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Public Statements

Health Care: Impact On Small Business

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the American people have now seen what Democrats in Congress plan to do with seniors' health care. They have looked on in total disbelief as the majority voted again and again to slash Medicare by nearly $ 1/2 trillion.

Incredibly, these cuts represent just part of the pain caused by this bill. In addition to punishing seniors, it would punish businesses. At a time when 1 out of 10 working Americans is looking for a job, this bill would hit employers with job-killing new taxes and mandates, and it wouldn't do anything to lower long-term health care costs. This is the very last thing business owners expected from this bill. It is the last thing America needs in the midst of a recession. And it is just one of the reasons more and more business groups are stepping forward and speaking out against this job-killing bill.

Yesterday, I mentioned a letter signed by 10 major trade groups pleading with us not to approve this bill because of the effect it would have on business. Later in the day, the National Federation of Independent Business, one of the leaders in the small business community, released a letter explaining why they opposed the bill. They said any health care reform faces two tests for small businesses: Does it lower insurance costs, and will it increase the overall cost of doing business. According to them, the Senate bill fails both of these tests and therefore fails small business. They have seen the CBO conclude that this bill would lead to higher premiums. They have seen the billions of new taxes that would fall unfairly on small businesses. And they have seen the mandates and the fines that would kill jobs. They have concluded that this bill would actually be worse for small business than the current situation.

It is abundantly clear that the more Americans learn about this bill, the more they oppose it. Now we know the same goes for business. Businesses that can't insure workers face stiff fines resulting in lost wages and jobs, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office.

What is more, studies suggest that this so-called employer mandate would have a disproportionate impact on low-income, entry-level workers. At a time of 10 percent unemployment, we should be doing everything we can to create jobs. This bill would only lead to more lost jobs.

Medicare cuts are bad enough, but this bill doesn't just hurt seniors, it hurts the economy as well. That is why Americans overwhelmingly oppose it.

Speaking of how people feel about this bill, we see signs of opposition everywhere. Public opinion is overwhelming. In all the polls across the country, the American people are saying: Don't pass this bill.

Last month's gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia were a stinging rebuke to the Democratic approach of more spending, more debt, higher taxes, and endless bureaucracy.

There is a new development. Just yesterday--just yesterday in my home State--there was a special election for the State senate. Why would that be worthy of commentary on the Senate floor? Let me describe the situation. It is a 3-to-1 Democratic district. Because of State issues, the Democratic State administration was intensely interested in winning that seat. They spent $1 million cumulatively--the candidate, the Democratic State party, and an outside interest group--in support of the Democrat--$1 million on one side of a State senate race in a rural area of my State.

On the other side was a Republican candidate, who was outspent 5 to 1--outspent 5 to 1 in a 3-to-1 Democratic district. The Republican candidate for the State senate won by 12 points. How did that happen? He had one message--one message: oppose the Reid bill, oppose what PELOSI is doing, oppose what the Democrats in Washington are doing.

In other words, the candidate who was outspent 5 to 1 in a district where he was outregistered 3 to 1 made the sole issue in the State senate race what is happening here in Washington on this bill that is on this floor.

That ought to tell you on the heels of the Virginia and New Jersey elections what is happening in this country. People have seen enough and heard enough, and they want it to stop.

The message is simple. This health care bill is a losing formula all around. That is the message Americans are sending loudly and clearly. The signs are everywhere. We saw it yesterday in my home State. It is time to stop this bill and start over.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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