protect seniors, especially those in rural areas, from the steep cuts to Medicare in the Democrats' reform package. It gives Members the chance to prioritize the health of our Nation's seniors instead of lining the bank accounts of trial lawyers. It's time to get trial lawyers out of the clinics and the operating rooms and leave patient care to the people trained to handle it best--our doctors.

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