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Providing for Consideration of House Resolution 38, Reducing Non-Security Spending to Fiscal Year 2008 Levels or Less

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Speaker, let me say as somebody who had the privilege for 18 years to be in local government, I think those of us in the Federal Government have to understand that there are jurisdictions and priorities that we need to set.

Some people believe that it is as much a responsibility of the Federal Government to hire police officers as it is to maintain a military. I'm sorry. The constitutional line for those of us who are mayors and county chairmen recognized that we need the Federal Government to concentrate on our responsibilities--defending our borders, defending our national security. Those of us that served at local government would be able to address their issues much more appropriately and have a lot less burden.

But I really want to speak about the opportunities we have to work in a bipartisan effort. When we talk about budget reduction, rather than denying Americans the right to live in the United States unless they buy certain insurance, why aren't we talking about doing cost reductions like California has done, not exactly a right-wing legislature?

MICRA there has had such an impact on the cost of insurance on physicians that an OB/GYN in Los Angeles

pays 30 to 40 percent less for insurance than the same doctor in New York. Now, you can't tell me the cost of living is that much different, except for the fact that Sacramento has recognized that tort reform and limitations of trial lawyers' impact on health care is an essential one. If the legislature of California can agree to maintain that, why can't we work together to address those issues?

If we're talking about wanting to reduce costs, why didn't the health bill allow Americans, rather than taking away the rights to live in the country, the freedom to buy across State lines? That is well within our jurisdiction as a Federal body.

Why didn't we give freedom the answer to be able to reduce costs rather than talking about taking away the rights of Americans to live here? That is a real scary concept that we can't join on tort reform--and let's face it, the liability issue is sort of an interesting one. The Federal Government and States can actually address issues that say that somebody who is----

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Mr. BILBRAY. Let me point this out. I know this because I was at the county running a health care system and supervising the health care system for over 3 million people.

The Federal Government has special protection for physicians if they're in community clinics that we do not give to other physicians. The Federal Government accepts the situations where somebody on Medicaid has more right to sue their physician than the men and women in uniform in this country. And I challenge you to tell me how it's justifiable that, if somebody doesn't pay for their medical costs in the military, they don't get to sue their doctor, but somebody who is on welfare and public assistance, they get to sue them. Can we talk about bringing those issues together and addressing the ability for a lawyer to get into an operating room is not as important as the right or the need of physicians to be able to do their job that is so essential?

And I want to close with this. We have not been talking about health care in the last year. We've been talking about health insurance. And the crisis that's coming down this pike is that in 10 years you may be able to call the health insurance people, but you won't be able to find a doctor unless you call 1-800 and get it over the phone.

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