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Public Statements

Health Care Reform

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, at a time when unemployment is at a 25-year high and with a Federal deficit breaking the $12 trillion mark, the House of Representatives passed a health care bill that raises taxes more than $700 billion. This is the House-passed health care bill on this desk. I expect the Senate version, which may be produced today, will be of similar size.

Who gets taxed under the House-passed bill? Let's take a look.

At the top of the list is small business. A small business surtax in the bill takes $150 billion out of our job creators. That is on page 344 of this massive 2,000-page House bill. We all know small businesses are the biggest job generators in the country. They employ well over half of those who have employment in our country.

Second, we have an employer tax. The employer tax raises $135 billion in taxes through a new mandate on employers. That is on page 281 of this massive 2,000-page bill. The NFIB, the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small business, estimates that mandate would cost about 1.6 million jobs. That is a 1.6 million job-killing tax at a time when the national unemployment rate is 10.2 percent.

Insured Americans, item No. 4 on this chart--let's look at the tax on insured Americans. Billions of new taxes to pay for comparative effectiveness research rationing in this 2,000-page bill. That is on page 1179, a tax on those who are insured.

Then we have attacks on those who are uninsured, item 3 on the chart. They get taxed as well, a 2.5-percent income tax on the uninsured. That is on page 303 of this roughly 2,000-page bill.

Medical devices, upon which those who are sick depend heavily, will also be taxed. People needing lifesaving medical devices will also receive a tax increase, on page 347 of this massive 2,000-page bill. There will be a $20 billion tax on medical devices. Of course, that will be passed straight on to the consumers. So that will, in effect, be a tax on those Americans who are sick and who need medical devices.

There is also a tax on the chronically ill. On page 332 of this 2,000-page effort to restructure the American health care system, we find flexible spending accounts would be capped at $2,500 and phased out over time. How does that affect the chronically ill? As a result, tens of millions of families, many of whom are managing chronic illnesses, will see billions in tax-saving benefits from these FSAs wiped out, right here on page 332 of this 2,000-page bill.

What does all this mean to small business? David Boland is the manager at Boland Maloney Lumber, Louisville. He wrote to my office to say what it means:

Health care reform that does nothing to control costs--

And we already know from CBO and from the actuaries that the Health and Human Services bill does not control costs--

but merely increases the burden on small businesses through mandates and tax hikes is a dangerous and risky proposition that will imperil my company and our national recovery.

Don't take it from me; listen to David Boland. He gets it. He knows that slashing Medicare, increasing premiums, and raising taxes in a recession is not reform.

It was actually a front-page story in the Washington Post this morning, a company in Louisville that kind of underscores what I am talking about. The front-page story in today's Washington Post describes the ongoing struggles of a small manufacturer in my hometown of Louisville who is fighting to save jobs. This business owner wants to be more productive so he can hold onto his workers. But all of these crushing taxes, many of which would apply to his company, are simply not going to be helpful.

Finally, yesterday I spoke about Medicare cuts, the massive Medicare cuts in this bill we are shortly going to be considering. It is important to remember that Senate Democrats recently tried to pass a so-called doc fix that would have forced seniors to pay higher premiums on top of $ 1/2 trillion they want to cut from Medicare. Fortunately, this bill was rejected by a wide bipartisan majority. While we all think this problem needs to be addressed, this is not the way to do it. I am confident that should a similar bill pass the House later this week, we will reject it again on a bipartisan basis.

I yield the floor.

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