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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentleman from Kentucky for his leadership on this bill.
Mr. Chairman, it is so interesting to me. We had a 2,700-page health care bill that basically was a government takeover of health care. What we have heard from so many people in this country is gosh, you know, I wish somebody would have read that bill before they passed it. And the former Speaker said we need to pass the bill, and then we can read it and find out what is in it.
One of the things that many of the people did not like that was in that bill was many of these mandatory provisions that were put in place, programs that had been on the books for years that were discretionary programs that all of a sudden became mandatory. And the confusing thing, Mr. Chairman, is there didn't seem to be any consistency. As the subcommittee chairman who spoke before me had said, Mr. Pitts had said, you know, you don't tend to children's hospitals in the same way, you don't tend to nurses and technicians in the same way. But here was this conversion from discretionary to mandatory for teaching hospitals, a total of $230 million, over $40 million a year.
Now, it doesn't matter if you need the money or not. It doesn't matter if you know exactly where you are going to use it or not. The money is going to be appropriated. It's put on autopilot. Doesn't matter what we say is going to happen with the government, if we need to reduce it. They're going to get that money. That is why this bill is so important.
You will notice, Mr. Chairman, that 2,700-page bill, we are able to delete $230 million of that appropriation, mandatory appropriation with a bill that basically is about 2 pages long. What we do in this 2 pages is responsibly address what the American people want to see us address. They know that the Federal mandates are costing private sector jobs. They know that the Federal Government coming in and taking over health care is costing private sector health care jobs. Indeed, we have study after study that is saying we have already lost over a million jobs.
It seems like every time we turn around, whether it is our health care delivery systems, whether it is our hospitals, whether it is our physicians' offices, we are hearing about the loss of jobs to health care providers and in the health care sector because of the passage of PPACA, or ObamaCare, as many people in our country refer to the bill.
One of the reasons we have to go about repealing these slush funds, Mr. Chairman, is because we simply can't afford this. Every second of every day, every single second of every single day we are borrowing $40,000. We are borrowing 41 cents of every single dollar that we spend. This government is so overspent, we are spending money we don't have for programs that our constituents don't want. And instead of eliminating, what we are saying is, look, let's eliminate a mandatory program and turn it back to what it was for years, discretionary, so that Members of this body bring their discretion to bear on the issues of the day and bring the opinions of their constituents to bear on how this Chamber spends the taxpayers' money.
Mr. Chairman, it is not Federal money; it is the taxpayers' money. This government is overspent. We cannot afford all these Federal mandates. It is time to move these programs back to the discretion of this Chamber.
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