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Public Statements

Health Care Reform

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, with Americans now really focusing in on the health care debate, it is important to take a step back and recall where we started because somewhere along the way, Democratic leaders took their eyes off the ball.

It is a good time to remember what this reform debate was all about. The goal of this legislation, by all accounts--everyone agreed--the goal was to lower the cost of health care. This is what the President had to say. It is a direct quote:

The bill I sign--

According to the President--

must ..... slow the growth of health care costs in the long run.

That was on July 22 of this year. Yet here we are, nearly 5 months later, and the administration's own scorekeeper, the CMS Actuary--the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Actuary--says the Democratic bill will actually drive costs up, exactly the opposite of what the debate was all about in the beginning, and exactly opposed to what the President indicated on July 22, that he would not sign such a bill.

Now, remember, the purpose of reform was to lower people's insurance premiums as well. Here is what the President had to say about that, a direct quote:

I have made a solemn pledge--

Said the President--

that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as President that will ..... cut the cost of a typical family's premiums by up to $2500 a year.

That was the President campaigning for President on June 24, 2007, ``a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law ..... that will ..... cut the cost of a typical family's premiums by up to $2500 a year.''

Yet now we are being told by the administration's own nonpartisan scorekeeper--again the CMS Actuary--that new fees for drugs, devices, and insurance plans will drive up insurance premiums.

The purpose of reform was also to ease the burden on taxpayers. Here is what the President had to say about that:

No family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.

That was the President on September 12, 2008: ``No family''--not a one--``no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.''

Yet now we are told by the independent analysts, such as the Joint Committee on Taxation, that taxes will actually go up on those same taxpayers, those making under $250,000 a year.

People who like the plans they have were told they would be able to keep them. Here is what the President had to say about that:

If you like your current plan--

``If you like your current plan''--

you will be able to keep it.

Then he said:

Let me repeat that: If you like your plan, you'll be able to keep it.

That was July 21, 2009, just this summer. Yet now we are told by the independent analysts, such as the Congressional Budget Office, that millions of Americans will lose their employer-based coverage and that millions of seniors will see their extra benefits cut by about half.

Americans are looking at this, and they are truly outraged. The American people are outraged at what is happening. They cannot understand what we are doing. The latest CNN poll says 61 percent of Americans oppose this bill; 61 percent of the American people are saying don't pass this bill.

This bill is completely out of touch with the American public. Think about it: 1 out of 10 working Americans is looking for a job, and Democratic leaders in Washington want to spend $2.5 trillion on a bill that makes existing problems worse. Mr. President, 1 out of 10 Americans is out of work, and yet the majority seeks to pass a bill that makes the existing problems worse. Yet Democratic leaders in Washington are still insisting that we pass this bill.

Even as opposition grows, supporters of the bill are drafting plans and cutting deals to make this bill the law of the land by Christmas--ignoring the wishes of the American people, off in a room somewhere, cutting plans and making deals, trying to figure out some way to jam the American people when they are asking us, overwhelmingly: Please don't pass this bill.

You get the impression that the supporters of this bill think it is about them, about them and their legacies. Well, this is not about them. This is about the American people. This is not about making history. This is about doing the right thing for every single American's health care.

Americans have a message: Higher premiums, higher taxes, higher health care costs are not what they signed up for. This is not what they were promised. This is not reform. Yes, doing nothing is not an option, but making current problems worse is worse.


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