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Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003—Continued

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I have an amendment which I am not going to ask to vote on, after discussing it with both the chairman and the ranking member, and other colleagues. I thank Senator Grassley and Senator Baucus and particularly Senator Kennedy and Senator Clinton, Senator Schumer, Senator Graham, and Senator Feinstein. This is an amendment that would have affected positively 37 States in the country. Among the top 10 States that would have been helped in a completely nonpartisan way would have been Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, New York, and many others. This refers to the safety net hospitals in our country that are picking up the costs of those who are the most disadvantaged who need health care.

Unfortunately, in this amendment the funding under the Children's Health Insurance Program has been cut as an offset in this legislation by some $800 million. There are 2 million additional uninsured in this country. None of them have the ability to be able to get care unless we are providing the so-called disproportionate share allocation to those hospitals. I ask the chairman and the ranking member if they would agree that when the Medicare bill comes up in about a month that at that time it would be appropriate for the Finance Committee to try to rectify what is happening here because the increasing numbers of uninsured are literally flooding the hospitals and urban centers and rural communities where they don't have the capacity to be able to provide the care. It seems extraordinary that we can find the money for those who earn more than $315,000 a year at the expense of those who are the most vulnerable in our society.

I hope we will rectify it.

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