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Public Statements

Health Care Reform

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, as we meet here in Washington this week, unemployment continues to hover around 10 percent. Tens of millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. The national debt is at a staggering all-time high. In response to all this, the administration wants lawmakers to go down to the White House to talk about a health care bill Americans have already rejected resoundingly. The American people thought the debate on this approach to reform was over. They issued their verdict on the substance of the Democratic bills and the process that was used to force them on the public. Yet here we are, once again, being told by the White House we have to consider the same health care bills that caused such a backlash across the country in December. Democrats either aren't listening to the American people or they are going down the same road they have gone down again and again over the past year: put a bill together behind closed doors and then try to force it through Congress along a party-line vote and ultimately onto a public that doesn't want it.

Americans don't want to be told what is best for them. They call the shots. What they are telling lawmakers in Washington to do on health care is to stop and start over. They want us to put the old bills on the shelf, pull out
a clean sheet of paper, bring all the parties together, and start over.

They are telling us they want a new bill. It is no wonder, since the bills we have seen would slash Medicare, increase taxes, and lead to higher insurance premiums. You could call this kind of approach many things, but you can't call it reform. Americans want real reform. That is what I had hoped Thursday's meeting at the White House would present, an opportunity for us to share the best ideas and work together on commonsense solutions. I am disappointed the White House seems to view it instead as an opportunity to simply restart where we left off in December. Americans don't know how else to say it. They are not interested in reform that starts with either of these two bills. The American people have been quite clear about that. They are not interested in reform that starts with either of these two bills.

If you think they are mad about the process they have seen so far, wait until Democrats in Washington completely ignore them and try to jam these bills through one more time. People aren't interested in so-called reform that raises costs instead of lowering them. They are not interested in massive cuts to Medicare. They are not interested in new taxes at a time when we are already struggling. They are not interested in a government-run health care system that will inevitably lead to delays and to rationing. They want step-by-step reforms that address the core of our problem, which is cost, not grand government schemes that only expand existing problems, increase our debt, and extend the reach of government further and further into our lives.

Reform is necessary. Unfortunately, it seems Washington Democrats are so wedded to their own flawed vision of reform that they would rather have nothing at all done about health care than to implement the kinds of changes Americans want.

When it comes to solving problems, Americans want us to listen first and then, if necessary, offer targeted, step-by-step solutions. Above all, they are tired of a process that shuts them out. They are tired of giant bills negotiated in secret, then jammed through on a party-line vote in the middle of the night. It should be clear by now, Americans are tired of grand schemes imposed from above. They have been telling us exactly that for an entire year. Incredibly, our friends on the other side still don't seem to get it. But Americans see what is going on, and that is why they will reject this bill one more time.

I yield the floor.

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