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Public Statements

Health Care And Education Reconciliation Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. CHAMBLISS. I thank the Senator, from New Hampshire. Let me reiterate what just came out of this dialog and colloquy between the Senator from Montana and the Senator from Arizona. That is this. CBO has said this is going to be a deficit saver, a deficit reducer, and the President is going around the country talking about the fact that this bill is going to reduce the deficit.

What the President is not going to say but what the Senator from Montana just agreed to, is the fact that our physicians who are due a 21-percent decrease in Medicare reimbursement payments are not, in fact, going to have that 21-percent reduction. That decrease was included in this bill to make it appear more deficit-neutral over the first 10 years. When you factor that in, this not only does not reduce the deficit, but it adds to the deficit an additional $281 billion difference in what the number of the CBO says we are going to reduce the deficit by.

You know very clearly we are going to add to the deficit when we pass this bill because the Senator from Montana is right, we are not going to see that 21-percent reduction. I suspect that the $523 billion in Medicare cuts that are provided for in this bill, that are scheduled to take effect in future years, may not ever happen. If that is the case, then not only are we looking at an additional cost of that $523 billion, the $281 billion for the SGR fix or the doctors fix, but we are looking at increasing the deficit to fund a domestic program in a future way.

One thing the CBO does say is, this bill provides an additional $569.2 billion in new taxes, new taxes on the American people, particularly the small business community that is hit the hardest by this.

The American people have made it very clear: They do not want these bills to become law. Two new polls by CBS and CNN show that only 20 percent of Americans believe this legislation will benefit them and their families. Still, the majority party has chosen to push these unpopular proposals through.

My constituents in Georgia have reached out in record numbers to register their opposition to President Obama's plan.

Why? For starters, because this is an unprecedented government involvement in an industry that constitutes one-sixth of the Nation's economy. If we get it wrong, if we overreach, our fragile economy will suffer and a recovery will lag, perhaps for years.

This bill also does something very un-American: It would penalize individuals for not purchasing health insurance. Today, we have seen 13 State attorneys general file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of fining Americans for not purchasing insurance.

The bill that passed the Senate and was signed by the president is filled with backroom deal-making, partisan arm-twisting and special carve-outs for some of my wavering colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

Now, instead of working together on a bill that would be more palatable to all Americans, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have decided to push forward in the face of united opposition.

The Governor of Georgia recently expressed concern regarding the unfunded mandates in this legislation. Our State faces an additional billion dollars or more of Medicaid spending per year.

These new costs that will be absorbed by the State will require further tax hikes on Georgians or cuts to public safety, education and other core State government services.

The bill that was just signed contains $518.5 billion in gross tax increases. It cuts Medicare by $465 billion--and, more importantly--does nothing to bend the health care cost curve down.

With Medicare on the verge of insolvency, this bill takes money from the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund to pay for unrelated entitlement spending.

Under this new plan, new Federal taxes on Americans start immediately. But full benefits won't take effect until 2014. The bill raises $60 billion in taxes before any of the major benefits go into effect.

Looking at the years 2013-2024, the 10-year period after the law is fully implemented, the overall cost is estimated to be $2.6 trillion.

Some of these numbers are so large that its tough to get your head around them. But rest assured that they will detrimentally impact Americans and our economy.

There is also substantial evidence that this new law will hurt small businesses.

The bill imposes $493 billion in new taxes that will fall disproportionately on the backs of small-business owners.

A $54 billion increase in the Medicare payroll tax will hit approximately one-third of the small-business owners across the country.

A $60 billion tax on insurers means small businesses that manage to provide health insurance coverage for their employees will see this tax passed on to them, increasing premiums.

The CLASS Act portion of the new law appears to make it less costly because, as the CBO said, ``the program would pay out far less in benefits than it would receive in premiums over the 10-year budget window,'' raising $70 billion in premiums that will fund benefits outside the window. Outlays in later years will increase significantly.

And the legislation just signed into law is still filled with the sweetheart deals that have so angered Americans.

That includes the Cornhusker Kickback, in which the Federal Government pays the entire tab of Nebraska's Medicaid expansion.

It also includes the Louisiana Purchase, in which the Federal Government pays an extra $300 million in Medicaid dollars to the State of Louisiana.

And it still has the Gator Aid Florida Medicare Advantage grandfather clause to protect certain areas of Florida from Medicare Advantage cuts that all other seniors in America will face.

Meanwhile, the 176,000 seniors in Georgia who rely on Medicare Advantage to supplement the gaps in traditional Medicare will see their benefits cut by $33 each month.

The new law significantly raises taxes, cuts benefits for seniors, adds to the Federal deficit and allows the government to make decisions that should be between a patient and his doctor.

The reconciliation bill--optimistically deemed a ``fix-it'' bill--is actually a ``make-it-worse'' bill.

The legislation before us today raises taxes by an additional $50 billion more than the Senate bill. That is an overall tax increase of $569.2 billion.

The reconciliation bill nearly doubles the tax on health insurers beginning in 2014, and also raises taxes and fees on drugmakers and medical devices. The Congressional Budget Office has specifically stated that these taxes will be passed on to all Americans in the form of higher health costs and rising insurance premiums.

The reconciliation bill raises another $66.1 billion from Medicare Advantage, bringing total Medicare cuts in both bills to $523 billion.

And it forces an additional 1 million individuals into Medicaid on top of the 15 million already added to Medicaid in the Senate bill. That means 16 million of the 32 million newly insured individuals would obtain that coverage through Medicaid--a program President Obama admitted already suffers from serious access problems.

It also increases penalties for businesses that don't offer health insurance and have at least one employee receiving a subsidy in the exchange from $750 per full-time employee to $2,000 per full-time employee.

And, among other things, it penalizes many Americans with higher incomes from rent, interest, royalties and individuals by forcing an almost 4 percent Medicare tax on their investment income.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill is going to cost $940 billion over 10 years.

We are burdening our children and grandchildren--generations of America's future--by creating a behemoth new government entitlement program.

And in the same week of its creation, we turned around and immediately added to this new program almost $1 trillion more.

The American people are asking a simple question: Where does the spending end?

Also, I wish to talk about a specific provision that is going to have an immediate, direct impact on my taxpayers in Georgia; that is, with the increase in the threshold to qualify for Medicaid going from 100 percent to 133 percent, in my State, according to our Governor--and he has run the numbers--that is going to cost the taxpayers of Georgia, in addition to their share of this $569.2 billion in additional taxes, an additional $1 billion per year that Georgia taxpayers are going to have to pay.

We are in difficult times in my State, as all 50 States are right now. That is a new provision, a new tax.

I ask unanimous consent that a statement from the Governor of Georgia, the Honorable Sonny Perdue, be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD

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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Let me say that within the last 48 hours we have discovered that the agency that is going to be administering the new health care reform bill the President signed into law is none other than the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service has said that in order to review the tax returns of every taxpayer in America to ensure that they have complied with the law and bought insurance or had insurance taken out through their employer, they are going to have to have an additional 16,500 Internal Revenue Service Agents at a cost of an additional $10 billion to the taxpayers. That $10 billion is not factored in here in anyway.

We are dealing with a piece of legislation that the American public has shown, over and over in every poll taken, whether it is by a Democratic pollster, Republican pollster or an independent pollster, that they do not want. We are going to force that bill down on the American people and that is wrong, that is not the way this body and the body across the Capitol should be working with respect to the best interests of the American people.

I urge my colleagues at the appropriate time during the vote on the amendments this afternoon and tonight to repeal this bill and let us replace it with a true, meaningful health care reform bill that we can all agree on. There are a lot of provisions in those 2,700 pages plus, the length of this so-called fix-it bill that we can agree on, that we can replace this bill with, that will provide the American people with true, meaningful health care reform that they need and deserve.

We will not see all of these huge increases in taxes, we will not see all of these huge reductions in Medicare benefits, and we can do the will of the people in the right and appropriate way.

I yield the floor.

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