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I rise in opposition to this flawed health care bill.
Everyone deserves health care treatment. Everyone deserves access to health care insurance. Everyone deserves both at an affordable cost.
However, this health care bill is not the answer. It is the wrong approach--one which ignores the concerns and needs of the American people, while increasing the financial burden through excessive taxes, especially on small businesses.
It places control in the hands of government bureaucrats rather than letting Americans decide for themselves what is best for their families.
We need to promote common-sense solutions that make health care easily accessible and affordable to all Americans--solutions like preventing denial of coverage due to a pre-existing condition or ensuring that your coverage stays with you even when you change jobs.
We should eliminate health care insurance discrimination based on age or gender and encourage real competition in the health care insurance market.
We must enact reforms to prevent frivolous lawsuits so that doctors will not be forced to order unnecessary and expensive tests and procedures. This will help eliminate costly waste and inefficiency in the system. These changes, along with effective prevention, wellness, and disease management programs, will help reduce the cost of health care.
This Senate bill makes little sense for seniors. It is a fiscal time bomb for future generations, and I do not want to leave this legacy of debt to my granddaughter.
The majority was aware of the cost and impact of this bill. They should have worked in an open, bipartisan fashion. Instead, we are left with a bill killing tax increases in the middle of a terrible economic recession.
This is a bill with billions of dollars in tax increases. There is a tax on anyone who does not purchase bureaucrat-approved health insurance. There is a tax on businesses that cannot afford to provide their workers with health coverage and another tax for hiring low-wage workers.
In South Florida, the construction industry has a 27 percent industry unemployment rate yet this bill taxes those workers especially hard.
The Congressional Budget Office has stated that all of these taxes will be passed on to Americans in higher costs and rising insurance premiums.
This bill makes no effort to control the skyrocketing costs of health care. I am disappointed that we have missed an opportunity to tackle a huge problem in South Florida and in the Nation: eliminating Medicare fraud. It tries to fool the consumer by finding creative ways to hide health care costs in new taxes, mandates, and cuts.
The bill also contains over $523 billion in Medicare cuts, including over $202 billion from Medicare Advantage plans that serve tens of thousands of my constituents directly.
Medicare helps so many seniors in our community--seniors like my mother, who is 83 and suffers from Alzheimer's--live longer and healthier lives. When I see this bill taking benefits away from seniors like her, I worry tremendously.
This bill also includes cuts of millions of dollars to elderly home care; millions of dollars cut for Alzheimer's programs; and millions of dollars cut to the food-for-seniors program.
The only way to coerce passage of this bill was through special deals for special interests. The Majority has weighed the bill down with political handouts such as millions of dollars in Medicaid funding to Louisiana, known as the ``Louisiana Purchase.'' Americans are rightfully weary of the Majority playing political games with important policy initiatives.
I know that the high cost of health care is an important issue facing our nation and I am committed to making high quality, equitable and accessible health care affordable to all Americans. This bill is not the right answer to the serious issues facing our Nation and our families.
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