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Mr. FLEMING. I thank the gentleman, Dr. Benishek. That was an unexpected recognition there. I thank you, sir, for that.
I'm just going to give a brief top-level overview of where we started with health care in this Nation and why we are here today.
I have to take you back to post-World War II, where we began to have the indication of a crisis protection form of insurance; that is, insurance that is there just to keep the family from going bankrupt over medical bills. That seemed to be well received.
Over time, it became obvious that there were other people, the people who were poor, people who were elderly, who could not get coverage in the normal marketplace of insurance. As a result, Congress in the mid-1960s, created Medicaid, health care coverage for the poor, and Medicare, health care coverage for those who are 65 and over.
That was all well and good; however, this was the first real foray of the government managing health care, that is, the financing of health care. The promises were great to the doctors to get them to go along with it. The promises were great to the patients. It has rocked along for a while pretty well.
People who receive Medicare benefits enjoy them. The problem is that we know in government that the cost has risen and risen and risen, and now what we have is a situation where Americans who are on Medicare enjoy very good health care benefits, but the explosion in cost and the pressure it is putting on the rest of the health care system is becoming unsustainable. In fact, if left alone, Medicare will totally displace all discretionary spending in the government today; therefore, something has to be done about it.
We got about halfway through government-run health care, and our friends on the other side of the aisle have had this vision for many years of having government totally control health care for everyone. They attempted to do that with the passage of ObamaCare, which took us, I would say, to about 95 percent complete government control of health care.
What was the promise? The promise was that your insurance rates would go down, your coverage would go up, that your choices would go up, and things would be fine and dandy.
What have we found thus far? And it hasn't even been nearly fully implemented. That is that the cost of insurance premiums have gone up.
We now have a board called IPAB, which is 15 bureaucrats who will be appointed by the President, not necessarily health care workers. Everything that may affect you in your life with regard to health care may well rest in the hands of this 15, even usurping Congress itself when it comes to decisions such as what doctors you can see, what it will cost you, and certainly what the health care system itself will be paid.
What I would submit to you tonight is that any time government runs a system of economy--which certainly it has done in education, and we see the failures in secondary and primary education there, and now in health care--that costs skyrocket. They become very inefficient and they become unsustainable.
Remember that when it comes to Medicare that, for every $1 that a recipient puts into the system in the way of premiums, they get $3 in benefits.
That means that even the very wealthy--even the Warren Buffetts of the world--actually get subsidized health care. We just simply can't afford it. We'd love for our recipients--our voters--to get this, but we can't afford it. So now what do we have? We have ObamaCare, which is a fixed top of Medicare and Medicaid, and we have nearly a 100 percent government-run system.
You just heard my colleague from Georgia talk about the fact that one of the ways to fund it is by this CLASS Act, which is long-term health care. It's unsustainable. It will collapse. Actuaries tell us it's not going to work, so we're in the process of repealing it. We know that there is an amazing number of taxes that go with this--a tax on the sale of your home as an investment--and many other pieces. Another big piece toward funding it is by taking out a half a trillion dollars from Medicare, which only makes Medicare go out of business even faster. Right now, we're looking at about 10 years for that to happen; and our friends on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats, have no solution for that whatsoever.
So I would say, Mr. Speaker, that we have gone from the frying pan into the fire when it comes to health care by way of government. There are those who say, Well then, what is your solution? Mr. Speaker, our solution is very simple. Our solution is: Let's re-invoke the marketplace, the forces of the market--economic freedom and patient choice--back into the system, and let's get government out.
Government has a role. Government's role is to protect its citizens and to ensure there is an even playing field. Yet we know that no way will costs go down in any open economy, in any free economy, unless there is robust competition. But we do not have that today, not among insurance companies, not among large, vertically integrated governmental systems. It's not there--it never will be--and we will continue to have waste. No matter what any politician says that he's going to do to get rid of fraud, waste, and abuse in the system, he is incapable of doing that. Only a free market can do that.
I will refer you back to Paul Ryan's budget, which actually gives Medicare recipients a free market choice, which is the same kind of choice that we in Congress have today. That is: We can go to a Web site or we can go to a book, and we can choose from one of hundreds of excellent health care systems out there by which we can be covered.
Why can't Medicare recipients and why can't Medicaid recipients have exactly the same thing? Why can't we tear down the State walls that exist that make, in most cases, one insurance company totally control the market in an entire State? Why can't we do this?
The answer is: This body right here has not allowed that to happen.
Mr. Speaker, that is what I submit to you this evening: Should we repeal ObamaCare?
I am convinced now that we will; that perhaps it will be H.R. 1 in 2013, the full repeal of ObamaCare; that we will quickly replace it with piecemeal pieces of legislation that do many things, including reforming liability insurance, re-invoking the free marketplace, patient choice; and that we will get on with making this a much more efficient system, one that is much more user friendly and one that we can all be proud of.
I thank the gentleman, and I thank my fellow physicians in the GOP Doctors Caucus. It is always an honor to serve with these ladies and gentlemen. It's not only physicians, but nurses and other types of health care workers. There are truly great things that are happening in this body.
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