Mr. MORAN of Kansas. This week, I had the honor of meeting 30 Kansas World War II veterans at the national World War II Memorial. These veterans, who are in their 80s and 90s, were part of Honor Flight, an organization that brings veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the memorial dedicated in their honor.
Welcoming these Honor Flight veterans is an incredible privilege and one of the most rewarding experiences of my time in Congress. As I visited with these veterans about the sacrifices they made, the friends they lost, and the love they have for their country, I was reminded about how serious my responsibility is as a Member of the United States House of Representatives to do right. It also caused me to reflect on the importance of this weekend's vote on health care reform.
As Chair of the House Rural Health Care Coalition, I know how important health care is to the survival of Kansans and their home towns. The vote we will take this weekend will affect all Kansans at every age, those proud aging veterans, the senior couple counting out their medications each morning, the young family just starting out, the children playing hide and seek in the yard, and the small business owner looking over the budget report.
The decision we make this weekend matters; it matters from coast to coast and across the sweeping plains of Kansas. Our State has unique health care needs, different from much of the country. We have an aging population that has spread widely across a large area. I consider these unique needs in each policy decision that I make.
Changes are truly needed in our current health care system, and I have written about my ideas for reform and have shared them with folks back home and anyone up here who will listen. After studying H.R. 3962, Speaker Pelosi's health care reform bill, listening to the concerns of Kansans and visiting with Kansas hospitals to speak with doctors and nurses, patients and administrators, I have concluded that the Speaker's 2,000-page bill will do great harm to Kansans, and I strongly oppose it.
The Pelosi bill is essentially the same version that the Speaker started out with months ago, except it's 1,000 pages longer. Instead of working to repair our current system, which a majority of Americans favor, the Pelosi bill will turn much of our system on its head by creating a new government-sponsored health care program financed by deficit spending and taxes.
This bill levies taxes on businesses, cuts Medicare benefits to seniors, eliminates jobs with employer mandates, and enables bureaucrats to define what form of health coverage is acceptable for Americans.
The bill would create 118 new boards, bureaucracies, commissions and programs to carry out its so-called ``reforms.'' I am especially troubled how $500 billion in Medicare cuts and proposed reimbursement rate changes contained in this bill will affect Kansans with our high population of seniors. Only in Washington does cutting billions of dollars from a near bankrupt Medicare program seem like a good idea. These cuts will reduce benefits and raise premiums for Kansas seniors and make it harder for us to find a doctor or nurse when we need one.
We strengthen our health care system by reducing cost. The Speaker's bill does nothing to reduce cost. In fact, Medicare and Medicaid's own actuaries have warned that the plan will dramatically increase Federal health care spending.
The veterans I met at the World War II Memorial fought for a country they love and that country's promise of liberty and opportunity. After the war, these men and women returned to their homes and ventured off in different directions, some rejoined families and jobs, some got married, some went to college, and some started a business. But one thing they all shared was the desire to continue fighting to make a better life for their children, a life better than the one they had for themselves. This is the desire that my mom and dad--my dad who turns 94 tomorrow--had for my sister and me, and the one that my wife, Robba, and I have for our daughters. This is what we do in America: we leave the next generation better off.
I have concluded this bill will not make health care more affordable or more accessible to Kansans. I have also concluded that, coupled with all the other bad ideas of this Congress--stimulus packages, bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, cap-and-trade--we will be leaving our children with more debt, less freedom, diminished personal responsibility, and fewer economic opportunities. Worse, we will have failed to honor the dreams of those Kansas soldiers for a better life for another generation of Americans.