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Public Statements

Health Care Reform

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding and for taking leadership in tonight's discussion that we're having, this House call, as we're trying to continue to go through this debate on health care.

When you showed that important document--what I think is the second most important document ever written since the Bible--the U.S. Constitution starts with those powerful words in the preamble, ``We the People.'' Last night, we heard what we the people said in those two elections in both the State of Virginia and the State of New Jersey, where the people very vocally said they don't want this kind of rampage to socialism, they don't want this massive government takeover of all aspects of their life when they spoke in those two elections last night. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi has not heard that same message.

When we talk about health care, all of us agree we need to reform things that are broken in health care, but I think those of us here tonight would all also recognize that many things about health care in this country make this the best medical care system in the world with some problems, and so you should go and fix those problems. And what is Speaker Pelosi's answer? It's a 1,990-page government takeover of health care.

We have gone through and we have broken this bill down, and we have seen so many bad things that would actually make health care worse. First of all, we have seen $700 billion in new taxes on American small businesses and families. We've seen $500 billion in cuts to Medicare in this bill. And if you go through this bill, with all of the regulations and the czars and the different things that take away components of health care that people like and want, one thing we do see is the real cost of this bill. It adds up, with over $1 trillion of new spending. The real cost of this bill is over $530 million per page.

When you look at a bill this big, 1,990 pages, you know, people ask me, what is $1 billion? When you hear of all the ridiculous, outrageous spending in Washington and trillions of dollars being thrown around left and right, people say, What is $1 billion? Well, you can just take pages one and two of Speaker Pelosi's bill. At $530 million a page, these first two pages right here add up to over $1 billion in spending on health care that doesn't do anything to improve health care.

What we have done is we have gone through and come up with a commonsense alternative. It is going to be filed in response to this bill, but it's a representation of legislation we have been pushing for months to actually fix the problems in health care. And those problems are:

Preexisting conditions. We would all agree that it's not fair that somebody is discriminated against because they have a preexisting condition. We address that in our bill.

People should be able to have portability so that if they leave a job, they can take their health care with them. We address that in our bill.

We should have commonsense medical liability reform so that people don't have to go through all these invasive tests, as you know, Doctor, that people have to go through where about one-third of all the tests and procedures that are run are just strictly defending against frivolous lawsuits.

And then you look at this bill, the 1990-page bill, this could be called the ``trial lawyer protection act'' because there's not one page dedicated to commonsense legal reforms. So we save hundreds of millions of dollars to lower the cost of health care in our bill. In fact, the CBO has now scored our bill and said that it would reduce health care premiums by at least 10 percent and save billions of dollars in deficits that we wouldn't have to pass on to our future generations.

So our bill lowers the cost. It addresses preexisting conditions. It allows portability and buying across State lines, and it lowers the cost of health care while lowering the deficit. Their bill has $700 billion in new taxes. It has $500 billion in cuts to Medicare, and it makes health care in this country worse. Two very different approaches to this health care issue.

Mr. HOEKSTRA. If the gentleman would yield, what is the other document in front of the gentleman here?

Mr. SCALISE. And as my friend from Michigan points out, we do have another document here, and that is the United States Constitution. I think the most dramatic contrast is when you take Speaker Pelosi's approach to health care--20 pounds, by the way, and I've carried this thing around enough to know it is about 20 pounds of paper--and yet you take the U.S. Constitution and contrast it to this massive document of 1,990 pages--and this is the founding document of our country--we don't need a government takeover of health care. We need to fix the problems that are broken. We don't need to break all the things that make medical care great in this country.

That is why I thank you for your leadership. We need to continue this debate and encourage the American people to stay engaged because the American people want the problems fixed, but they don't want the government--that

couldn't even run a Cash for Clunkers program properly--to be taking over their health care and interfering in that relationship between the doctor and the patient. I yield back.


Mr. SCALISE. If my friend from Iowa would yield through my friend from Georgia, that's one of the reasons we call this in some ways the ``no trial lawyer left behind act,'' because this gives a protection to trial lawyers so that they can continue to raise up the cost of health care by forcing doctors to run all of these tests that they know they don't have to run for the health of patients. And all of us patients have to endure those tests. We have to pay for those tests, not because it's better for our health, but because those doctors are concerned that they're going to be faced with these frivolous lawsuits that we protect in our bill. And in fact, they prohibit in their bill those protections to patients.

So that's why their bill does so many invasive things. It protects the trial lawyers, and it prevents us from trying to address those issues that would actually lower the cost of health care, which is why we're addressing it in our bill. Unfortunately, they're blocking it in theirs.
And I yield back.


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