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Repealing Mandatory Funding for Graduate Medical Education

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MARKEY. You know, this is a crazy debate that we're having here right now because the Republicans, they keep saying to the Democrats, Well, what's the plan? So we say to the Republicans, Well, what's your plan? Your plan just seems to be saying to Grandma and Grandpa that they're taking too much. That they really--they're taking America for a ride, and we have to cut Medicare. Their health care is too good. And Grandma and Grandpa, they didn't do enough for America.

So the Democrats, we turn around and say, Hey, how about looking at it this way: How about before you go after Grandma and her Medicare card and how about you say to Warren Buffet, Hey, how about not taking those extra tax breaks?

And the Republicans say, We can't take away any tax breaks from Warren Buffet and all of the other multi-multimillionaires and billionaires. Because they've contributed so much to America, we don't want to touch their money, even though that would give us hundreds of billions of dollars.

And then we say to them, Well, how about prescription drugs? How about we negotiate the price for prescription drugs, for Medicare, the way we do
with the VA? That would save about a quarter of a trillion dollars over a 10-year period. They say, That would be unfair to the drug companies. We can't touch them either.

Then we say to them, Well, you know, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, it's winding down now. Maybe we could look into the defense budget and save a few billion dollars there before we ask Grandma to sacrifice on the health care that she gets from Medicare? And the Republicans say, We can't do that either. We can't look at any cuts in the defense budget. That would be much too hard on those defense contractors.

So then we say to them, How about the oil industry? At least the oil industry, the $40 billion in tax breaks which they're going to get over the next 10 years? I mean, does anyone in America really believe that they need tax breaks in order to have an incentive to go out and drill for oil when people are paying $3, $3.50, $4 a gallon at the pump?

But the Republicans say, No. You can't touch the oil companies either. You've got to give big tax breaks to the oil industry as well, even as they're tipping Grandma and Grandpa upside down at the pump when they're coming in to put in their unleaded $4 a gallon gasoline--self-serve, by the way--at the pump.

So what do they do instead? What they do is they put an oil rig on top of the Medicare card so that the oil industry can drill into Grandma's Medicare and pull out the funding in order to provide the tax breaks for Big Oil, for Warren Buffet, for the prescription drug industry, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's all off of Grandma. She's the one. We've targeted the person responsible for all of the wasteful spending in the United States. It's all Grandma's fault. Let's cut Medicare. She didn't do enough to build our country through the 1930s, the 1940s, the 1950s, and the 1960s. It's all on Grandma.

So this drill rig that they are building into the pocketbooks of Grandma in order to find that funding, that's what their plan is all about. It's an oil pipeline into the pocketbooks of the seniors. They want to cut checkups for Grandma while they cut checks for the oil companies. They want to cut health care to Grandma and give wealth care to big oil companies and to billionaires and to prescription drug companies.

Their plan is big tax breaks for Big Oil and tough breaks for Grandma and for the seniors in our country.

And the CEO of Chevron? He says it's un-American to think about increasing taxes on the oil industry. You know what I say to him? It's unbelievable that you could make that argument. But even more unbelievable that the Republican Party would accept that argument and cut Medicare for Grandma. To privatize it, to hand it over to the insurance industry, to increase the cost by $6,000 per year for their costs even as they say to Warren Buffet, the oil companies, the big drug companies, the arms contractors, Don't worry. We're going to protect your programs. It's just Grandma that's on the cutting block.

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is a debate of historical dimensions. And until the Republicans come forward with a plan--which they don't have in order to make Medicare solvent--by raising the revenues out of these other areas from millionaires, from the oil industry, and from others, do not expect us to say to Grandma it's her fault. It's not her fault. She built this country. She deserves this benefit. And we should not be cutting it.

This Republican plan to end Medicare is just something that wants to turn it over to the insurance industry. Vote ``no'' on the Republican plan.


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