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Mrs. BOXER. Madam President, I rise to talk a little bit about health care and what it would mean if the Republicans get their way and take away so many benefits for millions of people. But before I do, I would like to respond to Senator Hutchison's remarks on taxes.
President Obama has called on us to pass a tax cut for 98 percent of the American people. That would not be for millionaires, but for the middle class. It is not for billionaires, but for the middle class--98 percent. He said anyone earning up to $250,000 will get a tax break. As a matter of fact, he said all income under $250,000 will get a tax cut. Only income over $250,000 would go back to the tax rates of Bill Clinton. Let me remind everyone that in those years we had 23 million new jobs created and a balanced budget, and we never had more millionaires created in one period of time as we did then because it was a fair tax system.
President Obama has asked us to give a tax break to everyone on the first $250,000 of their income and after that go back to the rates under Bill Clinton. That includes 97 percent of small business owners. When we hear the Republicans get up and say: Democrats want to hurt small businesses, Democrats want to hurt the job creators, our position is that 97 percent of small business owners agree with the President--they should get a tax break. If you earn over that $250,000, which is a few percent, pay the fair share that we paid during the fabulous economic growth period when Bill Clinton was the President.
Why do we feel it is important that we say 98 percent and not 100 percent of taxpayers? Because we have a deficit issue. We have a debt problem. We want to get back to the days of balanced budgets, and we will get there, if everyone pays their fair share.
So let's be clear. All of those tears being shed on the other side are being shed for people such as Donald Trump. Isn't it unfortunate that a man such as Donald Trump, who was able to catch the dream to the ultimate--and all right, we want that for everyone--has to pay just a little bit more? At a time when people are taking their money out of this country and putting it in Swiss bank accounts and Bermuda accounts and accounts in the Cayman Islands, it is time for everyone to have a little patriotism here. We have to have the greatest country in this world, and that means the strongest military in the world; that means the best roads and bridges in the world; that means a strong education system. We want to wipe out cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer's. That means a strong medical research system. We need everyone in America to do their part.
My dad was a CPA. We were very middle class--lower middle class, I would say. I started working in little jobs when I was 16, 17, and I got mad. I hate to age myself, but the minimum wage was quite low then. It was in the cents. It was around 75 cents an hour or something. I remember saying, Why do I have to pay anything to the government? I don't want to pay anything. My father would say to me, You kiss the ground you walk on because you live in America, and we have to have things in this country to make us great. And don't you ever forget that, and don't you complain about it. He also said, You make sure it is spent right and you make sure you have a voice in it. But this country needs to be strong. So to have millionaires and billionaires take their money out of America and hide it in accounts in other countries is not something I would be proud of. We should invest our funds here and everyone should pay their fair share.
Here is the deal. The Republicans have said if they take over all of the branches of government, which is their goal, on day one they are going to repeal ObamaCare. They are going to repeal our health care law. It reminds me of this: If I were to say to the Presiding Officer, meet me on the corner at 6 o'clock tonight and I am going to punch you in the nose, hit you over the head, and leave you there, she might rethink meeting me. She might say, you know, Barbara, that is not something to look forward to. Well, let me say this to the millions of Americans who are already receiving the benefits of ObamaCare, which I will describe: You are about to be hit over the head and punched in the nose, if the Republicans take over Washington, DC. That is their goal, to take over the Senate, take over the Presidency, and keep the majority in the House.
Let me tell my colleagues why I say this. Here are the benefits that are in jeopardy--not in jeopardy from repeal; they will be repealed: Free preventive services which have already begun: Cancer screenings and immunizations for those people who have private insurance. Fifty-four million people are going to be punched in the nose and hit in the head, if the Republicans take over and they repeal health care--on day one. They are trying to do it today over in the House for the 31st time.
Prescription drug discounts for seniors who are in the doughnut hole. Fifty-two million seniors have already saved $3.7 billion. They are going to be hit in the head and punched in the nose on day one--not even day two--of a Republican takeover.
Free preventive services for seniors. We have 32.5 million Medicare patients who get free screenings now--32.5 million. That is almost as many people as live in California who will be hit in the head and punched in the nose on day one--not on day two or three, but right away.
Protection against lifetime dollar limits. Right now, people think they have a good health care insurance plan. If a person gets, God forbid, something such as cancer and they have it checked out and find out the limit is $ 1/2 million, maybe $1 million, maybe even $2 million limit--they don't know how fast that limit comes and then they are out of insurance. So now 105 million Americans who had limits on their policies no longer have limits. Well, if the Republicans take over, punch in the nose, hit in the head, they are finished; they are out.
Young adults who can now stay on their parents' plan up to age 26--6.6 million young adults--are out of luck on the first day of a Republican takeover.
Let's go to the next chart. Limits on the amount of premiums health insurance companies can spend on administrative costs. Right now, 12 million Americans-plus are going to receive a total of $1 billion in rebates because, under ObamaCare, the insurance companies have to spend the money on patients--80 percent--not on their own perks, not on their bonuses, and people are going to get checks in the mail. So I say to these 12.7 million Americans: I hope you are listening, because on day one, no more rebates.
Tax credits to help small businesses purchase health insurance. We hear about how the Democrats don't care about small business. How about this: The 360,000 small businesses who insure 2 million workers have gotten tax credits, right now--right now. We see the crocodile tears over there, yet they want to repeal a tax break that is helping 360,000 small businesses.
If a child is born with a preexisting condition, let's say some heart defect, and that child can't get insurance. Today they can. Guess what. Seventeen million children benefit from this protection right now. Seventeen million of the most vulnerable people now have protection because of ObamaCare. But if the Republicans take over, these little babies are out--out of luck--and their parents will probably have to go on welfare. Great. Meet you on the corner, be there, vote for me, and I will punch you in the nose and hit you in the head. That is what is going on.
Funding for new community health care centers and expansions. Already 3 million patients have been helped by this. The fact is we have seen funds go to these community health care centers in our communities, so whether a person has insurance or not, they can drop in to a health care center. It is particularly important in rural areas where they have very little access.
I just talked about what happens already. Now, in 2014, we set up the health insurance exchanges so there is competition and people can get cheaper insurance. The preexisting condition benefit will then apply to everybody, so if you have a preexisting condition and you are an adult, you can still get health care.
Women will get protection. Women have had to pay twice as much as a man for insurance. That is discrimination. That will be banned starting in 2014.
There will be protection against arbitrary annual limits on the health care benefits people can get. Sometimes people have the ability to get health care coverage, but it is capped every year. No more artificial caps.
Finally, we will say that health insurance plans have to cover essential benefits such as maternity care. Many plans will not cover maternity care. That is over.
So then people say, Well, how is this reform paid for? The Republicans say taxes will go up, deficits will go up. The CBO has told us that this is actually a reducer of the deficit by tens of billions of dollars. As a matter of
fact, it reduces the deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years. How is it that ObamaCare saves money? It is because we invest in prevention. Everyone within the sound of my voice knows that if a woman gets an annual mammogram and it indicates a very tiny start of a breast tumor and the patient gets that tumor out at an early stage, they have avoided the worst consequences and it is way cheaper than waiting until the end when a patient needs radiation, chemotherapy, all of this tough medicine that is also expensive.
I ask unanimous consent for 1 more minute.
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Mrs. BOXER. How else do we pay for this? We cut out waste and fraud in Medicare. We say to the health care industry: You make a lot more money and you have to pay a little more, and they will.
Then there are the free riders who say, I will never get sick, and if I do I will get free health care at the emergency room. We finally say to them, as they did in Massachusetts: Those days are over. If you can afford it, you need to get a basic policy. By the way, it is a tiny percentage of people. It is 1.4 million people. I think it is less than 1 percent of the people who will have to get insurance because the rest of us are paying $1,000 a year to cover these people. So no more free rides. We all work together.
I will close with this. Watch out in this election who you vote for. If somebody tells you they are going to repeal health care, that means all of these benefits go out the window. All of this deficit cutting goes out the window. The Supreme Court said it is constitutional, and it is.
I want to make this point: Don't vote for people who will punch you in the nose, hit you in the head, and walk away from you. I think the choice is between those who will lift people up and make life better for people and their families and those who would go back to a system that was so harmful for our families.
Thank you very much, Madam President. I yield the floor.
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