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Public Statements

Different Federal Approach

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by offering the congratulations of myself and many others to Senator-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts who had a very exciting victory yesterday. And I know that he will be a good Senator for the people of that State, but his victory means so much more to so many more people, not only the people of Massachusetts who are very excited today, but also people all across the country because they viewed the election of Senator Brown as an opportunity to send a message to this government, to this Congress, and to say to the Speaker of the House and the majority leader in the Senate and others that we need to take a different approach to health care reform and to the general direction of our Federal Government with regard to the out-of-control spending that we are experiencing here in Washington: last year's Federal deficit of $1.4 trillion and another $1.2 trillion projected for this year; in fact, for each year as far as the eye can see, deficits exceeding $600 billion a year as far out as we project them, 10 years from now.

At no time does this Congress offer a budget to the American people that would give them hope that we are going to get this problem under control. Instead, they have offered health care legislation that costs another, oh, some would say $800 billion. But the reality is that over 10 years the real cost of this legislation is more like $2 trillion-plus when you add in the fact that the taxes begin on this legislation sooner than the benefits begin.

And cuts in Medicare are unreal at a time when we are going to see a dramatic increase in the number of people in this country who are eligible for Medicare, as the baby boomers start retiring this year, 2010, those born after World War II start retiring this year, and the number of people who are on Medicare and eligible for Medicare is going to skyrocket.

With all of this going on, the message to this Congress, to the Democratic leadership in this Congress is you need to change course, change direction, and make sure that you are reflecting the will of the American people. But instead, the leadership doesn't get that message. Even today, as Senator-elect Brown prepares to come down here to be sworn into the United States Senate sometime in the next few days, the White House and Democratic Congressional leaders have once again retreated behind closed doors to make deals and finalize a single version of their government takeover of health care. That is not what the American people want.

Speaker Pelosi said today, in response to the election results, ``Clearly the election results last night spell out that we have not been as clear about our deficit reduction measures. And that will change.'' But the American people want to know what deficit reduction measures is she talking about when she continues, along with the other Democratic leaders here in the House and in the Senate and at the White House, to plot the expenditure of $2 trillion or more in additional expenditures over the next 10 years for a health care bill that robs Medicare recipients, that increases taxes, and will cost American jobs, that will do a whole host of things to regulate Americans' lives and how they will receive their health insurance, including mandating that they have to purchase health insurance whether or not they feel they want to, and telling them pretty much what that insurance is that they are going to have to purchase because of the fact that this health insurance will be regulated by a Federal Government health insurance commissioner, one of the more than 140 new Federal Government agencies and programs included under consideration in the bill that they are planning to try to move forward.

That is simply not what the American people are looking for. They want responsible leadership. They want a bipartisan effort to deal with this challenge of rising costs of health insurance and health care. And they want bipartisan, responsible leadership in looking to ways to make health insurance and health care available to more people.

The legislation they are considering doesn't do that. Instead, it busts the budget of our country. Yesterday's election results in Massachusetts calls for a new direction in health care and in that debate. Many believe the election of Senator Scott Brown lessens the likelihood of passage of the current proposal that has been crafted by Democratic leadership. If this is indeed the case, Democrats and Republicans must work together toward health care reform that reduces costs and expands insurance coverage without reducing costs or adding to the national debt, rationing care, or putting the Federal Government between the patient and their doctor.

One such bill to consider is H.R. 3970, the Medical Rights and Reform Act, of which I am a cosponsor. The Medical Rights and Reform Act includes fiscally responsible health care reforms like medical liability reform, small business insurance pooling, and letting families and businesses buy insurance across state lines. These are ideas at that have strong bipartisan support, but have been absent from the bicameral health care negotiations. Most important, the Medical Rights and Reform Act is fiscally responsible. This alternative does not raise taxes, cut Medicare, or add to the deficit. And it lowers health care costs.

This Congress already gave us a $1.8 trillion debt. America cannot afford to spend another trillion dollars or $2 trillion as proposed by the majority, and our families cannot afford to put life and death decisions in the hands of bureaucrats.

Mr. Speaker, resetting the health care debate and working together in an open and transparent way would help Washington regain the public's trust.

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