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Public Statements

Carefully Crafting Health Care Legislation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCALISE. Mr. Speaker, as we're having a debate on the issue of health care and a lot of different ideas and different things are being passed around, I think it's really important that we look at the real reason why we need to make reforms to our health care system in America.

Clearly there are problems with health care, but there are very narrow problems with people who don't have the ability and the access to get health care at an affordable price. What we need to do is focus on fixing the problems in the system that don't work, but at the same time, we need to be very careful not to destroy the things that make medical care in the United States the best medical care in the world.

I think what concerns many of us is this proposal of a government takeover of our health care system where the government would come in all under the guise of competing against private companies. Of course anybody that understands what competition really means and who looks at the concept of the Federal Government, with taxpayer backing, coming in as your competitor when they write the rules that both of you have to play by--they've got this health care czar that they're creating in their bill, which, by the way, I think the count is up to over 30 czars now created in this administration.

We need to sunset these czars. We need to get rid of these czars. We shouldn't have people with these unbridled powers that have absolutely no accountability to the public, did not go through the scrutiny of the normal process that a cabinet secretary or high-ranking official would have to go through with Senate confirmation, testifying before committees and being answerable to the American people. Yet you've got these czars with these powers, and now they're trying to create a health care czar that would literally have the ability to make major decisions over individual families' health care.

I think it's very important to go through and talk about some of these claims that are being made because they are claims that are being made that completely are contradicted by the bills that we have before us in the Congress that are brought by and supported by this President and this administration.

One of the first claims that's been made a whole lot is if you like the health care you have, you can keep it. Now, personally I think that's a very important claim. I think that's one of the sacred parts of health care that we should maintain. If people like the health care they have, they should keep it. The problem is in the bill that President Obama supports in the House, the only bill this administration, Speaker Pelosi, and others are promoting, is H.R. 3200. In that bill, in fact, on page 15 of that bill, they give the power to the health care czar, again an unappointed bureaucrat, a person who did not go through any confirmation process, who was just appointed by the President, who is wholly unaccountable to Congress, this health care czar would have the power to decertify private plans.

That's right. That means if you have a health care policy you like, the health care czar, in their bill, has the power to take away your health care plan even if you do like it. It's in their bill. We actually tried to take that out in committee.

Another claim that's been made a whole lot that was made here on thisHouse floor deals with the issue of illegal immigration and do illegal aliens have access to health care. Now, many have claimed that illegal aliens wouldn't be able to get health care in their bill. The problem is, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the President's bill allows 8 million illegal aliens to have access to his government-run health care plan. That testimony was given by the Congressional Budget Office. That's not a Republican or a Democrat who said that. That's the bipartisan group that we actually have to follow who scores these bills, who makes a determination whether or not these statements are accurate. The Congressional Budget Office has said 8 million illegal aliens would have access to this government plan that the President is supporting, H.R. 3200.

And there are a lot of other claims that are similar to those that are just not accurate. One of the ones that's thrown around a lot by the President and others is this straw man that we've got to fix health care and if we don't pass his bill, then everybody else is for the status quo if they're not for his bill, if they don't want the government to take it over.

That's not true. If you look at the bills that are out there, there are many bills that I and others support that are very different approaches than the bill that the President and Speaker Pelosi support. One good one is H.R. 3400. H.R. 3400 has nearly 40 Members of Congress that are cosponsors, including four medical doctors, people that really understand the problems in health care. In our bill we actually address the problems that exist. We address the problems with preexisting conditions. I don't think it's fair or right that somebody can be denied health care coverage because they're battling maybe a disease like cancer or some other tragic disease that in the current system they are currently discriminated against. We fix that problem in our bill. We invoke real competition, but it's not by bringing in the government; it's by allowing people to buy across State lines and have competition.

So we need to address these problems in a real, honest way.

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