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Public Statements

Health Care Reform

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, for months we have been warning the American people of the Democrats' plans to raise premiums, raise taxes, and slash Medicare in order to fund more government. Americans know that is not reform, and unfortunately the majority has not been listening.

While two committees have publicly reported legislation, the bill we are being asked to consider was assembled behind closed doors, out of sight, and without input from the public for over the last 6 weeks. We are being told we must rush to pass this legislation, even though most of its provisions will not take effect for another 5 years, until 2014. That is a little bit like being asked to pay your mortgage 4 years before you are allowed to move into your house. Americans reasonably want to know: How much will it cost? Will their premiums go up? What is hidden in the fine print? Are favored interests or States getting sweetheart deals? The American people want to take the time to get this right.

Over here, we have the House bill and the Senate bill together, each of them roughly 2,000 pages. You see this massive bill to rewrite one-sixth of our economy, with stunning unintended consequences for ourselves and for our children and for our grandchildren.

The majority leader's bill is 2,074 pages long. When fully implemented--and the way to look at the true cost of this bill is how much it will cost over a 10-year period when it is fully implemented. What has been skillfully done in order to make it look less expensive, in this proposal, is phasing in benefits and taxes at different times. But when this 2,074-page bill is fully implemented, it will cost $2.5 trillion.

According to CBO, Federal health care spending will actually go up, not down, as a result of this mammoth effort to rewrite one-sixth of our economy. It cuts Medicare by $465 billion--nearly $ 1/2 trillion in cuts to a program that is so important to our seniors. Hospitals, Medicare Advantage, nursing homes, home health, hospice--all of those will be slashed in this $465 billion cut to Medicare. It raises taxes $493 billion. So you have here massive cuts in Medicare and massive tax increases.

Who gets hit? Who gets hit with the tax increases? You do. If you have insurance, you get taxed. If you do not have insurance, you get taxed. If you need a lifesaving medical device, you get taxed. If you need prescription medicines, you get taxed. There is also a new Medicare payroll tax.

What is the bottom line here? After weeks of drafting a bill behind closed doors, the majority has produced a bill that increases premiums, raises taxes, and slashes Medicare by $ 1/2 trillion, to create a new government program. This is not what the American people want. I do not believe they think this is reform. This is not the direction to take.

I yield the floor.

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