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Public Statements

FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to repeal this highly unpopular health care law. Here is what repealing this health care bill will mean to Georgians.

First of all, the Federal Government will not be required to spend $8,470 on health care for every single Georgian every year; 176,000 Georgia seniors who are today enrolled in Medicare Advantage will not have their benefits reduced; and the $500 billion in Medicare cuts will not be used to pay for new programs under this law; around 2.1 million Georgia households making less than $200,000 will not have to pay higher taxes to fund this monstrous bill; 70 percent of small employer purchasers will not face higher premiums; small businesses employing 50 or more people and 8,000 Georgia construction companies with five or more employees will not have to pay higher health care costs or be subjected to new penalties due to government mandates.

Under this law, hundreds of thousands of additional low-income Georgians will become eligible for Medicaid in 2014. That is going to result in an estimated $1 billion in new expenses for my State to fund that program. How are we going to fund that $1 billion? We are a State that has to have a balanced budget every year, and we are struggling right now. Our Governor and the legislature are making tough and hard decisions cutting expenses to balance the budget this year.

Under this bill, they are going to have to come up with another $1 billion. They are going to have to raise taxes, raise tuition costs at our universities. Where are we going to get it? We do not know the answer to that, but that is what this bill would require.

While States work to prepare balanced budgets in anticipation of Medicaid expansion, they will not be given the flexibility to make prudent market-based decisions to improve their fiscal outlook.

The Governor of Georgia has put forward proposals such as ending Medicaid coverage of dental, vision, and podiatry treatment for adults. These are painful decisions that States are being forced to make, but the health care law requires States to maintain eligibility levels for beneficiaries in order to keep their Federal Medicaid dollars.

Reimbursement from Medicaid is already so low that a majority of doctors will not see Medicaid patients. States are left with little options other than further reducing payments to providers or raising copayments for beneficiaries.

The Federal Government should not be hindering States' flexibility in dealing with their individual budget issues. This is not an area where the Federal Government should be impeding on the sovereignty of our States.

America's deficit is the single biggest issue facing our country today. Repealing the health care bill means that our deficit will not increase by an estimated $2.6 trillion when this bill is fully implemented over a 10-year period, and it would also prevent that same $500 million in cuts coming from Medicare to pay for entitlements that would do nothing but exacerbate our budgetary woes.

My constituents in Georgia, and citizens all across this country, have made it clear that they want Congress to repeal this legislation and work to lower health care costs and insure Americans through commonsense solutions that are not negotiated behind closed doors. We need a law that replaces this law and that actually reduces health care costs and enacts insurance reforms immediately.

Americans should be allowed to buy insurance policies across State lines; small businesses should be allowed to pool resources and offer more affordable insurance to workers; we need to limit baseless lawsuits against doctors; and we should expand health savings accounts.

Furthermore, in light of recent judicial decisions in Virginia and Florida, it appears the law may not be upheld in the courts. I applaud the decisions reached by Judge Hudson and Judge Vinson that Congress does not have the authority to force Americans to either purchase health insurance or pay a penalty for not doing so. That provision of law, obviously, is ultimately going to be decided by the Supreme Court.

I plan to vote on repealing this law and working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to start the process over, to make sure the next time we do it in the open and not behind closed doors and that we get it right.

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