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. GI Joe

    As we watch the rather juvenile GOPers continue to do nothing more than obstruct and spread lies and fear, there's a whole bunch of us out here quietly organizing to vote the rascals out as soon as possible.

    We won't forget.

    October 10, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Dave

    Just wait until the bill is passed through congress next week. . . .

    (Did they ever find out if the moon blast produced water yesterday? Maybe the republicans can go test to see if its livable up there.)

    October 10, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. Death Panel moderator

    This could be a financial windfall for illegal immigrants

    October 10, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Compromising with republicans is useless. Thanks to compromises the health care 'reform' bill has already been torn apart, amended, and completely rewritten to satisfy all the complaints of republicans. And yet still not a single republican supports the bill. A bill that by now they have essentially written themselves! Then what's the point of compromising?

    October 10, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Terry from West Texas

    “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."

    Teddy Roosevelt tried to solve this problem in 1906. Harry Truman tried in 1948. Bill Clinton tried in 1992. Barack Obama is trying again now. Republicans say "what's the rush?" So is he suggesting that we need to work on health care for another 103 years? Is he saying that the Republicans currently in the Senate – 22 of whom have been there for at least ten years and 8 of whom have been there for more than 20 years – have given no thought during those years to health care? What do they think about?

    To be blunt, Sen. LeMieux is simply lying. The Conservative strategy is to stall. He's just following the playbook. The truth is, LeMieux has absolutely no intention of doing anything at all about health care.

    October 10, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. liberalshavenoballs

    I sure hope that this healthcare program involves analytical and well reasoned thought as opposed to the nobel prize committee who thought with spur of the moment emotion with no care for a deserved prize winner. To give it to someone that had only been in office for two weeks was a slap in the face to the other nominees.

    October 10, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Sam

    Just more of the often debunked nonsense from the "just say no" GOP. Why don't they want to do something good for the American people?

    October 10, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. MH in Michigan

    Why do the Republicans keep saying the same mis-truths over and over? Do they all take the same lies that Hannity and Boss Limbaugh say as definite truths. This Senator says he does not know all that is in the bill that is being considered but he knows enough to report what is contained in the bill. I guess if you cannot have an honest debate then just say no and spread lies. The Republican Party is putting politics above the good of the nation. Using Limbaugh’s tactics he said Friday that he agrees with the Taliban and Osama. Since he is the boss so the rest must follow.

    October 10, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Crist = Opportunist

    Gov. Crist's crony appointment repeats the same old tired lies from the Party of No.

    Behind close doors? Where has LeMieux been? Apparently not paying attention to the publicly aired hearings of the Senate Finance Committee or versions posted on-line.

    The cuts in Medicare are actually against greedy insurance companies that are inefficiently over billing the taxpayers for funds that should be going towards our seniors.

    Speaking of cuts however, the FL budget was balanced off the backs of innocent seniors and children, who could not afford lobbyists to get the Republican-led legislature to maintain tax loopholes for their rich corporate interests.

    Not to mention, there were stimulus funds that Gov. Crist originally accepted from Pres. Obama before trying to bash the president now in a desperate attempt to pander to the GOP primary.

    If LeMieux's nonsense is any indication of crony opportunism, Floridians should simply say "no thanks" to Crist's transparent ploys next year.

    October 10, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Wesley in the West

    The GOP will do NOTHING again!!!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Coonass

    Hope they can come up with a decent plan that won't cost the taxpayers more money.I see where th naacp is pushing the moderate democrat Senator firom Louisiana to vote for the government provided health care plan so that all the welfare sucking population here will be covered with the money from people that actually work for a living.Hope she holds out against them. Give away, give away, give away to the crack heads.

    October 10, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. right wingnuts live in their parent's basement.

    You can always tell when a republican is lying, their jowls are vibrating and their lips are moving.

    October 10, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Clint

    liberalshavenoballs wrote:"I sure hope that this healthcare program involves analytical and well reasoned thought"

    Yes, the Dems have thought this out, problem solved. However, the Republicans aren't capable of analytical thought, nor are they capable of governing this country. They should be in a cave somewhere with their friends Hamas, the Taliban, & Osama. They have more in common with those terrorist then they do with normal Americans.

    October 10, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. right wingnuts live in their parent's basement.

    Wing nuts appear to be a little slow with their thinking and reasoning skills.

    October 10, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Jane, TX

    The common people's voice must be heard through our say in the voting booth. That is, unless you have a lot of money to buy your vote (that most people do not have.) Healthcare is one of the most important issues of our time. It is time for our elected officials to pass a revision of healthcare that is affordable to all citizens in the United States. We the people have a voice with our vote, use it in the next election term, 2010. Our congressmen and senators need to realize they can be voted out of office!

    October 10, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. jim

    The promotional messages for universal health care coverage seem to focus on families being financially wiped out by serious illnesses. Why has no one suggested catastrophic health care coverage instead of complete coverage? That would seem to address the problem of serious health crises, and be more in line with what this bankrupt country can afford.

    October 10, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Tasneem - IL

    I don't think PRESIDENT Obama won the Nobel Peace prize for the excellency of his presidency. I think he won it because he brought about a global movement of would be lackadaisical stand byers into people who really for the first time in their lives believed that by standing together, they could effect change. He gave HOPE to people who thought they didn't matter. And he did that not only for Americans who voted for him, but for people all over the world. Is that not something? I think its something.

    Even the people who are against him have been roused to action by his candidacy and presidency. So even in backlash, he has caused people to find their voice, take action, stand against policy and leaders who they feel don't represent them, and form national tea parties.

    And what about volunteerism. He began pushing for it in his candidacy and the number of people who are first time volunteers in their communities is incredible.

    Yes you may feel like he hasn't done enough as president to deserve such an honor, and yes you may hate that he is adored and respected by a good percentage of THE WORLD. That may really set your soul on fire, but my request to you is this. Don't hate. Its ugly and it darkens your shine.

    October 10, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. jules sand-perkins

    For sure, ObamaCare will bring down the costs of health care for those who will receive it for nothing through subsidized health-care insurance.
    ObamaCare will raise my health-care expenditures, however, because I shall be taxed to pay for the health-care insurance of persons whom I have never even met.

    October 10, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Ken Williams

    I'm sure I'm in the minority but I think a healthy debate of all philosophies is a good thing. Just because Obama says something doesn't make it so.The question of what's the rush is very legitimate. Nothing passed will take effect until 2013. There was a tremendous rush for the stimulus which as of yet has only spent around 40% into the economy. There will be no do overs let's get something good not fast!

    October 10, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. tigerakabj

    Rush Limbaugh, the leader of the GOP (it is what it is, since every GOP elected official who has criticized him this year has apologized a short time after), just said he agrees with the Taliban. He said it. Now what are our soldiers fighting over there in Afghanistan supposed to think?

    The GOP is done. They've got nothing. They cheered when America lost the Olympic bid for 2016, and they condemned Obama (and by extension, we America) for getting a prestigious award for PEACE! Now, isn't it much easier to fight terrorism when you have the world united behind you instead of us doing it solo? And we expect this party to give a rip about 44,000+ people dying a year b/c of lack of health insurance?

    Obama and the Dems, pass the best bill you can (you can build off of it later). Get us a public option that over 65% of us support. And Eric Holder, continue with the torture investigations. Mr. Jim "Waterloo" Demint (just like yesterday's news) will get another surprise.

    October 10, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Filp

    Here's what it boils down to:

    GOP to citizens of America "Drop Dead."

    Who can expect to get health care in America as insurance prices reach towards 30% of GDP?

    1. Elderly.

    2. Inmates in prisons.

    3. Terrorists being held by captive by US worldwide.

    4. Members of congress.

    Thanks GOP / RNC for doing nothing.

    October 10, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. You Partisan Idiots are worse than little children

    Once again – these posts are chocked full of Democrat and Republican cheerleaders spouting out the latest hand me down talking points.

    Seriously, can any of you people think for yourselves?

    It's no wonder that this country is in the shape that it's in with partisan children squabbling at each other .

    It seems to me both sides of the health care reform debate – tell half truths – lie about what the oppositions key points are and twist and spin every aspect to reflect in favor of their "side".

    How pathetic!!

    October 10, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. wildhorses

    The Dems are a bunch of legal thugs. The are constantly inventing new ways to take our money. After the fines, fees and taxes in this monster bill, they will be onto Value Added Tax(VAT). I am sure they will have a new catchy, nice sounding, yet deceiving phrase.

    October 10, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Death Panel Sarah

    He doesn't serve me by obstructing healthcare reform!!!!!

    October 10, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. jj

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

    CNN, really? If GOP is offering nothing, why should we care about the response....

    October 10, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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