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Public Statements

Health Care

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, a little earlier today, the President signed the Democratic health spending bill into law, and he used the occasion to point out a number of things he wants people to know about it. Now he will travel around the country, talking up the bill to a skeptical public. Clearly, Democrats in Washington still do not get it. Americans already know what is in this bill. That is precisely why they do not like it.

Most Americans out there are not celebrating today. They are dumbfounded by the fact that Congress just passed this 2,685-page monstrosity against their wishes, on the backs of their children and grandchildren who they know will have to pick up the tab.

With all due respect, you do not pass a bill the American people did not want and then try to sell them on it. You win their support first, then pass it on a bipartisan basis, just as we have done on every other piece of major social legislation we have passed over the past 45 years.

People oppose this bill not because they do not know what is in it but because they know exactly what is in it. But for some reason, Democrats in Washington still think they can continue to spin the public on this bill. They are still trying to sell it as the one and only solution to problems that we all recognize exist in our health care system.

They will say this is the only solution to controlling costs. They will say this is the only solution to covering preexisting conditions. They will say this is the only way to keep people from getting kicked off their insurance plans.

The American people are not stupid. They know these are false choices.

They know you do not have to slash Medicare a $ 1/2 trillion to lower premiums.

You do not have to impose job-killing taxes to keep people from being kicked off their plan.

People know you will not save money on health care by spending another $2.6 trillion on health care.

They know you can do these things without forcing taxpayers to cover the cost of abortions.

They know you do not reduce the deficit by creating a massive new government program that even Democrats have described as a Ponzi scheme.

They know you can go a long way toward doing all of these things without creating a brandnew entitlement at a time when we cannot even cover the cost of the entitlements we already have.

They know Democrats can claim to know the verdict of history all they want, but that history will remember this past week not for giving Americans a boost but from diverting us from the real task of enacting commonsense health care reforms that actually lower the cost of care without undermining the health care system we already have.

Americans wanted us to get at the root of this problem, which is cost. Instead, Democrats are spending trillions more on a system that already costs too much and forcing seniors, small business owners, and middle-class families to pay for it.

You can call that a lot of things. You might even call it historic. But you cannot call it reform.

The fact is, this bill spends $2.6 trillion at a time of near double-digit inflation, while putting the real problem off for another day. It kicks the can down the road.

Democrats in Washington can celebrate all they want, but the celebration is going to be short lived. The American people are not fooled.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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