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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PRICE of Georgia. I want to commend Mr. Ryan for standing up for the future of our country and for his dedication to fundamental American principles.

Mr. Chairman, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen, said last year that the greatest threat to our national security--the greatest threat to our national security--was our debt. Now, there are clear differences--you've heard them here today--about how we should address that debt. Americans have a choice to make, and it is a choice that will determine the future of our great country. By ignoring the drivers of our debt, by ignoring Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, the President's most recent budget proposal ensures a future of ever-increasing debt and doubt and decline. In fact, before the Budget Committee, Mr. Chairman, we had earlier this spring Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who admitted of the administration that they don't ``have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. What we do know is we don't like yours.''

Now there is real leadership.

The President's health care law, the current law of the land, cuts Medicare by more than $500 billion for more government programs. The President's health care law ends the Medicare guarantee and puts us on this red path over here, Mr. Chairman, increasing the amount of debt that gives the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pause to say that the greatest threat is our debt.

The President's health care law empowers the Independent Payment Advisory Board to effectively deny care to seniors. You've heard about it--15 unelected bureaucrats. None of them--none of them--can be actively practicing physicians. As a physician, I can tell you that gives me great pause.

You heard the gentleman from New Jersey down here, saying that, in their program, if a doctor says that you need cardiac surgery, you get it. Well, on the contrary, Mr. Chairman. In fact, if a doctor says you need cardiac surgery and if the board of unelected bureaucrats says you don't get it, guess what? You don't get it.

Then my friend from Maryland says, Oh, no. You can bring it to the floor of the House. You can bring it to Congress. You could have a review and vote on the floor of the House for your cardiac surgery.

Hardly, Mr. Chairman. It just isn't going to happen. The fact of the matter is this unelected board is charged with finding $500 billion in reductions in payments to Medicare physicians. Consequently, what will happen is that it will essentially deny care to seniors.

As a physician, I believe that the President's health care law threatens all of the principles that we hold dear: accessibility, affordability, quality, responsiveness, innovation, choices. Every single principle of health care is violated by the President's health care law. It destroys the doctor-patient relationship. Yet it's not just devastating to the future of our health. It's also devastating to the future of our economy, which is, again, what drives the chart. Where is the middle class, Mr. Chairman, on this chart? In the red. Where are the American Dreams of our kids and grandkids? In the red.

So we are committed to the full repeal of the President's health care law, and today we advance bipartisan solutions to improve and to strengthen Medicare. Where the President and Democrats fail to act here in Washington, we will lead.

Our plan has no changes for those in or near retirement. It allows choices, including the Medicare option, so that patients control their health decisions, not bureaucrats. When bureaucrats choose, patients lose. In the future, Americans, through a guaranteed system--read the bill, Mr. Chairman--will be able to select the health coverage that is right for them, not what Washington says they must have. Our solution is guaranteed, it's voluntary, and it's bipartisan--something our friends on the other side of the aisle simply cannot say.

Our plan also includes commonsense tax reform--closing loopholes, lowering rates, broadening the base, helping job creators. It's a system that is more fair and more simple and that allows us to compete in the world because a vibrant and robust, growing economy is necessary to get us back on the right track, and the right track is the green path here, Mr. Chairman, that gets us to a balanced budget and paying off our debt.

Now, we know that the Senate won't adopt our budget. Remember, they haven't done one in over 3 years. So the solution to the Senate and to the Presidential gridlock is with the American people. It's the people of this great country who will decide the direction that we take, not Washington. It's the people who will decide. We offer a positive budget, a positive plan, for both our health care and our economy. It's a path to prosperity, and I urge my colleagues to support it.


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