GOP Doctors Caucus

Floor Speech

By:  Paul Broun
Date: July 25, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Dr. Gingrey. I appreciate you yielding a few minutes.

I wanted to kind of break all this down so that the American people could understand very clearly what we're talking about tonight. I've got a little poster here that shows President Obama's and the Democrats' Medicare solution.

This is their Medicare plan. They deny the problem. They deny the problem that the gentleman from Georgia was just talking about with this huge, huge problem, where Medicare is going to go broke in a matter of just a decade. They want to delay any fixes. In fact, Medicare as we know it today exists no longer. ObamaCare took care of that. And they want to destroy it. They will destroy it by letting it go broke.

So this is the Democrat Party's health care plan: Deny It, Delay It, and Destroy It by letting it go broke.

Just recently, one of the government accounting groups released something that should scare every senior, every taxpayer, and every American.

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They said that Medicare, within the next couple of decades--that's a lot of zeroes in this; 63 and a lot of zeros. This is the unfunded liability of Medicare over just the next several decades.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. If the gentleman will yield, that would be $63 trillion, if I'm not mistaken.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Well, I just tried to make it so that the zeroes didn't confuse folks. The unfunded liability for Medicare is $63 trillion. This is unsustainable. There's no way to take care of this.

We need to shore up Medicare. We need to make sure that it's strengthened so that our future generations, not only the senior citizens today, can continue to get Medicare, but the future generations also.

Now, what does $63 trillion of unfunded liabilities mean to everybody in this country? I mean, that's too big a number for everybody to really consider. So I broke it down to every family in the United States. Every family's part of this $63 trillion of unfunded liabilities for Medicare, as it exists today, is over $500,000 per family, $500,000 per family of unfunded liabilities for Medicare just in the next several decades.

Now, I don't know about most families, but my family can't afford to pay $500,000 and neither can the government.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I've got a poster that points out just exactly what the gentleman from Georgia, Dr. Broun, is saying.

If you look, colleagues, at the bottom of this poster, CBO estimates individual and corporate income tax rates would have to rise by 90 percent through the year 2050 to finance Medicare and Medicaid. And if Medicare is not fixed, millions of workers today will lose the money that they have invested. And, indeed, they have invested with that payroll tax over those many years of their employment.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Dr. Gingrey. What the American people need to understand is that we need to strengthen Medicare and Social Security for future generations.

This picture right here is a picture of my two grandchildren, Tillman and Cile Surratt. I love these two kids greatly. They won't see Medicare, and they're going to see an America that's quite different from the one that we see today if we don't make some major changes, major changes in Medicare and Social Security. If we don't shrink them and make them economically viable for my grandchildren, that are 6 and 7, my grandchildren won't see Medicare. They won't see Social Security. And, in fact, people who are 45 or 50 today won't see Social Security or Medicare if we don't strengthen them, if we don't do the necessary hard work of bringing about those changes to strengthening Medicare and Social Security to make them economically viable.

I hear our Democrat colleagues all the time talk about it's the children. I've heard our former Speaker talk about it's about the children so much that I wanted to throw up.

But the thing is, when you talk about it's the children and their future, we've got to deal with this debt. We've got to deal with Social Security and Medicare and make them economically viable by strengthening them, by making them so that they're still available when my kids get grown.

And we're going down a road right now--this President and the Democrats in the Senate and the Democrats here in the House have a three-word plan. Their plan is a three-word plan for Social Security and Medicare: deny the problem. They're denying it. They're delaying doing anything about it. And they're going to destroy it, because both Medicare and Social Security are going broke if we don't strengthen it, if we don't make it economically viable, if we don't do the necessary hard work that this Congress and Republicans are trying to do.

But what do we hear from our colleagues on the other side? Demagoguery and trying to play politics. It's time to stop the politics. It's time to stop playing games.

The American people deserve the truth. No more accounting gimmicks. No more playing with numbers. No more double talk, political speak.

This is the Democrats' plan--deny it, delay it, destroy it--for Medicare, Social Security and this country economically. We've got to change it, and that's what Republicans are working very hard to do.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman very much. And while we're on the "D'' word, if you will, deny, delay, demagogue, I'll use another, D word, and it's really the softest thing I can say about the Democrats' plan, and that is disingenuous.

For them to stand up, or for the President to stand up and say that he's going to fix Medicare, at the same time, Dr. Roe talked about this earlier in the evening, I'm going to refer back to him in just a few minutes, but at the same time, in the creation of a whole new entitlement program in March of last year, we know it as ObamaCare. Officially, I guess I should say, it's called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I think it's the unaffordable care act in that it cost $1 trillion.

But where did the money come from to pay for this new entitlement program that really has nothing to do with seniors?

Well, my colleagues, look at this poster to my left, your right. Here's where at least half of the money came from. Cutting Medicare, cutting Medicare by $575 billion. I mean, right out of the Medicare program. That included home health care; it included Hospice. But the biggest cut was $130 billion, that's bullet point No. 2, $130 billion from the Medicare Advantage plans. And my colleagues know this, and I'm sure they'll want to comment on it, of the 47 million people, 45, 47 million people today who are on Medicare, about seven to 10 million of them receive their medical care on the Medicare Advantage option, which gives them more benefits, more bang for the buck; and it covers a lot of preventive services that are not given, not offered in

traditional Medicare as we know it.

So that cut, $130 billion, that's something like a 14 percent cut out of that program. That means that at least half of these seniors are going to have to go back into Medicare as we know it and get a lesser benefit.

In fact, it's been said by the actuary of Medicare, Richard Foster, on April 22, 2010, that 15 percent of hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care providers will close because Medicare pays less under ObamaCare.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I want to yield just briefly again to the gentleman from Georgia before I yield some additional time to my colleague, our cochair of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I thank you for yielding just a moment to me because I want to add to that statistic; 15 percent of hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care will close because Medicare pays less under ObamaCare. That's absolutely true. A lot of those hospitals are going to be in rural communities because rural communities are going to be hit the hardest.

Right now I'm a primary care doctor. As the gentleman knows, I'm a family doctor. I've done general medicine for almost 40 years now.

The American Academy of Family Physicians said right now, today, one in eight family docs will not accept Medicare at all. Only one in three doctors, according to the American Medical Association limits how many Medicare patients that they take.

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That is a marked rise. Back in 2004, only 6 percent of all doctors limited their Medicare patients. In 2008, it went up to 8 percent. Now it's almost one-third limit the amount of Medicare patients that they see. And one in eight family docs don't take Medicare at all; they can't afford to because of the low reimbursement rates. And IPAB is going to hit those folks that much harder.

During our Special Order when we were discussing ObamaCare I made a comment that somebody may have a free health care card in their pocket, but it's going to be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between the States because nobody will take it, and that's exactly where we are headed. So I just wanted to add that.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Dr. Gingrey. I would certainly like the time.

The American people need to understand that the purpose of ObamaCare, the bottom line really was expressed by the President himself when he said he wanted everybody in this country in one pool. What's that mean for everybody? It means socialized medicine. That's what all IPAB and all these cuts and everything is geared to do is to force doctors out of private practice, make them employees of the Federal Government, make patients subject to some bureaucrat here in Washington and tell them what kind of health care they can get.

And the Democrats' plan is to deny, to delay, and to destroy Medicare by letting it go broke. But I want to just add, Dr. Gingrey, to your other "d,'' the demagoguery that we see. I want to give three examples because the facts have really been, by and large, hidden from the

American people.

AARP did an ad, a new one, talking about all the places where the Feds could cut spending, like treadmills for shrimp--well, I certainly want to cut that out--but instead, Republicans insist on cutting seniors' Medicare. Well, that's not true. AARP and the Democrats want to cut Medicare by destroying it, letting it go broke.

An ad put out by the Gender Project, a liberal nonprofit group, shows an elderly woman being heaved off the side of a cliff, with her being in a wheelchair, and asks: Is America beautiful without Medicare? Ask Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress.

That is nothing but bald-faced lies, because we are trying to make sure that seniors get, as Dr. Roe said, a promise made, a promise kept. We want to shore up Medicare and Social Security. We want to strengthen Medicare, not destroy it, like the Democrats are going to do.

Let me give you a third example, then I will yield back.

On the Republican budget, President Obama said in his speech at George Washington University just last month: "Instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. If that voucher isn't worth enough to buy the insurance that is available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck. You're on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.'' President Obama.

It's demagoguery. It's lies, bald-faced lies designed to try to scare the American people, particularly senior citizens. We are trying to shore up Medicare. We are trying to strengthen Medicare. We are trying to save Medicare from going broke. But the Reid-Pelosi-Obama ObamaCare is to deny it, to delay it, to destroy it, and to demagogue it.

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