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Public Statements

Tennessee's Economy and Health Savings Accounts

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


TENNESSEE'S ECONOMY AND HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS -- (House of Representatives - September 21, 2004)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, virtually every day John Kerry and his campaign are telling America that our best days are not ahead, that our economy is not growing, and that President Bush has not waged a tough war on terrorism. Fortunately, most Americans, as we hear when we are out in our districts, as we see in the polls, most Americans are seeing through Candidate Kerry's empty rhetoric.

For the past several months, our economy has shown strong growth. I have here with me tonight an article from the National Tennessean. It is headlined "Nashville area added 11,308 in fiscal year 2003-2004." The article notes that these 11,308 jobs are five times last year's total. Mr. Kerry may not want people to know, but this is an indication of real economic growth and what is happening out there in the heartland.

No matter what John Kerry or CBS might tell us, President Bush and this Congress are making the right decisions for our economy and for the war on terrorism.

Another subject that has been getting a great deal of attention from the left is health care, specifically the Health Savings Accounts that were created last year by this body. And for months Kerry and the Democrats have been calling choice, flexibility, and ownership in health care a bad idea. But they are absolutely wrong. The Health Savings Accounts are all about giving the consumer power over their health coverage, over health decisions, and over those precious health care dollars.

Republicans do not favor a one-size-fits-all universal health care system. We understand what a one-size-fits-all system does. We know that that would mean universally poor care that leaves consumers basically with no power and no rights in the management of their own health coverage and their own health decisions.

Outside the Beltway, people are excited about Health Savings Accounts, personal health accounts. This editorial from the National Business Journal is titled "Health Savings Plans Can Help Business." This recognizes that small businesses will be able to offer health care to employees in a way that reduces paperwork and empowers the employee. As the editorial states: "This is part of an ownership society," something that we are hearing the President talk about daily. An ownership society. What this means is more health care coverage, more options, more power for consumers in those personal health accounts, and we think that that is a very good idea.

In another article that I have, this time from the Memphis Business Journal, the other end of my district, it has said that the new health care items, this is what is "getting the enthusiasm," is the health savings accounts. And why? Because they function like a health care IRA, giving consumers ownership over a tax-free account. What a great idea.

Mr. Speaker, regardless of what Candidate Kerry and the liberal left would tell us, it is clear that Americans are increasingly aware of what President Bush and the Congress have done to reinvigorate our economy, to expand health care options, and to win the war on terror. Faced with the horrific attacks on America, a trillion dollar hit to our economy, and a preexisting recession, the Bush administration and this Republican Congress have made significant strides in the right direction. And that is something we are looking forward to continuing in the year ahead.

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