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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. MOORE. Mr. Chair, health care costs are a crisis in every American family. Every family is one surgery, one heart attack, one cancer diagnosis, one aging spouse away from financial ruin. But health care costs are also a crisis for business, both small and large.

General Motors pays more for health care than for steel. That is why the Affordable Care Act is needed, to bend the health care cost curve downward for all American health care consumers.

Americans, including those who are consumers of Medicare and Medicaid, simply cannot afford the insurance and drug companies' runaway profits.

These companies are reaping record-breaking profits. In 2009, while we were debating the bill, the Nation's five largest for-profit health insurance companies saw a combined profit of $12.2 billion, and that's just for five companies.

Their executives did well, too. The top execs at these companies pulled in almost $200 million in compensation. At the same time, there were double-digit premium increases.

So no matter where you get your health care, through Medicare, Medicaid, your employers's policy, wherever you get it, you can't afford that kind of rate increase year after year.

These rates are going up faster than any other part of the family budget. For many people, these costs are crowding out housing and other basic needs.

In 2009, the top 10 pharmaceutical companies made over $60 billion in profits, and the profit margin in this industry is out of control. In 2007, profits ranged as high as 36 percent.

The health care reform law also curbed some of these outrageous profits of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Yes, Medicare and Medicaid are large portions of our Federal budget, but we can only rein in their costs if we fully implement the Affordable Care Act and tackle outrageous profiteering in health care--something the Republican budget refuses to do.

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Ms. MOORE. The Congressional Black Caucus, the conscience of the Congress, rejects cuts that wage war on the poor and war on the working class. There are 43 of us from 21 States, and we represent over 30 million people. We are aggrieved that two-thirds of the Republican budget cuts come from programs that serve low-income and working class people while there is no sacrifice from the uber-wealthy class.

It is our job to be a voice in the wilderness and to point out that it is downright immoral to choose tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and billions of dollars of tax breaks and tax subsidies rather than preserving the dignity of a life with decent housing, food security, and access to health care for all Americans.

The gentleman who spoke previously just pointed out that they're cutting welfare because they believe that people need self-esteem. Well, you cannot eat self-esteem, and you cannot live in a house built on self-esteem. We want you to know that half of all Americans in this country are barely making it without any governmental support, and they need Medicaid. They don't need you to block grant it. ``Block granting'' means a cut. ``Block granting food stamps'' means a cut. Privatizing Medicare is a cut. Inflicting deep cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and denying extended benefits to the unemployed is a cut.

Yet the Congressional Black Caucus prioritizes controlling the debt and deficit. We cut it by $4 trillion over 10 years. We, the CBC, submit that conservative fiscal policy is compatible with compassion for the invisible, voiceless majority of Americans who need their government to respond.

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