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Repealing Mandatory Funding for Graduate Medical Education

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Chairman, I find myself in opposition to the underlying bill and the amendment.

You just heard a very cogent argument. I don't understand why we ought to have ignorant doctors. It doesn't make any sense to me. Abortions are sometimes necessary for saving the life of a pregnant woman. And to have a medical system in which the doctors don't know about that procedure is really stupid. I won't say this amendment is that, but it's really not wise to have ignorant physicians. And it's really not wise not to have physicians at all.

What in the world are we thinking here? What's the purpose of this amendment and this particular resolution? To deny American men, women, and children the opportunity to go to a doctor? We know all across this Nation that there is a shortage of primary care physicians. In most every community of California, there is a shortage of primary care physicians. Plenty of dermatologists, but not primary care physicians.

So what are we going to do here? Eliminate the funding to train primary care physicians.

Now, that in itself is bad enough. But this is just one piece of a much larger plan to dismantle health care in America. The repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act will increase the cost of medical services all across this Nation and particularly increase the cost to government. Not my projection. The independent Congressional Budget Office said clearly that the Affordable Health Care Act will reduce the cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

So repeal it. Increase the deficit. Huh? Is that what this is all about? I don't get it guys and women. Makes no sense to me.

And now in your budget, the Republicans go after Medicare and terminate Medicare for every American who is not yet over 55 years of age? Terminate it. And turn it over to the rapacious, greedy, profit-before-people health insurance industry, an industry that I know a great deal about. I was the insurance commissioner in California for 8 years, and I know those characters. It is about profit. It's not about caring for people.

And when you say the government shouldn't make decisions, the government does not make decisions in Medicare. The physicians make decisions. But if you turn Medicare over to the insurance companies, it will be the insurance companies that make decisions about medical services.

And by the way, you also voted to repeal those sections of the Affordable Health Care Act that protect all of us from the rapaciousness of the health insurance industry. Eliminating a law which eliminates such things as preexisting conditions, age, sex discrimination, and the rest. So you repeal that and give back to the insurance companies the opportunity to discriminate. And now you want to throw tomorrow's seniors into that same pool of sharks.

I don't get it. It makes no sense whatsoever. It perhaps is the worst idea I've heard in the 35 years I have been involved in public health and in public policy. It makes no sense whatsoever.

And this bill on top of it? Come on. We're not going to train primary care physicians? What in the world are you thinking? I don't get it. I don't get the whole strategy. It is a strategy that will put America's health at risk. It is a strategy that will deny benefits. It is a strategy that will provide us, with this latest amendment, doctors that are ignorant about basic women's health. And it is a strategy that will deny us the necessary primary care physicians.

What in the world are my Republican colleagues doing here about the deficit? Come on now. What you're doing is going to increase the deficit. You're going to increase the deficit. If there are not primary care physicians, then you'll go to the emergency room. And everybody knows that the emergency room is more expensive than a doctor's office.

What are you doing? I don't get it, guys. I don't understand. You're worried about the deficit; yet you take action that increases the deficit? It makes no sense to me.


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