Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the debate over health care has been going on for a long time now. It is easy to lose sight of where we started, so I would just like to remind people today of what this debate was supposed to be about.
It was supposed to be about cost. This debate was supposed to be about bringing the cost of health care down, about keeping health care costs from bankrupting families and government. So if you are looking for a reason as to why Americans overwhelmingly oppose this bill and why Democrats are having such a hard time rounding up votes within their own party for this bill, it is because no one believes this bill will lower the cost of health care. It is that simple.
When you hear people talk about the cost of health care, they usually are referring to three things: the overall health care expenses Americans will have to shoulder if this bill passes, overall spending by the Federal Government on health care if this bill passes, and the amount of money people will have to spend on health insurance premiums if this bill passes. On all three counts, the bill the White House and its allies in Congress want us to vote for would drive costs up actually. The administration's own scorekeeper at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says overall health spending will go up by more than $200 billion under this bill--overall health care spending up $200 billion under this bill, according to the administration. The independent Congressional Budget Office says Federal spending on health care will increase by about $200 billion over the next 10 years. CBO also says health insurance premiums for millions of Americans across the country will go up 10 to 13 percent as a result of all the new government mandates contained in this bill--and continue to rise at the current unsustainable rate for nearly everyone else, despite more than $2 trillion in new government spending.
Another thing Americans are rightly concerned about is the debt. It is completely out of control. Some say this bill lowers the debt, but let me remind my colleagues that the extenders bill we will be voting on today--the bill we will be voting on today--will add more to the debt than even the White House claims its health spending bill will save. Let me say that again. The bill we are going to pass today, the extenders bill, will add more to the debt--will add more to the debt--than even the White House claims its health spending bill will save.
So if cost is what you are concerned about, then you cannot vote for this bill. It is that simple. Americans have it figured out, and that is why they are asking themselves why anyone in Congress would even think about voting for this bill. This should not even be a tough call.
Let's start over and work together on a step-by-step solutions process that focuses on cost, that actually lowers costs, not the other way around. Let's put together a bill Americans will support.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.