October 10th, 2009
11:05 AM ET
13 years ago

GOP takes on Dems' health care reform proposals in the Senate

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator George LeMieux of Florida delivers Saturday's weekly Republican address.

Responding to LeMieux's remarks, in a statement, the Democratic National Committee said Saturday that "LeMieux reiterates the same debunked GOP claims we’ve heard over and over for weeks on end. Despite the fact that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported this week that the Baucus health care bill [currently under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee] will reduce the deficit and bend the cost curve while covering almost 95% of the uninsured, Republican leaders continue to deny that the health reform bill will bring down costs."

Read the full text of Saturday's Republican weekly address after the jump.

Related: Obama highlights 'consensus' on health care reform

Transcript of Republican weekly address for Saturday, October 10:

“Hello, I’m Senator George LeMieux of Florida. It’s an honor and privilege to be serving the people of the Sunshine State in the United States Senate.

“We’ve all seen the headlines and know that one of the biggest issues pending before Congress is health care.

“Families in Florida and across America are struggling with the increasing costs of health insurance, and tens of millions Americans have no health insurance at all.

“We in the Congress have a duty to tackle this problem, but the solution we settle upon should not be rushed, and the solution should not be worse than the problem we are trying to solve.

“Right now, Senate Democrats and White House officials are behind closed doors crafting their final health care overhaul proposal.

“While the Democrats in Congress have not yet provided the actual language of their proposed law, we do know enough for Americans to be concerned.

“So far, according to the Senate Budget Committee, we know the true cost of this proposal is at least $1.8 trillion over 10 years.

“We know it takes nearly $500 billion out of Medicare funding for seniors, and requires our states to shoulder billions more in health care costs, which they can ill-afford to do.

“The Democrat-sponsored proposal in the Senate cuts nearly $135 billion from Medicare Advantage, over $150 billion from hospitals that care for seniors, more than $51 billion from home health agencies and hospices, and nearly $70 billion in additional cuts or fee increases.

“These cuts would arrive at a time when projections show the Medicare program will be insolvent in less than 8 years.

“Taking money from a program already in financial trouble is not responsible; it’s not fair to our seniors who paid into the program, and it’s not fair to our children and grandchildren who will be burdened with massive debt obligations.

“Another part of this plan would deny millions of people the choice of health plans that best suit their needs by forcing them onto Medicaid. This is contrary to the President’s promise to give the American people choice.

“Not to mention, dramatically expanding Medicaid adds a huge burden to state governments at a time when they can least afford it.

“Over the last two years in Florida, we had to cut nearly $8 billion from state programs to meet our state’s balanced budget requirement.

“Unlike the federal government, our states have to balance their budgets, and they can’t print more money to pay for programs they can’t afford.

“Piling on additional obligations would mean even more severe cuts to roads, schools, law enforcement and other essential state services.

“Budget neutral doesn’t mean forcing states to cut vital programs to make up what the federal government isn’t willing to pay.

“That is why America’s governors, both Democrat and Republican alike, have voiced their opposition to this plan.

“The plan being pushed by Democrats in Congress also adds a new tax burden to our families. President Obama said families earning less than $250,000 a year would not be subject to any tax increases; but this proposal contains a mandate for families to buy insurance.

“Failing to comply would mean every adult would have to pay a $750 penalty.

“The President says this isn’t a tax; I don’t buy it. The penalty is paid directly to the IRS when you pay your taxes, and it’s certainly not optional.

“If it looks like a tax, and it’s paid like a tax, then it is a tax, plain and simple.

“There are also new taxes on health insurance providers, manufacturers and importers of medicine, and medical device manufacturers.

“Two non-partisan groups unequivocally state that these taxes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums. It is likely that the current proposal will increase your health insurance costs, not reduce them.

“At a time when Americans are struggling to make ends meet and the country’s debt continues to rise, we should not be raising taxes, and we should not be undertaking any proposal which will increase the debt our children will have to pay.

“We should especially not be doing these things when the proposals being debated are likely to raise your health insurance costs, not lower them.

“Republicans in Congress are willing to work toward targeted steps to broaden health care access and affordability, but we should take some more time get it right, rather than move quickly and get it wrong.

“Real reform ought to focus on stopping the estimated $60 billion in Medicare waste, fraud and abuse, and using those funds to care for seniors.

“Real reform ought to address portability – allowing people to keep their health insurance whether they change jobs or move to a different state.

“Real reform ought to reduce the incidence of doctors having to practice defensive medicine – ordering a litany of unnecessary and expensive tests in order to avoid frivolous lawsuits.

“President Obama has said he wants a budget-neutral, bipartisan bill.

“Republicans welcome that effort.

“As we prepare to debate the plan in the United States Senate, I remain hopeful we can reach consensus on a proposal that will reduce costs and increase access to health care for those who are uninsured, while protecting the quality of care for all Americans.

“I’m Senator George LeMieux. Thank you for listening.”

Filed under: GOP • Health care • Popular Posts • Senate
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    UNTIL THE GOP gets on board with the people for the people then they need to shut up and watch us get a program that every american can use .. and take the health care they are receiving away from them .. and they can deal with high health costs .like the rest of AMERICA

    October 10, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. I love it..................

    The GOP has lost the health care argument. In addition, this week, Mr. Obama won the Nobel peace prize while the GOP was still in the middle of celebrating his turned down bid for the Chicago Olympics. As they now stare in disbelief with motuhs open, they should be careful as flies may land in those open mouths..........ha ha ha

    October 10, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Ken, AZ

    Since when have truth and facts influenced the GOP's and right-winger's opinions?

    October 10, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. hockey dad

    We are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend here in Canada,.. and one of the blessings we give thanks for, is universal healthcare. It is our wish that our American friends can also give thanks come next month ,on your Thanksgiving, for a healthcare with a public auction,.. keep the faith, and good luck.

    October 10, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Bob

    What is no one is talking about is how is this going to get paid for really. Is medicare really that over funded that we can get 400-500 Billion out of it to pay? Do you really think that Taxes are not going to go up? There has never been a bill passed anywhere in congress by either party that does what they say it will. Health Care needs to get fixed. Let's cut Tort issues, let's let insurance be bougth in other states like car insurance, let's put language in the bill that really says in plain English that if you are not a citizen you cannot get anything other then basic life saving health care in this country – and we pay for it. I am concerned that people who cannot afford a tax increase – most of us – will eat this bill with out salt and pepper. I agree now is the time but lets do it the right way the first time.

    October 10, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. annie against biased news

    Anyone stupid enough to believe this government rationed health care plan will reduce the deficit deserves to have their taxes raised! Oops, thats right the occupants of the USA in favor of this don't pay taxes either because they have never worked or they cheat on their taxes like rangel and tiny timmy tax cheat.

    October 10, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Steven

    Hey coonass(posted at 11:46am ET) your are a shining example of the republican base!!!! You just keep on spouting your hate!
    Compromise with the likes of you America hating bigots( I don't care what color you are, you are a BIGOT) is useless, crawl back under your sheet while the rest of us try to actually solve some of the problems in our nation.

    October 10, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Even the CBO admits there are some really optimistic assumptions in their estimate–like that Congress won't keep ramping up the amount of give-away as they always do. Like various kinds of savings will be realised, which they never are.

    Further, since the Democrats refused to allow an amendment guaranteeing they'll never include middle-class tax increases of fees to pay for any of this, it's just about certain they will raise taxes and impose fees.

    The Baucus bill is basically a huge give-away to insurance companies and welfare bums, all at the expense of American taxpayers.

    October 10, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. annie s

    Well, it's official. Even the new guy is a clueless liar.

    October 10, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Dixon

    All these politicians who say government doesn't work should be fired. If I told my boss year after year that I can't do anything right I would be fired. The fact is we better start demanding results from these people.

    October 10, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
1 2 3 4