Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida Congressional Delegation,
issued the following statement on why she will vote against the Pelosi healthcare reform bill:
"We all agree that real health care reform is a necessity. In South Florida we have far too many families living underinsured or completely uninsured. The Pelosi 1.3 trillion dollar bill is not the answer because it cuts Medicare programs for our seniors, taxes small businesses that are already struggling and leaves a staggering debt for our grandchildren. The price of healthcare will not stabilize, it will not go down, and we will all see the cost either in more taxes or premium increases. Congress should have worked together in a bipartisan way to help the uninsured while not putting additional economic burdens on hard working families at a time when unemployment is over 10% nationally.
Among other things, what's needed in a healthcare reform package is the end to doctors' fears of frivolous and expensive lawsuits and the practice of defensive medicine; the forcing of insurance companies to compete nationally for your business; the use of refundable tax credits to increase affordability and not penalize America's small businesses. Our vital small business owners are already straining to not cut jobs and wages.
My mother is 83 and suffers from Alzheimer's. When I see the Pelosi bill taking benefits away from seniors like her, I worry tremendously. Medicare helps countless seniors in our community live longer and healthier lives. The Pelosi bill makes $170 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage causing 3 million seniors to lose their current coverage. The Pelosi bill will increase Medicare prescription drug premiums by over 20 percent, a rate unaffordable to seniors. The Pelosi bill also has cuts to Home Health Care programs, hospice care, and the prescription drug care program. All Americans deserve access to affordable health care, but reducing quality and quantity of care for one group to pay for another is a sacrifice that our seniors should not be forced to make.
I am a proud new grandmother, and the Pelosi 1.3 trillion dollar bill will leave a legacy of debt to my granddaughter, Morgan Elizabeth. In Congress' rush to get any kind of bill passed, regardless of its cost or impact, they have taken the wrong approach. Congress should find common-sense and practical ways to fix what is broken in the system without destroying what works.
We need competition and market place reforms that will bring high quality and low prices. This bill was simply the wrong medicine for America's health care problems. We must let Americans decide for themselves what is best for their families. Everyone deserves healthcare treatment, everyone deserves access to healthcare insurance, and everyone deserves both at an affordable cost. We can, we must, do better.
The Pelosi bill found creative ways to hide healthcare costs in new taxes, mandates and cuts that make no sense for families and seniors, no sense for small businesses, and no sense for future generations."