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FAA Air Transportation Modernization And Safety Improvement Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, first of all, I commend the Senator from Kentucky, Mr. Paul, for his remarks and particularly his reference to the Constitution. When I read the decision of Judge Vinson in Florida, it read a lot like the Congressional Record of December 23 of last year when we were on the floor right before Christmas Eve debating whether to pass the Affordable Care Act. Judge Vinson was clear and precise both on his ruling on the commerce clause as well as recognizing the necessary and proper clause nor the general welfare clause can substantiate requiring people to make the decisions that the health care bill requires.

I am going to vote for the amendment by Senator McConnell to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I wish to repeat the reasons I stated a year and a half ago on the floor of the Senate as to why I believe that. First of all, it has little or nothing to do with affordable care, in my judgment, and we have seen in the 13 months since its passage and the 9 months since its signing increase after increase in costs, both in terms of insurance premiums as well as the application of the law to the practice of medicine. So it is not about affordable care; it is about care going up in its costs.

Secondly, if you look at the way in which the bill ostensibly claimed it paid for itself, it shot big holes in America's health care future, taking $500 billion out of Medicare to begin with, reducing the reimbursement almost in its entirety for home health care which, in a State such as Georgia with many rural people, is the primary way in which health care is delivered to them, and the assessment of taxes, whether it be on hearing aids and medical devices or the 3.8-percent surtax placed on earned income for those people making more than $200,000 or families making $250,000.

It is appropriate to start over, but by starting over it doesn't mean we delay dealing with the problems Americans face with their health care. It may mean we, in fact, accelerate it beyond what this bill would have done if it is carried out to its entirety.

When we had the meeting at the Blair House a year and a half ago in the middle of the health care debate, when the President and the Democratic leadership sat down across the table from the Republican leadership and for 4 hours engaged in a discourse over the differences in the two ideas, it became quite clear what the majority wanted to do. They wanted to change the paradigm and put the government in charge of health care in America.

That is why every provision in the bill, from the fines for not buying insurance to the provisions of reimbursement, drives government to be the decisionmaker and the controller, just as the distinguished Senator from Kentucky talked about the price of health care today. The price of health care begins and ends with the assessment of reimbursement made in Washington, DC.

So, No. 1, we do need to change the paradigm and get back to a capitalistic-type system and a competitive system. For example, repealing the barrier on interstate sales of health insurance and having a national marketplace. Allow affiliated groups or similar groups to join together and compete across State lines as a larger risk pool like independent contractors, like the profession I came from, real estate agents, who are not employees, who don't have the benefits of ERISA coverage but bound together could compete with IBM or any other company in buying insurance as a group with a large enough risk pool to reduce the cost of their premiums and raise their coverage.

It is very important to realize that the real solution to health care, both in terms of its costs as well as a healthy America in the future, is the way we practice wellness and disease management. Those are the types of programs we can then begin to incentivize now to raise them in their practice and lowering in the outyears the cost of health care and begin to get our arms around what is right now a spiraling contributor to the deficit and to the debt.

But most importantly of all, the fact that over 70 waivers have been issued by Health and Human Services already is proof the bill is flawed, and it is proof its continuation up until its beginning in 2014 is going to be nothing more than making other exceptions for other groups for trying to make a bill that is designed to fail work. It won't happen. It should be repealed.

I commend the leader on his amendment, and I will vote for it this afternoon.

I yield the remainder of my time.


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