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Doctor's Caucus: Health Care

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FLEMING. I thank the gentleman from Tennessee.

Of course, all of us here today talking are physicians of different specialties. Most of us were actually here during the ObamaCare debate. We actually began that in 2009. It actually went in to law, it was signed into law March 23, 2010.

The interesting thing about this law--the Affordable Care Act, which I refer to as the Unaffordable Care Act, but lovingly and affectionately known as ObamaCare--is the fact that what it does is it adds 15 million more Americans on to Medicaid, which already way underreimburses physicians, which means most doctors don't accept that as payment, and it adds another 15 million Americans to a system that's already stressed.

Ultimately, what's going to happen is you're going to have more Americans carrying more cards that entitle them to health care, but it really will entitle them only to a waiting line--a waiting list--just as we see today with Canada and Great Britain.

Let's talk for a moment about the promises. You know, Washington, Mr. Speaker, has a reputation for making promises it can't keep, and indeed that applies to ObamaCare.

First of all, the President said if you like your plan, you can keep it. Well, we know that's not true. We know now that you're going to get whatever plan and mandates that go with it, and you'll have to pay the cost that goes with it.

ObamaCare will not add one dime to our deficits. The CBO has now come back to show that the early estimates were way out of line. It's going to add billions of dollars to our deficit, and I think that's really an underestimation.

``No Federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and Federal conscience laws will remain in place.'' Federal conscience laws have been totally gutted. We know that, for instance, Hobby Lobby will be fined to the tune of millions of dollars as a result of its unwillingness to pay for abortifacients--that is, pills that can cause an abortion--and other things that are against the conscience of those who are in management and ownership there.

President Obama said, ``I will protect Medicare.'' Well, if he's going to protect Medicare, why did he take $716 billion out of Medicare to fund ObamaCare? He says that's savings. Well, if we can save that kind of money out of Medicare over 30 or 40 years, why didn't we do it once? We didn't because we can't without changing it structurally. It will simply be cuts to services.

ObamaCare will not raise any of your taxes. Mr. Speaker, ObamaCare includes 21 new taxes. And they're not just on rich people; about half of them are on the middle class.

I'll just give you an example of one very nasty tax that's coming your way. If you're a business owner, there is a tax--3.8 percent--on unearned income, which includes capital gains, dividends, rents, royalties and interest, which means that you're going to get hit hard and very hard. And then also a device tax on revenues--not on profits--which those who make everything from tongue blades to artificial hearts tell us will drive them out of this country into another country. And we'll have to buy back those devices, killing tens of thousands--maybe hundreds of thousands--of American jobs.

ObamaCare will ``lower your premiums by $2,500 per family per year.'' Mr. Speaker, no one has told me their premiums have gone down as a result of ObamaCare. In fact, in most cases, it's gone up $3,000. That's a net of $5,500 change, and many of them are expected to double and even triple as a result of ObamaCare. You can't just keep adding mandates to insurance and expect not to have to pay for them. That's just the simple truth.

What about IPAB? We heard some discussion about the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and it's really straightforward what they do: they take out of the hands of Congress our ability to find more efficient ways and ways to limit costs to Medicare patients. In fact, it's a 15-member board that's appointed by the President--not necessarily health care providers--who will have more power than Congress itself. It will actually be able to determine what gets paid for, how much it gets paid for, what type of doctors/providers will be paid for their services to Medicare patients. Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely the beginning of rationing and long lines for health care.

One other point before I yield back. Let me quote something that's already been referred to today in our discussion.

Senator Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who helped author ObamaCare, before a hearing, out of frustration, he asked Secretary Sebelius, he said, we've got all kind of problems, aren't you going to help us on this? Here's a quote from Senator Baucus--who shortly after this decided to retire. He said:

I am very concerned that not enough is being done so far. Very concerned. When I'm home, small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect. They don't know what affordability rules are, they don't know what penalties may apply.

I just see a huge train wreck coming down. You and I have discussed this many times and I don't see any results yet.

And we've yet to hear a good answer, a reasonable answer from Secretary Sebelius on how this has come together. We know that much of this has to be implemented really by October and finished by the first of January of 2014, and nobody knows what's going to happen, how it's going to happen.

Business owners today are looking at, should they have 50 employees or less than 50 employees? What kind of penalties are they going to have to pay, which is not tax deductible. There is nothing but chaos across America among small businesses.

Even parts of ObamaCare have already either been repealed or just simply dropped. The CLASS Act, long-term care, which was unworkable and is not going to help fund it. A very onerous 1099 tax reporting requirement has been dropped. So, little by little, this bill is beginning to fall apart. I'll just say, finally, that this train wreck not only is coming down, but the wheels are falling off the train.

So with that, I would like to yield back to the gentleman and certainly stick around for more discussion.

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Mr. FLEMING. Your experience is exactly the same as mine when it comes to blood disorders, blood cancers, solid tumors in children. That used to be a death warrant when you and I were in medical school. Today, the vast majority of those children survive and live a happy life.

Yet, what we see today is some of the oldest chemotherapeutic agents, some that are 60 years old--and of course the patents have run out a long time ago--are in severe short supply because, again, the heavy boot of government on the neck of industry that can't produce these at a rate that can meet up with demand. So it's important that we begin to pull back on this now, because we're going to be in the same situation as Canada and Great Britain, who have government-run health care, where early diagnosis, early treatment and using the best chemotherapeutic agents shows up in their statistics. Their death rates from cancer are much higher than ours are.

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Mr. FLEMING. I just want to expand a moment on what you were talking about small business is critical. I'm a small business owner myself, apart from my medical practice. We employ around 500 employees. Many of them are entry level. Businesses and business owners across America, at this very moment, are in a state of panic. Mr. Speaker, businesses across the country are, at this moment because of ObamaCare, in a state of panic.

The reason is because of what you said. They're calculating if they have more than 50 employees, they've got to ratchet below them if they can. They've got to know how much of the punishment--or penalty, I really should say, but it's more like punishment--they can absorb for those employees that they can't afford to pay for their insurance. This is having a direct impact on our economy and on job creation. This is something that's critical going forward what this is doing to small business, which, arguably, employs about 75 percent of Americans.

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Mr. FLEMING. I just want to put an asterisk to your comment about employment.

We met with Mort Zuckerman, economist and editor of U.S. News & World Report. He says that much of the ``growth'' in jobs reports that you see is actually people reentering the job market, but they're actually getting part-time jobs instead of full-time jobs and, in some cases, getting a second or third part-time job so that we're actually seeing an inflation of the actual number.

So ObamaCare--and I would argue Obamanomics in general--is actually taking us to not only an underemployed society but to an unemployed and underemployed society, and much of it is from ObamaCare.


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