or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act Of 2009 - Resumed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCAIN. I regret that the Senator from Illinois did not observe the courtesies of the Senate, particularly when a person's name is mentioned, as he continued to mention my name throughout and totally falsifying my position both in the Presidential campaign and the position that we have on this side and this amendment. I have always extended that courtesy to the Senator from Illinois. I deeply regret that even this comity of the Senate is no longer observed.

I say to the Senator from Illinois, I regret you would not respond to a question I had posed, when you had said: I will respond in a minute. Again, even comity is not observed here.

Mr. DURBIN. Will the Senator yield for a second?

Mr. McCAIN. I will go ahead with the--the Senator did not provide me with the courtesy of allowing me to respond to a question. Now you want me to respond to a question from you? I will display more courtesy than you displayed to me. Go ahead.

Mr. DURBIN. I apologize. I planned on yielding to you. I would be happy to yield to you. I always do, and I failed to. I apologize.

Mr. McCAIN. Well, I guess my questions were, one, did the Senator, who claimed that no Republican has done anything to curb the health care insurance industry, was the Senator in the Senate when Senator Kennedy and I fought for weeks and months for the Patients' Bill of Rights? Was the Senator here then? Was he engaged in that debate? Senator Kennedy and I fought for the Patients' Bill of Rights, and the majority on that side of the aisle opposed it. The fact is, there have been efforts on my part to curb the abuses of the health insurance industry by sponsorship of the Patients' Bill of Rights.

Second, during the campaign, yes, I said that we could reduce and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in spending, and I said it because of Senator Coburn's Patients' Choice Act which would save $1 trillion in the States in Medicaid savings, $400 billion over the next 10 years in Medicare savings. I wish the Senator from Illinois would examine the Patients' Choice Act, as proposed by the Senator from Oklahoma. Maybe he would learn something. The Coburn bill wants to preserve the best quality health care in America and not eliminate $12 billion in the Medicare Advantage Program, which 330,000 of my citizens who are enrollees like and want to keep, not eliminate $150 billion to providers, including hospitals, hospice, and nursing homes, $23 billion in unspecified decreases to be determined by an independent Medicare advisory board, as well as billions of additional cuts to the Medicare Program.

There is no relation between what I tried to do in my campaign and what is being done in this legislation, I tell my friend from Illinois. I would be glad to hear the Senator's response. I would be glad to extend him that courtesy.

Mr. DURBIN. I thank the Senator from Arizona. I commend him for his work on the Patients' Bill of Rights which I joined him in with Senator Kennedy and would do it again. The point I was making----

Mr. McCAIN. Your statement was that no Republican had done anything. You just said no Republican had done anything to curb the health insurance industry. The Patients' Bill of Rights certainly would have done it.

Mr. DURBIN. My point was that there are provisions in this bill dealing with the rights of consumers against health insurance companies which I have not heard the Senator or others----

Mr. McCAIN. That is not what you said.

Mr. DURBIN. I ask you, do you support the health insurance reforms in this bill that give patients rights against health insurance companies; preexisting conditions, for example?

Mr. McCAIN. My record is very clear of advocating for patients and against the abuses of insurance companies across the board.

Mr. DURBIN. Thank you.

Mr. McCAIN. I ask unanimous consent to yield to the Senator from Oklahoma to describe the Patients' Choice Act and the way we could truly save money and reduce fraud, abuse, and waste in the system and at the same time preserve quality health care.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I have to address the situation since I have been accused by the majority leader of changing my position. The Senate considered the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which called for approximately $10 billion in reduction in Medicare costs, approximately $10 billion. Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said:

Unfortunately, the Republican budget is an immoral document. Let's look at what is in the bill before us. The budget increases burdens on America's seniors by increasing Medicare premiums, and we have not seen what the House is going to give us. It cuts health care, both Medicare and Medicaid, by a total of $27 billion.

The majority leader was outraged in 2005 that there should be reductions in Medicare and Medicaid spending of $27 billion. Now the distinguished majority leader, with the white smoke coming out of his office, says he is for $483 billion in cuts in Medicare. That is a remarkable flip-flop.

By the way, I might add, Senator Dodd, who is here on the floor, said, concerning the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005:

For example, this bill cuts funding for Medicare and Medicaid which provide health care to poor children, working men and women, the disabled, and the elderly.

What a plea. What a plea.

Senator Barbara Boxer said:

Mr. President, I strongly oppose the reconciliation bill before the Senate. The bill would cut vital programs for the middle class, elderly, and poor. That is why I cannot believe only 2 months after Katrina we have a bill that would cut Medicare and Medicaid by $27 billion.

The list goes on and on.

Now before us we have cuts of $483 billion, including hospice, hospitals, other vital programs for our seniors. If we are going to go around and talk about flip-flops, let's look at the rhetoric that accompanied my colleagues on the other side in their opposition to $27 billion in savings which, by the way, actually only saved $2 to $3 billion over 5 years.

I ask my friend from Oklahoma, does he believe it is possible to make these cuts, including from the Medicare Advantage Program, and establish a Medicare commission that would not, over time, cut benefits that exist today for Medicare and Medicaid patients?

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I have to address the situation since I have been accused by the majority leader of changing my position. The Senate considered the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which called for approximately $10 billion in reduction in Medicare costs, approximately $10 billion. Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said:

Unfortunately, the Republican budget is an immoral document. Let's look at what is in the bill before us. The budget increases burdens on America's seniors by increasing Medicare premiums, and we have not seen what the House is going to give us. It cuts health care, both Medicare and Medicaid, by a total of $27 billion.

The majority leader was outraged in 2005 that there should be reductions in Medicare and Medicaid spending of $27 billion. Now the distinguished majority leader, with the white smoke coming out of his office, says he is for $483 billion in cuts in Medicare. That is a remarkable flip-flop.

By the way, I might add, Senator Dodd, who is here on the floor, said, concerning the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005:

For example, this bill cuts funding for Medicare and Medicaid which provide health care to poor children, working men and women, the disabled, and the elderly.

What a plea. What a plea.

Senator Barbara Boxer said:

Mr. President, I strongly oppose the reconciliation bill before the Senate. The bill would cut vital programs for the middle class, elderly, and poor. That is why I cannot believe only 2 months after Katrina we have a bill that would cut Medicare and Medicaid by $27 billion.

The list goes on and on.

Now before us we have cuts of $483 billion, including hospice, hospitals, other vital programs for our seniors. If we are going to go around and talk about flip-flops, let's look at the rhetoric that accompanied my colleagues on the other side in their opposition to $27 billion in savings which, by the way, actually only saved $2 to $3 billion over 5 years.

I ask my friend from Oklahoma, does he believe it is possible to make these cuts, including from the Medicare Advantage Program, and establish a Medicare commission that would not, over time, cut benefits that exist today for Medicare and Medicaid patients?

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCAIN. Also, I say to the Senator, as you know, many of the seniors in my State--I would ask my colleague--have been very puzzled at the AARP's endorsement of a proposal that would cut their Medicare, where it has already been made clear that Medicare Advantage--and there are 330,000 seniors citizens in my State who are under Medicare Advantage--that it has been announced it will be slashed, and that somehow AARP is now supporting it.

All I can say is, is my friend aware there is an organization called 60 Plus that is working very hard on behalf of seniors to make sure they do not lose these benefits?

Mr. COBURN. I am. I would tell the Senator, again--how are we where we are? How are we where we are, when we are going to take a program that is working--granted, I think Medicare Advantage could be decreased through true competitive bidding. But CMS did not do that. We could bring the costs down and still have the same benefits. But this bill cuts the benefits in half, the extra benefits that Medicare patients have by being signed up on Medicare Advantage that everybody has who can afford a supplemental policy.

I want to address one other thing, if the Senator would allow me. The majority whip said: Don't we want to get rid of conflicts of interest? Yes. But his argument was specious because the price is set for an X-ray or a mammogram or a CT or a blood test. They are set by Medicare now. There is no differential in the price other than what Medicare says the differential will be. There is no arbitrariness. The government sets the price for every Medicare test out there by region. So there is no way to game it, as the Senator from Illinois said it was gamed. The best reason to have a lab in a doctor's office is so you do not have to wait and come back for another visit to the doctor who charges Medicare another $60 because you get the answer right then. We want to eliminate that. So what will we do? There is no cost savings in that. There is a cost increase because now, instead of giving an answer to the patient, the patient is going to wait as they send it off to the lab, and have them come back in.

Mr. McCAIN. Can I ask the Senator another question? How does the Senator envision that we can eliminate fraud and abuse and waste and institute significant savings? One of the ways is to retain the provisions in this amendment, this motion to commit, that uses the savings from fraud, abuse, and waste elimination to make the trust fund stronger, but at the same time preserves the benefits that our senior citizens have earned. How many times have you heard from senior citizens in your State saying: I paid into this trust fund. I paid for my Medicare all my life. Now it is going to be cut. How is that fair? How is that fair to my generation, the greatest generation?

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Back to top