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Health Care And Education Reconciliation Act Of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, President Obama repeatedly promised during the campaign that no one making under $250,000 per year would see their taxes increase. However, the Democrats claim to spend $2.6 trillion in new health care at a time when the country cannot afford the promises they have already made and we have a record 1-year budget deficit, $1.4 trillion.

We hear President Obama always talking about what he inherited from George W. Bush. What he inherited was nothing like what he did. He actually raised the deficit $1.4 trillion in 1 year. That is more than President Bush did in his last 5 years.

The HELP bill, which recently passed the House, represents an unprecedented expansion of government control and increases taxes on Americans during a difficult economic time. But the Democrats did not stop with one expensive health care bill. Now the Senate is debating a fix-it bill which increases taxes an additional $50 billion on the American people.

Reading through the legislation, I am struck by a myriad of ways this raises taxes on American citizens, from job-creating small businesses to middle-income families--over a half trillion dollars of new taxes.

If you happen to need a medical device--that is what we are talking about right now--you get taxed under the bill. Section 9009 of the recently passed health care bill imposes a new tax on assistive devices, which includes items such as pacemakers, ventilators, and prosthetics, and incubators for premature babies. The fix-it bill--I call this the payoff bill because as you all know the Speaker of the House had to pay off all these individuals. We understand how that works. That is what this bill is all about right now. That is why it needs to be amended. This is what we are currently debating. It actually expands to include more medical devices such as tongue depressors, elastic bandages, most hand-held dental instruments, and examination gloves.

I am joining with my Republican colleagues to propose an amendment striking the tax on medical devices.

Additionally, I have filed amendment No. 3588--that is what we are talking about now--that will strike this expansion of taxes on assistive devices for two of the most vulnerable populations, children and individuals with disabilities.

I have previously spoken on the floor about this new tax and how it hurts Americans. Let me remind you of a couple of examples.

My son-in-law Brad Swan installs pacemakers and defibrillators. I know this is true because he lives right across the street from us. At 1 o'clock in the morning he was called to an emergency involving a young 8-year-old boy with no heartbeat whatsoever.

He was born with congenital heart disease, was able to have a pacemaker put in that morning, right after he was called, and now he has a full, healthy life ahead of him. My older sister Marilyn faced a similar situation and is alive and healthy today. Additionally, Dr. Stanley DeFehr, a cardiologist in Bartlesville, OK, explained to me that:

The cost of a pacemaker [we are talking about $5,000; it is something that lasts 10 years] pales in comparison to the cost of a stroke or multiple fractures.

Now with this tax, we are making these medical devices more expensive for families, which may prevent others from accessing the device they need in order to enhance or even save their lives.

I have never been through anything like this in the 20 years I have been here. We look at the tax increase in this bill of $569 billion; now it is going to be more than that.

Additionally, I was talking this morning in Chickasha, OK, on a radio show, and the person intervening me was talking about his 94-year-old mother and how she depends on Medicare. I explained that there is $523 billion in Medicare cuts in this bill.

So, you know, the White House was celebrating. You could hear the champagne corks popping all night long. Yes, they successfully increased taxes by $569 billion.

So I encourage people to vote for this amendment to at least relieve part of the problem that is out there. It is amendment No. 3588.

I yield the floor.


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