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The Doctors Caucus

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Speaker, tonight the Doctors Caucus, people who are physicians, and those of us who are involved in health care on the Republican side, are going to be talking a little bit tonight about ObamaCare. We've talked about ObamaCare a lot over the last several months, and it's now law. We hear over and over again about how ObamaCare is beginning to filter out, and how it's going to affect the American people.

Our President has said, Madam Speaker, that when the American people know what's in the bill, they're going to like it. Well, to the contrary. As the American people get to know what's in the bill, they dislike it more and more, as they rightfully should, because ObamaCare is going to be extremely expensive for everyone.

It's going to be very onerous to almost everyone, except for the Federal bureaucrats who are going to be hired to put ObamaCare into place and who are going to be enforcing it. And in fact, we are even going to have to hire, I think it is 16,500 new IRS agents to enforce it. That's right, Madam Speaker, 16,500 new IRS agents just to enforce ObamaCare on small businessmen and women around this country. The more the American people discover about ObamaCare, the less they like it.

We just heard, I think it was last week, where the Congressional Budget Office said, Oops, we made a mistake. We made a mistake. We were $115 billion too little on our estimate, which puts it way over a trillion dollars. Our Democratic colleagues, their leadership--actually, it's not even all the Democrats, because there are many of them who are very reasonable over there on that side. But the leadership of the Democratic Caucus wanted to get ObamaCare and the President wanted to get ObamaCare passed, and forced the CBO through the parameters that they gave them to try to get the numbers below $1 trillion. Well, they are north of $1 trillion.

Frankly, if you look at Medicare, when CBO projected the cost of Medicare, CBO missed it, missed it terribly. And in fact, I think that's what's going to happen here too. I think ObamaCare is going to be $3 trillion, $5 trillion, maybe $10 trillion. And it's money that our children and our grandchildren are going to have to pay because we don't have the money.

In fact, we just had a lecture about hypocrisy by one of our colleagues just a moment ago, talking about saying one thing and believing another. Frankly, we are continuing to fight to stop this outrageous spending. As Republicans here, we are fighting against ObamaCare. Every single Republican voted against it. Even several Democrats, many Democrats, voted against it. The only bipartisan vote was a vote of ``no'' against ObamaCare, because it's going to be terrible. Unfortunately, it passed the House by five votes. Five votes. That's certainly not a mandate from the House.

The American people, as they study the bill, they are beginning more and more to see how bad it is. The feelings against ObamaCare have been described by one Democratic pollster as hardening against it. We need to repeal and replace ObamaCare. It's the only rational, reasonable thing to do. It's the only economically feasible thing to do.

We see colleagues on the other side talk about budget deficits. They don't care about budget deficits. They don't care about the huge debt that's created. In fact, just last week I was down here on the floor and heard several of our Democratic colleagues blame this economic woe that we have and this huge Federal debt and deficit on George Bush. Can you imagine? On George Bush. We have created more debt in the last year-and-a-half than George Bush did in 8 years. But my Democratic colleagues continue to blame George Bush.

I blame George Bush for bringing us the first tranche of the TARP bill. I voted against it. Many Republicans voted against it. I thought it was a mistake. Then the President came back, our current President, President Obama, came back and he wanted another $350-plus billion to bail out Wall Street even more. Now they are talking about a Financial Services bill to regulate Wall Street that they, the Democrat leadership in this House and the President, want to bail them out and then regulate them on the other hand.

And if the American people will look at who Wall Street gives money to, it's the Democrats. They give the Democrats and the Democratic Party a whole lot more money than they give Republicans. The best friends of big business and the best friends of Wall Street are our Democratic colleagues.

So we are here tonight to talk about spending and failed promises. I am joined in this discussion tonight with two very good friends, two great Members of the House, both freshmen. Both are physicians. We have got Dr. PHIL ROE, who is an OB/GYN from Johnson City, Tennessee, and we have got my fellow family doctor, Dr. JOHN FLEMING, from Shreveport, Louisiana, that have joined us tonight. I understand that Dr. PHIL GINGREY may join us. He is in a markup. And so is Dr. Burgess. They are both in markups in Energy and Commerce.

But now we've got three stellar Members of this U.S. House of Representatives, three stellar members of the Republican Caucus, three stellar members of the Doctors Caucus who have been leaders here. I want to thank the people of Tennessee and Louisiana for sending these two gentlemen here and being part of our conference and being part of this Congress, fighting for the interests of their constituents. I want to thank the people of Louisiana, Madam Speaker, and thank the people of Tennessee for sending Dr. PHIL ROE and Dr. JOHN FLEMING here.

So to kick this off, I will go to Dr. Phil Roe to put in his input about failed promises and the huge spending that ObamaCare, as well as the Democrats not only with ObamaCare, but with their stimulus bill. Dr. Roe, we are fixing to have another bill that our Democratic colleagues are calling a jobs bill. If they liked the first nonstimulus bill--actually, it stimulated big government. It has been an abject failure. But they want to give us another bill. They call it the extenders bill here in Congress, but the American people are going to hear it described as a jobs bill. And that is just absolutely incorrect. Thanks for joining us.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Dr. Roe, let me interrupt you briefly and reclaim my time here.

The American people understand what you are having to say about balancing budgets because they have to do that every day in their own home and businesses. My State of Georgia has to balance its budget, our State government does. Many States around this country have to balance their budgets. You had to balance the budget of the city when you were mayor of Johnson City.

We don't even have a budget. First time in history since the last budget act was passed that we're not going to even attempt, not even attempt to have a budget. So how can they constrain their spending? I guess they don't want to have any constraints or anything to try to hold them accountable.

So the American people I think, Dr. Roe, need to know that we are not going to have a budget. They don't have a budget. We're not going to have a budget in this Congress. JOHN SPRATT, who is the chairman of the Budget Committee, said, "If you can't budget, you can't govern.'' The majority leader on this side said that putting forth a budget is critical for governing. They're not governing. They're not budgeting. I just wanted to kick that in just so that our listeners tonight could understand they don't have a budget so they're not working under the constraints of a balanced budget.

I have introduced a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. There are three actually on our side that have been introduced. They are all slightly different. But all of them call for a balanced budget. But we on the Republican side want to balance our budget.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Dr. Roe. I appreciate it.

And you are exactly right. In the State of Georgia, they've just finished their session, a 40-day session. The general assembly just finished about 2 weeks ago. It took 40 legislative days, all the way to May to finish 40 legislative days, and it is because of the economic downturn and the lack of revenue. And we have a balanced budget requirement in our State constitution. So Georgia has to balance its budget, just like people have to balance their budgets, just as we should be balancing our budget here in the Federal Government.

And in doing so, people who are paid by the State--teachers, policemen, State highway patrol, as an example. Just talked to Jimmy Williamson, the police chief at University of Georgia, as a person who is employed by the State. All of these folks are being furloughed. They're being furloughed on a day-by-day basis. So they have to lose a day of work, maybe a day a month, a day periodically. They're not counted in these unemployment statistics. They're not counted in how the Department of Labor gives us all of those numbers on a monthly basis. So our administration and the leadership up here don't count those furlough days, but they're unpaid furlough days. It's hurting their salary. It's hurting families.

And it's because of this gross mismanagement of the Federal spending, this gross, outrageous spending that the Federal Government's doing that is going to put our children and our grandchildren in an economic squeeze where their standard of living is not going to be as high as ours. And ObamaCare is going to put a lot of people in a position, as you were just saying, where they can't find a doctor.

In fact, during another previous Doctors Caucus period of time of discussing things during Special Orders, I said that people may have a free health care card, Medicaid card or whatever card it is, but it will be as worthless as a Confederate dollar was after the War Between the States. And the reason for that, you just brought up, Dr. Roe, is that doctors are not going to be able to accept Medicaid and Medicare because of the rationing of care, the marked reduction of their payments from the Federal Government and doctors who are trying to take care of poor people. And the elderly today are struggling because the Federal Government pays providers--whether it's a hospital, a doctor, or a physical therapist--less money today than it costs them to provide that service.

I'll give you an example, just a number of years ago in my own practice when I was in an office. I've done house calls since 2002. So I'd go see my patients at home, and work was no longer office space. But when I was office space, Medicaid reimbursed us for the shots, immunizations for our kids, childhood immunizations, at less money than it cost to buy the serum. And then that doesn't count the cost of our nurses' time and the liability costs and the medical records costs and the syringe and the alcohol pad and these other things. Government was reimbursing us at a lower level. So I had to send all of my pediatric patients for their childhood immunizations over to the health department, and they were getting them from a government entity because I could not provide those services.

But that comes back to another thing that you said, Dr. Roe, where just before ObamaCare was passed, our President said he wanted everybody in this country in one health care pool. What does that mean to the American people? What that means is that his desire is for us to have total socialized medicine where everybody in this country is in the same pool. Everybody's health care is controlled by the Federal Government. So there are panels here in Washington, D.C., that are going to ration care, as Dr. Roe was just mentioning. It's going to tell us who can go in the hospital, who can get a treatment, what medications we can get. There's going to be a tremendous rationing of care.

Before that happens, I think, Dr. Roe, you're exactly right in that this unfunded mandate that's being forced on the States by the expansion of Medicaid rolls is going to hurt my State of Georgia that much more. They're struggling now to balance their budget. The teachers are being released from their duties and are not going to be rehired for next school year because the State of Georgia doesn't have the money to pay for Medicaid today. And it's going to be expanded. And we're going to fire all of the teachers? I hope not. We need to be paying our teachers more. We need to be doing more for our teachers.

But we're in a bind. And the Federal Government, under this leadership of this administration and the leadership of the House and the Senate, are making matters worse and worse.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Dr. Roe, just tonight I went to a meeting just before we came down for this last series of votes. In fact, I came from that meeting here to the floor of the House. And I was talking to a leader of a large transportation organization, and he told me that they've studied ObamaCare and they've decided that they're going to do exactly what you said. They're going to push all of their employees into the public exchange, which--they're just going to pay the $2,000. Just tonight I talked to a guy, just an hour and a half ago, who said that hundreds of their employees are going to be pushed into the public exchange.

This goes back to fulfill Barack Obama's promise of wanting to try to develop one pool for everybody. But he has failed in his promises because we were assured that their new law would be the answer to health care financing problems. Au, contraire. I am not good at speaking French. My wife, Niki, all the time chastises me for my not being able to speak these things and not even--she's from Indiana, so she doesn't even think I speak English.

But we see over and over again where these failed promises and this increased debt and all of the things that are going on are costing hundreds of jobs and are going to force people into government health insurance programs.

So the spending has to stop. This outrageous spending has to stop here. And unfortunately, we have failed promises by the Federal Government.

Dr. Roe is unfortunately having to leave, and I thank Dr. Roe for spending some time with us and with the American people this evening. Thank you, Dr. Roe.

I want to go to our next doctor who's here with us tonight, a good friend, great Member of Congress, Dr. JOHN FLEMING. Family doctor from the northwest corner of Louisiana. One of my favorite States. I love to go down there and go duck hunting. And they're struggling by the Federal Government's failure to deal with this outrageous economic as well as environmental disaster that's going on down there. In fact, failing--our Federal Government and this administration is failing to take care of what they're charged to do under Federal law.

In fact, STEVE SCALISE, our good friend from New Orleans, came to the floor yesterday and was talking about that. He was even chastised by one of our dear Democratic colleagues. But the Federal Government has a responsibility under Federal law on these major oil spills to get engaged in trying to deal with that. They failed to do so.

But thankfully, your district is up in the northwest corner. I know your patients miss you like my patients miss me. I am still practicing medicine, but, Dr. Fleming, thanks for joining us tonight.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Let me interrupt you a minute, Dr. Fleming, and reclaim my time, but I want to ask you a question.

Have you heard any of our Democratic colleagues say we need to move on, it's now law and we need to accept it, and we just need to go forward and it's the law of the land and, thus, we're being sore losers? We're just being nothing but soreheads because we're talking about health care still.

But it's critical the American people understand that it's not put in place completely, and the most onerous parts of ObamaCare are yet to come, and it's a few years out. So we can repeal ObamaCare. We can replace it with something that makes sense. I've already introduced one repeal and replace bill. I had introduced a bill, H.R. 3889, prior to ObamaCare passing, which was my own comprehensive health care reform bill. Comprehensive. It dealt with Medicare, helped reform Medicare so that people could continue to get Medicare and could continue getting their money back that they invested in the Federal Government through Medicare through their FICA taxes and their payroll deductions and stuff like that. And I reintroduced it as repeal ObamaCare and replace it with my H.R. 3889.

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