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Public Statements

Health Care For Women In America

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. CAPITO. Thank you. I would like to thank the gentlewoman from Tennessee. She has been an advocate for health care but also commonsense health care. I think that's what we're facing here today. We're looking at a bill that Speaker Pelosi has put before this body. We've already heard that it's 1,990 pages. I heard it weighs 20 pounds. It just defies logic that anybody can honestly say that they know each and every thing that is in this bill. For those of you who know Washington, who know what can happen, I think that would raise some serious questions--it certainly does in my mind--but in your mind as to what are in the far reaches of this bill.

I would like to talk a little bit about women and health care because being a Member of Congress, a woman Member of Congress, we have certain duties, but we have so many other duties, like women across this country, that when we come into Washington, like many of us did today, we still have a little bit of our hearts or a lot of our hearts at home with our families, with our children, with our husbands, with our parents, with our siblings because we're the nurturers. We're the ones who, as women, oversee the health care in the family. We're the ones who, when the babies are little and they're coughing at night, put our ears to their chests to see if they're having some respiratory issues, and I think we're the ones that, as we become the sandwich generation, much like I am--I have grown children and elderly parents--that we're the ones that our parents come to to help them get to the appointments, fill their medications, help them with the forms, make sure that things are going in the right direction when they can no longer depend on each other.

I'm quite lucky. My parents are in their eighties, and they're extremely self-sufficient on their own. But someday they're going to need that help that I as a daughter and my sister and my brother will provide for them. In West Virginia, I found--just coming here today, it was astounding to me of the number of folks that just randomly approached me about knowing what is on the docket here, the Speaker's over 1,900-page $1 trillion health care bill, and people are concerned. I was in Wendy's having lunch today, and I met a woman. She asked me to come over and talk with her. She is 75 years old, quite remarkable, and her mother had died the day before. We have a great history of longevity in our State. She is very concerned about this bill because she feels that not only is the bill being balanced on almost $500 billion in cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, which will influence her health care, but she is very concerned about government bureaucracy making decisions for her health care. She is very concerned about the government getting in between her decisions and her doctor's decisions. Quite honestly, she was afraid of a rationing of care. Because she is 75 years old, is she going to get the same care she might have if she was 50 or if she was 25? These are the kinds of thoughts that are very real, and they were very real for her, as I talked with her over lunch.

Then as I was going to get on my plane this afternoon, I was buying a bottle of water, and the lady behind the counter said, Well, you're going back to Washington, right?

I said, Right, going back to Washington.

She said, It's health care, right?

I said, Right, it's health care.

And this voice in the back of the room said, Don't mess with my health care. Again, her view was, she's not on Medicare yet, but she had parents that were. She is concerned about their Medicare, but her concern was government-run health care. She sees this bill as it is. It's a government reach into her health care, and she was very concerned.

Then as I was coming back in from the airport, I had a man who asked me, Going to talk about health care, right?

I said, Right.

And he goes, Well, let me tell you, he said, If in any way that health care bill would leave a crack in the door for my taxpayer's dollars to go for funding of abortion, I am going to go on a rampage. He said, I can understand, and I want to give, and I want to help, but this was his line in the sand.

So you can see that everybody has a different perspective, and the 1,900 pages that are in the Speaker's bill are causing great concerns on a whole lot of levels.

I did some research on West Virginia women. Of West Virginia residents, 51 percent are women, and the 442,000 women in West Virginia who receive health care coverage through their employer, which is almost 60 percent of the women, I am concerned about them because they have health care that generally serves their needs. We need to go in and make sure we make adjustments, that we fill the cracks in the lack of access or coverage. But I am concerned and I think it's a real concern that the Speaker's bill is going to come in and force over 60 percent of the women who have coverage for their employers to be put into a government-run insurance program that they don't choose, is not of their own choosing. Then maybe if that's not what happens, then the insurance option that they have is going to be the one that the government panel says meets adequate coverage. Well, what does that mean? What does that mean to the 60 percent of the women covered through their insurance through their employer?

I think we have to look at what this is going to do for small businesses. In our State of West Virginia, only 37 percent of small businesses who have less than 50 employees provide health insurance coverage as compared to over 95 percent of larger firms employing more than 50. We need to fill that gap. As Republicans, we've come together to find ways to fill the gap for small

businesses, to make it affordable, make it available, make it accessible. But the bill that is created by Speaker Pelosi and those in the leadership does not do enough. What it does do is puts another tax on small business to provide that insurance.

Lastly, I asked a lot of the women in my district what they really thought about the plan as they understand it, expanded government involvement in health care. Of the women polled, 54 percent said that they would not personally trade their coverage for a public plan; 56 percent disagreed that they would be best served by government-run health care; 75 percent have said they don't want significant changes in their own health care; and 64 percent of the women in West Virginia said that they prefer private insurance over the public option. These are women that are accessing the health care system not just for themselves, not just for their own families. They're accessing it for their parents. Many of them work in the health care system. They see how it's working. They see the changes that could be made, and they really are rejecting it, I think, out of hand. I know my colleagues will expand on this tonight. The women are rejecting the types of changes where government goes between you and your health care provider.

I believe that is what has happened in this plan, not to mention the over $1 trillion price tag that's attached to this bill, which both men and women across the country know that this is going to be on the backs of their children and grandchildren, a legacy of debt and deficit that's going to be passed on.

I would like to thank the gentlewoman from Tennessee and all of my colleagues for being here tonight. Those are some of the perspectives that I have. It's so interesting to me that in the brief time today that I was out among folks, how tuned in everybody is to this, how aware. Because health care is so personal. It's such an everyday thing for so many people that everybody has an opinion because they're basically living it. This isn't something they're seeing from afar or they're hoping happens or it's happening to their neighbor. It's happening in everybody's home in America, and people are standing up and saying how they feel about it, where the changes need to be made, and how they feel. Generally speaking, today the Speaker's 1,900-page bill, $1 trillion bill, got a big goose egg today because I did not run into one person who said, That sounds like the plan for me. Thank you.


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