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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, there's been an understanding in our country for a very long time that if you work as hard as you can your whole life and you follow the rules, that one of the things that you'll get as part of this American Dream is a secure retirement; that you ought to be able to spend the years after you work loving your grandchildren, pursuing your hobbies, doing the things in life that you love and enjoy.

Essential to that part of the American Dream is the Medicare guarantee, because here's what it really says. If you get sick and you need help, you get the help that you need as determined by you and your doctor and your family, and you pay your fair share in premiums and copays, but there's no insurance bureaucracy to run through. There's no approval you've got to get. If your cardiologist says you need a certain procedure and you think that you want to do it, you do it, and Medicare pays the bill.

This is a guarantee, and the reason it's needed is that you can't make a whole lot of profit off of insuring older and sicker people. So since 1965, this Medicare guarantee has been a part of the promise that we've made to American seniors.

This budget violates that promise because what it says is a substantial number of people, beginning with those under 55, will not be in Medicare. They'll be in a system run by the insurance companies of this country, and the decision will shift from people and their doctors to insurance companies.

Now, the other side will say, Well, it's going to be voluntary. Well, here's what, in all likelihood, is going to happen. The wealthier, healthier people will sign up for the voluntary system, and the poorer, older, sicker people will stay in regular Medicare. The resources will diminish, the care will dwindle, and Medicare will wither and die on the vine.

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Mr. ANDREWS. This obviously is a good faith and legitimate philosophical difference. But when it comes to the termination of the Medicare guarantee, when it comes to jeopardizing and violating this covenant with the people who built this country, we think that's the wrong thing to do. And it's especially wrong when the savings--so-called savings--from this approach will finance yet another tax break for the wealthiest and most prosperous people in our country.
These are priorities we'll debate on this floor in good faith. We think they're the wrong priorities. We urge a ``no'' vote.

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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I think there's a consensus in America that we have to reduce our deficit. Most it of should be by cutting spending, and some of it should come in revenue contributions from the wealthiest Americans. This proposal does this, so I support it.

I will tell you the other reason I support it. I want our country to have enough resources that a child can get the best education they should. We won't if we don't control the deficit. I want her mother to get a college education and a good job. We won't if we don't control the deficit. I want her grandmother to have Social Security and Medicare. We won't if we don't control the deficit.

If you believe in the progressive things government can do, you must believe and act on reducing the deficit.

This is the best and bipartisan way in front of us. I urge a ``yes'' vote.

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