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Public Statements

Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act Of 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I stand confused from the statement of the chairman of the Finance Committee because we have all the reports that the bill he is talking about is not the bill we are going to be voting on because we are totally changing what we are doing. What is out there now is that we are going to expand Medicare to those down to 55 years of age, and we are going to expand Medicaid up to those of 150 percent of poverty. We are going to add billions of dollars of mandates, even at 90 percent copaid by the Federal Government, to the States over the next 10 years. We have a Medicare Program that you have taken $465 billion out of, and you are going to add 34 million new people to under the new plan--the new plan we are talking about. You are talking about the plan we used to have.

It is interesting, though, as you make those points, when you say it is net tax cut. Three-quarters of the net tax cut goes to people in this country who pay no taxes in the first place. The chairman cannot deny that. The fact is, according to the Joint Tax Committee--the chairman conveniently does not look at the other body that gives us information on taxes. According to the Joint Tax Committee, $288 billion of the $394 billion will be refundable. That is a refundable tax credit to people who are paying no taxes now.

Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, might I ask the Senator, it is a tax cut, whether or not it is refundable. And even if it is refundable, it is extra dollars in people's pockets.

Mr. COBURN. The fact is, it is taxes to the average American family--40 million of them. According to the Joint Tax Committee, taxes will rise on those who are making under $200,000 a year. The Joint Tax Committee said that.

The point is, what you are talking about does not have any application because we do not have ``the bill,'' again, because we have a new ``the bill'' on the floor, which is going to take a bankrupt program that our children today are responsible for--if you are born today, based on the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, you are responsible for $350,000, if you are a new child born today, for what we have not paid for in Medicare. And now we have the new plan that is going to come out. We have cut $465 billion out of Medicare, or moved it out of Medicare, to create a new program. And we are going to add 34 million new Americans to it, in a plan that has already mortgaged the future of our children.

The other thing the chairman said is that costs in health care will go down and that premiums will go down. Well, there are 11 out of 12 people who have studied ``the plan'' who say premiums will rise. What CBO says is, if you are in the individual market, your premiums are going to go up anywhere from 10 to 13 percent. In fact, they are not sure whether premiums will decline. They say on the other groups it is from a 1-percent increase to a 2-percent decrease over what they would have already increased.

So our problem with health care is costs. That is the thing that stops access to health care in this country. And the plan--whether it is the new plan, which nobody has gotten to see the details of, or the plan we have seen the details of, the 2,074 pages we have seen the details of--raises the cost of health care in this country.

But none of that is important because the most important thing is, it puts government in control of your health care through the task force on preventive health services, through the Medicare Advisory Commission, and through the cost comparative effectiveness panel.

So with a wink and a nod we are going to put government in control of your health care; we are going to put 70 new bureaucracies between you and your doctor; we are going to put 20,000 new Federal employees between you and your doctor; and we are not going to lower the costs. The average American is not going to get a tax cut; they are going to see an
increase out of this bill. The average middle-income American is going to see a tax increase out of this bill.

So, consequently, what we have heard sounds good on the surface. But the most important thing to remember is you are no longer going to be in control of your health care because once the government puts its nose under the tent, just as it did on breast cancer screening--and we have the gall to say we are going to recognize every time the agency does something that is harmful to a patient in their relationship with their doctor, that we are going to come to the Senate floor and correct it. The fact is, that isn't going to happen.

So, ultimately, your health care is going to cost more and your premiums are going to rise. Eleven out of the twelve studies say premiums are going to rise under the bill that is before us, and the people who get the tax cuts are the people who aren't paying any taxes now. To pay for those tax cuts, taxes are going to rise on 40 million American families who earn under $200,000 a year.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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Mr. COBURN. I thank my colleague from Idaho.

Mr. President, the majority whip realizes there is an alternative bill. As a matter of fact, there are four alternative bills out there. They were not given a hearing. They did not have the resources. They did not have the CBO that would score them.

We have a bill that guarantees if you like what you have now, you can keep it; has absolutely zero tax increases on American families; no increases in taxes on American business; lowers the cost of everybody's health insurance premiums; covers preexisting conditions, period; protects seniors' high-quality care and choices; increases personal control over your own health care; no Medicaid expansion, but, in fact, puts Medicaid patients into true coverage without discrimination and allows all the doctors in this country to see them. It protects the physician-patient relationship and empowers patients, families, and physicians and providers. It does not empower the government. The majority whip knows that. Yet we have just heard on the floor we have not offered anything.

We have offered a bill that outside evaluators say saves the States at least $1 trillion in the first 10 years, saves the Federal Government $70 billion, treats everybody the same, creates access to health care, and, more importantly, it incentivizes prevention and the management of chronic disease and, finally, it attacks some of the $100 billion a year in fraud in Medicare and Medicaid, where this bill attacks less than $400 million a year in Medicare and Medicaid.

I yield back to the Senator.

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