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Public Statements

Supreme Court Health Care Decision

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Graves, so very much. I want to commend you for your work on this issue and your leadership for principled solutions, principled solutions in the area of health care and everywhere else.

I know that Republicans think every day is the Fourth of July and Democrats think that every day is April 15. Why would I say that? Today we've been highlighting it in this conversation we're having here, because our friends on the other side of the aisle believe that every day is another day to raise taxes.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States said, If you want to raise taxes, have at it. Raise them as high as you want. In fact, the Democrats are so incredibly happy this day because it's not just that they can now raise taxes or fight to raise taxes on what we do, but goodness gracious, they can fight to raise taxes on what we don't do. In fact, if you don't do something, then the Federal Government can say, Oh, you'd better do that or we're going to raise your taxes. And that is exactly what the Court said today, which confounds and astounds everybody.

I was privileged to sit in the Court today, though, and hear the reading of the ruling, and Chief Justice Roberts said one thing that I found very, very interesting. He said, ``It's not our job to protect citizens from their political decisions.''

``It's not our job to protect citizens from their political decisions.'' And that's exactly what this was. This decision was fixed on Election Day in 2008. This decision came down on Election Day 2008.

As a physician, I want to talk for a very brief moment here about the incredible importance of Election Day 2012 because, as you said, Mr. Graves, there are a lot of things in this bill that we're not just talking about money. As a physician, I know what we're talking about is people's lives, the health care of the American people. And nothing could be so important, nothing could be so personal.

And what the Court said today is, Let the things in there stand. The $500 billion reduction, the $500 billion decrease from the Medicare program--taking the Medicare program and saying, You don't need that money, seniors in this country. You don't need that money. We're going to use it over here.

What does that mean? What that means is that those seniors--your parents, your grandparents, the parents and grandparents of this great country, the people of the Greatest Generation cited by this country, are now going to have diminished health care.

And how are they going to do it? They're not going to do it through the front door. They're not going to say, We're going to decrease this care for you transparently, openly. Oh, no. They're going to do it through the backdoor, something called the Independent Payment Advisory Board that we've talked about before, the 15-member bureaucratic panel. Nonelected individuals are going to have the power, under this law, to say, Dr. Smith, you can't do that for Mrs. Jones. If you do it, we're not going to pay you. That's the coercive power of this government. That's the coercive power that this Court today said is okay.

Well, Mr. Graves, you and I both know that it's not okay for us, and it's not okay for the American people. And that's why we stand here tonight, and we say with every ounce of our being that the election that occurred in 2008 may have written this in stone, but there are some sandblasters out there. And what we're going to do between now and the first Tuesday in November is to make certain that the American people understand and appreciate that there are folks in this town who are fighting as hard as we can to uphold the rule of law, to uphold the Constitution, and to adhere to those fundamental principles, especially in health care--the principles of affordability and accessibility and quality and choices for the American people.

The bad news was written today. The good news is that you can solve all of these challenges in health care without putting the Federal Government in charge of the thing. We've got the solutions. We've talked about them before. We'll be going on the road now talking about them from now until November, because the American people want to know that there is somebody fighting for them in this town on their behalf. And we are.

What we need from the American people is for them to stand up and say, No more. We will not tolerate a government that will reach into our lives and destroy quality health care in this country to the degree that the Court said it was okay to do today.

I thank my friend for the wonderful work you are doing and for yielding me this time.


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