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Public Statements

Doctors Caucus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, D.C.


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Dr. Gingrey, I appreciate greatly your doing this Special Order tonight, and I appreciate your yielding me some time.

When I spoke on the floor this morning in 1-minutes, I started off my speech by saying when I graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, and got my MD degree, we in the medical college all swore to the Hippocratic Oath. One of the clauses in the Hippocratic Oath was ``I will do no harm.''

The Nancy Pelosi health care insurance bill, it is not about health care. It is about insurance, and, actually, it is about power. It is not even about health care. But the Nancy Pelosi health care insurance bill will actually do a tremendous amount of harm for me and all of our medical colleagues who continue to practice medicine, so it is going to destroy the quality of care.

It is also going to destroy the Federal budget. Dr. Gingrey, as you were talking about, it is going to spend over $1 trillion in what I am describing as voodoo economics or zombie economics that CBO utilized in scoring this bill, because they made some assumptions that are just totally untenable. They are just not going to happen. Since they are projecting the growth of Medicare is going to be half of what it has been historically, that is not going to happen. They haven't counted into the scoring a lot of issues that are going to balloon the costs to the American people.

So the Pelosi health care insurance bill is going to destroy our economy, and it is going to create a tremendous debt. It is going to destroy people's private health care plans that they have today. If you continue to buy private health insurance, the American public's premiums are going to double and triple. So it is going to destroy the budgets of families all across America.

It is going to destroy the State budgets, because it is going to have a tremendous unfunded mandate on the States because of the large expansion of Medicaid; thus, the States are going to have to go get that money from somebody, and they are going to increase taxes. They are going to have to. They have no other choice but to increase taxes.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. If the gentleman will yield for just a second, Dr. Broun, in that regard, Mr. Speaker, I ask the gentleman from Georgia, this Medicaid increase in Nancy Pelosi's health reform bill, H.R. 3962, what kind of dollars are we talking about here? What kind of burden are we talking about, unfunded mandate that that would put on the State, and how does that come about?

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Well, in increasing the Medicaid rolls that the State government has to fund, the Federal Government is going to help by giving money to the States, but the States are going to have to come up with the matching.

Just in our State of Georgia, it is estimated the State of Georgia is going to have an extra $1 billion that Georgians are going to have to come up with in increased taxes just for this Federal mandate on our State alone. It is billions and billions of dollars on every State in this country, so it is a huge burden on the States.

So it is an unfair taxation that is pushed off on the States, and every person, even the middle class, who our President said he was going to protect, the middle class is going to be burdened with a tremendous tax burden because of the mandates.

Some of them aren't direct taxes. As I have already mentioned, their health insurance premiums are going to really double or triple. That is really a tax, because it is a cost shifting from the private insurance.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. If the gentleman would yield back to me just for a second, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ask the gentleman, why is that a problem for the States? Mr. Speaker, you and I both know that here in the great Congress, these Halls of Congress, if we want to spend money, if we want to overspend, we just print more money out. I think we have red ink of about $275 billion, and that is why today in the Federal Government we have this debt of $11.2 trillion. Can't the States do the same thing?

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. No, sir. Well, thank you, Dr. Gingrey. The States are prohibited from printing money under the Constitution. Actually, we should be preventing the Federal Reserve from printing money like they are doing, and the Congress has the authority to do that, if we just take that power back from the Federal Reserve, and I, as an original intent constitutionalist, think we should do that.

It is our prerogative as Members of Congress to manage the money instead of the Federal Reserve, and it shouldn't be the Federal Reserve doing it. We should be doing that here in Congress.

But the States can't do that, so they are going to have this tremendous economic burden. Our Governor, Sonny Perdue, is struggling trying to make the budget come out in black ink in our State. Because we have a balanced budget amendment to our State constitution, the State of Georgia cannot spend more money than it brings in, technically, under our constitution.

So if we as a Federal Government put a tremendous burden of $1 billion on the State of Georgia, which is already struggling, already furloughing workers, they are not replacing workers, State services are being cut, teachers' salaries and furloughs and cuts are being put in place, and we add $1 billion to the State of Georgia, an economic burden, that money has got to come from somewhere.

The Federal Government is not going to give it to Georgia. It is not going to give it to Louisiana. It is not going to give it to Texas, New York, Vermont, or Minnesota. The States are going to have to come up with those dollars, and the only way they can do that is through higher taxes, as well as cutting more services than what they are doing now.

You take States like Michigan, where the unemployment is so high, raising taxes is going to further wreck their economy. So this is going to destroy the American economy as well as the States' economies.

We are going to be destroying lives with this bill, because this bill, the way it is written today, is going to allow taxpayers' dollars to pay for abortions. Now, the Democrats have put some mumbo-jumbo language in there, and it is really a ruse. What they have done is they say private funds can be utilized to pay for abortions through the public insurance system. They call it the public option. But it is not an option; it is a mandate.

It is actually something that the leadership of the Democratic Party, from the President to many of the leadership in their own party, have said that this is just a step to a single party payer health insurance program. So it is going to destroy private insurance here in America too.

So what this Nancy Pelosi health insurance bill is going to do is destroy everything that is good, and good with our health care system. And what is most important, it is going to destroy the quality of care our seniors are getting, because they are going to get the short shrift of all of this.

They are going to draw the short straw, because the Democrats put something in the bill, something that is called comparative effectiveness research in the stimulus bill, and now they have set up a panel that is going to

use that comparative effectiveness to determine how best to spend the dollars. And when you have limited dollars, they are going to decide is it better to spend the money on a well person who is 25 versus a sick person who is 70.

So the seniors' health care provision is going to be destroyed. We are going to have more people pushed, because Medicare Advantage is going to be destroyed, we are going to have move people pushed off on the Medicare system, which is going to further increase the burden on the current Medicare system. So we are going to have further rationing of care, particularly for the seniors. So they are going to be told they can't get tests, they can't get surgeries, they can't get medications that they need, and it is going to be absolutely disastrous for seniors.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. If the gentleman would yield, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to have the opportunity to ask the gentleman to share with us a little bit. He is mentioning about this comparative effectiveness research council and how, based on, hopefully, Mr. Speaker, qualified, good, solid research, and to not only recommend to our doctors across the country, the 850,000 of them, many of whom are primary care doctors, and we will hear from another primary care doctor, John Fleming, with us tonight from Shreveport, Louisiana, in just a few minutes.

To suggest is one thing, Mr. Speaker, but to mandate based on comparative effectiveness research, which our hardworking men and women, taxpayers of this country, are paying for that, and many, many, if not most of them are making less than $250,000, by the way, Mr. Speaker.

But what I wanted to ask Representative Broun to share with us is not only the fact that our seniors, as he suggests, Mr. Speaker, and I agree with him, could get thrown under the bus by this rationing that comes from this comparative effectiveness research study that says, oh, that won't work. Let's do something cheaper, and, you are too old and it is not going to be cost-effective so you don't get it.

But I would like for Representative Broun, if he would, Mr. Speaker, to share with us about these pay-fors. Ms. Pelosi and President Obama says it has got to be paid for. He won't add one dime to the deficit. It has to be paid for. I would like for Dr. Broun to talk to us a little bit about where some of this money is coming from, this $1 trillion so this health care reform is paid for.

I yield back to the gentleman.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Dr. Gingrey. The pay-fors are through higher taxes, particularly on small business, as well as individuals who are considered rich. We are supposed to be treated equal under the law, but a lot of our colleagues on the other side don't think that is factual any more, that we need to be treated unequally under the law, which is totally unconstitutional and is against the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, basically.

But what it does is this is going to destroy jobs because of the mandates upon small business. There are a lot of taxes and a lot of fees, and there are even fees and taxes on individuals who don't take their employer-offered health insurance. So it is going to force everybody in this country basically to take whatever insurance is dictated by the health care czar panel here in Washington.

So taxes, the only way they get to any semblance of controlling the amount of money that this bill calls for, which is way over $1 trillion--and, in fact, I think that is going to be very low. When we saw Medicare presented, the Congressional Budget Office miscalculated. Their calculation was almost one-tenth of what the true cost was over the decade following passage of Medicare, and I think that is what we are going to see with the Pelosi health insurance bill, too.

But there are tremendous taxes on everybody in this country. And it is going to be a tax on the middle class, because they have got to tax durable medical equipment. That is going to go up. They are going to tax the Cadillac insurance plans. So that means people who have good insurance, privately provided today, that is going to go up. There are going to be taxes on small businesses.

Right now, the bill says if an individual makes over $500,000 or a couple over $1 million a year, that is adjusted gross income, that they are going to have a big tax on them. Well, a lot of those people are actually small business men and women, and that is their adjusted gross.

They are filing their personal income tax return as a Sub S corporation or as a limited liability partnership, like a lot of physicians, accountants, and lawyers have. Small businesses, they are going to be taxed, taxed, taxed, and that is the reason that the experts say 5.5 million jobs are going to be destroyed. People are going to lose their job because of this Nancy Pelosi health insurance plan.


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Reclaiming my time, before we go to the other doctor from Louisiana, I think the gentleman from Georgia wanted to engage maybe in a

colloquy and ask a question, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you for yielding, Dr. Gingrey.

What I wanted to bring up, Dr. FLEMING, is that during the August break I went up to Canada and talked to folks about their universal health care system. And the American public need to understand what their situation is up there. I found women in their 40s and 50s who've never been told that they needed a pap smear, never been told they needed one. Never had one. Why? Because the doctors won't take the time to counsel with them and won't take time to do the pap smear because doctors have to rush people through the office so quickly just to see the capitated amount just to make a decent living.

The average time spent, I was told by many, many patients up there, was 5 minutes with a doctor, 5 minutes. I was told that if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, you have to make three appointments to see the doctor and they'll just give you medicines for those three things one at a time. You can't go counsel with your doctor for any period of time.

But most importantly, and back to the reason I asked you to yield a moment or two, is that in Canada they pay a tremendous amount of taxes. Even the lowest income people pay a tremendous amount of taxes to pay for their health care system. They have a provincial and national sales tax just to pay for their health care of 7 percent in British Columbia, where I was, a 7 percent sales tax just to pay for national health insurance. Plus on top of that, they have an income tax. I was told by a guy making under $50,000 a year, he said he paid 60 percent of his income, 60 percent of his income was paid in taxes to help pay for their national health insurance program.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Speaker, I certainly know of what the gentleman from Georgia speaks.

I had an opportunity last year to visit in Taiwan, the country of Taiwan, our great friends. And they also, like the U.K. and Canada and some other countries, have this government-run single-payer, sometimes referred to as national health insurance. They have a very similar program, Mr. Speaker, to what Dr. Broun was just referring to. And when I was visiting in Taiwan, I made sure that I had an opportunity to visit with the Minister of Health; and I asked them to describe the system to me, and Dr. Broun has just done a great job of sort of a mirror image of what goes on in Canada. And I also had an opportunity to ask some of the Taiwanese citizens about the national health program and what they thought about it.

And, Mr. Speaker, here is just a little bit of what they said, their response. And I think my colleagues need to understand this so they can share this information, and I hope they will on both sides of the aisle, with their constituents:

They said we really like this system, this national health insurance system, here in Taiwan, which has been in place since 1997.

And I said, What's so good about it?

And, Mr. Speaker, their response was, well, kind of like what Dr. Broun said, We only have to wait about 5 minutes. The queue is very short. They really get you in quickly, and you get to be seen by a doctor, and in general on average that visit takes about 5 minutes. And, Mr. Speaker, also they said almost every time you leave the office, you have a handful of several prescriptions, which is really good, according to them.

Mr. Speaker, of course I'm a physician and I know that in my practice, and my colleagues, I'm sure, experienced the same thing, people want to ask you questions. And a lot of time that's spent you can't charge them for and you don't want to charge them for it, but you want to be able to give them time to ask questions. I said, well, how about if you want to ask the doctor a question?

And, Mr. Speaker, the response was, Well, they don't really encourage that because they have a quota of seeing a certain number of patients a day, and if they sort of drag behind and take more than 5 minutes, then their evaluation at the end of the year, Mr. Speaker, is not so good.

So it's a mess is what it is. It's an absolute mess. And the reason, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues even bring it up is because this idea, in our opinion, in our humble opinion, of having a public option competing with the private market is so that the big arm--I should say the big foot--of Federal Government can get right there one step away from taking over the entire health care system in this country; and we then, within a very short period of time, 3 to 5 years, have a system very similar to the U.K. and Canada and Taiwan.

The American people don't want that, I submit to my colleagues; and that's why we're fighting this tooth and nail and will continue to until we defeat it.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. I will yield to the gentleman, and then I will yield to Mr. Fleming so he can finish up and then Dr. Cassidy as well.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I just wanted to come back to the point that I just was making so that the Speaker himself can understand and the American people who are listening here can understand that the lowest income workers who are trying to make a living, struggling today to make a living and make ends meet, maybe they do or don't have insurance today, they're going to pay a heavy, dear price in increased taxes by this bill, the Pelosi health care bill.

It is going to destroy their own personal budgets because of this bill if it ever gets passed into law.

I want to remind, Mr. Speaker, if I can speak out to the American public, I would tell them that the Republicans are the Party of Know, K-N-O-W, because we know how to lower the cost of health care. We have 53 bills that have been introduced. Some of them are comprehensive, such as my bill, H.R. 3889, which is totally private, doesn't increase taxes for anybody. It doesn't put mandates on anybody or anywhere and totally looks to the private sector and will lower the cost of health care. We have many Republican bills that will help lower the cost for everybody if our bills could just be heard on the floor.

But the American people need to demand that the Pelosi bill be defeated, destroyed, so we can go back to the drawing board, we can go back to the table and work in a bipartisan way and have Democratic and Republican ideas, and we can find something that is right for America that will lower the cost of health care.

The Pelosi health care bill will skyrocket the health care costs for everybody, skyrocket taxes, and we have to stop it.


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Dr. Gingrey, thank you so much for yielding.

This is the health care czar. The President said, if you have insurance and you like it, you can keep it. Nothing could be further from the truth; it's a boldfaced lie. The reason it's a boldfaced lie is because this bill requires the health care czar and his panel--this dude is going to be confirmed by the Senate, but the panel is going to be appointed by the President with no confirmation--they're going to be making health care decisions for everybody. And everybody, even private health insurance plans, have to be approved by the boss. So if you have health care insurance today and you like it, forget it because it's going away unless the boss says it's okay.

So the Democratic health care plan, the health insurance bill that Nancy Pelosi has given us, you can have anything that you want if the boss approves it. And I thank Dr. Gingrey because this is his slide here.


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