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. chenna_benna

    Same old rhetoric. Still no plan. If the GOP thinks they can win in next years elections by doing nothing, they are sadly mistaken.

    October 10, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Enough

    Stay strong and just say NO, to this crappy plan. True, they don't need your support and if they insist on shoving this crap down our throats, they can do it all by themselves and take full responsibility. the MAJORITY of Americans do NOT want this plan.

    October 10, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Tom in CA

    Today I found out that our health insurance premiums are increasing 22.89% on January 1, 2010.

    What are members of the Grand Obstructionism Party doing to try to bend the health care cost curve? That's right – they want to maintain the status quo! One of their solutions is to give you a voucher to help you pay for your health insurance premiums or medicare/medicaid, but that won't cover much of your health care costs!

    Lets face it – the GOP solution is that if you get sick, then stay at home and get well. But, if you are hospitalized, then DIE QUICKLY because you can't afford the spiraling costs!

    October 10, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Terry in Canada

    We, up here in Canada, just shake our heads in utter amazement at what is going on in the US (a country that I very much admire).

    The United States is the only, and I emphasize only, modern, democratic, industrialized nation that does not have a single pay system. Does that mean that the US is right and the REST OF THE WORLD is wrong? Or is the reverse true.

    How can Americans sit back and let profit-oriented hospitals and insurance companies profit from peoples' illnesses. That is unconscionable.

    How can Americans sit back and watch thousands of their fellow Americans go bankrupt trying to preserve the health of their families. That, too, is unconscionable.

    How can such a great nation like the US allow this to happen? When, finally, will decency prevail over the profits of the insurance companies and hospitals. When will decency prevail over the the greedy salaries of insurance company executives (check those out on Google). It is just plain wrong!

    October 10, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Death Panel Sarah

    Medicare advantage IS NOT MEDICARE..... it is a handout to the insurance companies!!!!

    October 10, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Alicia

    Republicans only like to spend money on WAR. Halliburton! Blackwater! Not the American people who they have robbed for decades.

    I think it is sad how juvenile this party has gotten. Cheering that the USA did 'not' get the Olympics; Mad when the President of the USA did get the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Sour Grapes Party........

    October 10, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. m jeff

    The GOP doesn't have a plan on Health Care except to stop everything the Democrats propose. The Republicans work for the Insurance Companies and not for the people.

    October 10, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. commonsense

    Republicans offer no solution, even critiquing our president for something he didn't even ask for ! WTH is wrong with these republicans!... The world has shown america that we have a great leader..yet critics feel the need to hate on everything obama does or receives. This bill has been estimated to reduce our federal deficit over 10 yrs, and is deficit neutral, even without a public option (something that rethugs, kept asking for) yet look at the response from these congressional stubborn thugs !!! Vote all republicans OUT
    obama/biden 2012!!

    October 10, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    Where is the Democratic Party's new poster boy Alan Grayson?
    Their new hero should have another stupid statement by now. He is a good example of the type of person Dems hold up as leaders.

    October 10, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Librals make me want to puke

    Maybe they simply want time to READ the thing before they pass it. maybe they want time to consult with leading Constitutional lawyers about the legality of passing the bill and also if precent setting cases in CA will soon prove that Obama is the Liar he was called.
    Maybe they are actually listing to the VOTERS who will vote them out if they pass this.....

    October 10, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Cnn please post my comment! 1 love!

    The Republicans want POWER! POWER! POWER! That im pretty sure a vast majority of Americans realize for them (republicans)its always about Power and party! They want power so they can enrich their buddies who in turn enrich them....if there were ever an unpatriotic bunch its this vile party! Patriotism is living and dying for your Country, its people and its values! These valuesd the current republican party do not share! If they did this health care issue would be a thing of the past and we would have long moved on to other important issues like stopping the spending of 1billion dollars a day on foreign oil and energy!

    October 10, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Republican obstructionists ! It's all about the fear !


    October 10, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. kuriya

    Lie Lie Lie they have no sympathy for the American people's health but to power. I hope this NO party are thrown out of office.

    October 10, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. Ex-NC-Pub

    Same old GOP crap. It looks like they would come up with something new. These people have no soul.

    October 10, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. stevegee

    The Baucus Bill is a "bill of goods"!

    All it will do is further the growth of government - I can't wait to have bureaucrats making healthcare decisions for me and my family, NOT! And, it will add to the unsustainable debt built up by irresponsible elected officials.

    We could have real healthcare reform IF we eliminated 3rd party payers, and went back to a true freemarket system - when you go to the doctor, you pay, just like every other service we use in this country (car repair, dry cleaners, etc.). And people should carry catastrophic health insurance, like life insurance and car insurance.

    It's common sense, and it's called freedom and liberty: Let individuals take care of themselves, without relying on government. More government involvement will only make our healthcare system sicker.

    Don't buy The Baucus "Bill of Goods"!

    October 10, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Peter (s)

    Republicans hide on conservatism to maintain aristocracy! thus they always make claims such as "the debt will impoverish our children" but their main goal is to pass on their position of privilege to their children, to the Republicans innovation is bad and prejudice is good. Conservatism opposes rational thought thus there is no sensible thing to them

    October 10, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. John From Brooklyn, NY

    Of course the party of "NO" would be opposed to ANYTHING that disturbs their status quo, since it currently makes them and their cronies mountains of money.

    October 10, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. mark

    The demcrats have shut the GOP out of this process since the beginning. They can't even agree amongst themselves as to an actual bill, maybe its time for the dems to stop being the party of idiots and open the floor up to actual ideas on how to get something accmoplished...

    October 10, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. "Party of NO"

    Got nothing to say but "NO"........"WHERE IS YOUR HEALTH CARE PLAN??...GOP is been in power for almost over 8 yrs ...what they been doing is just "NO".....and that's the main reason why were in big mess right now.....we have to try some new changes to get better instead of just seating with old stuff forever and let time get over you.....i really hope in 2010 midterm election democrats all over US made Party of NO symbol against GOP....

    October 10, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Lee in Oregon

    Yada yada yada........the same old story over and over again. The Repubs are never going to admit we need REAL healthcare reform unless, of course, there was a Republican president in office.

    It's shameful how the righty's have done nothing but lie to the American public and fear mongered on this whole issue of healthcare reform right from the beginning.

    President Obama is the first president since LBJ that has the courage to get this job done. So despite all the lies and deception healthcare reform will happen this year.

    Thank you President Obama!!

    October 10, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. jkp213

    There are no lies and fears being promoted here GI Joe. The real problem here is that many Americans don't know their history nor do they realize how crutial our state of our economy is in right now. Too often the American citizens just laid back and waited for someone else to do their job. I have seen it time and time again across this great nation. Our parents and grandparents always believed in an honest day's work deserves an honest day's pay. However, many Americans want that money but don't want to work for it. Nor, do they feel that they need to put in the time needed for a job to completed and find an easy way out. I have seen that time and time again not only in the work force but in the classroom as well. We are all to blame on this issue for not standing up and stating our differences on the "No child left behind act" or by not getting people off of welfare and now facing a third generation of people who are still living on the system and think that the American Government is the solution. As Ronald Reagan once said, "Too much government is not a good thing" and this is where our country is going right now. People, we have to step up to the plate and start taking responsibility of our own actions and start facing the consequences of our actions. We can't wait for someone to help us. This health care issue is no good for anyone right now nor do I believe will it ever be. Many states right now do offer health care at a low rate based on your income. Let's get our facts straight before we just jump on the ban wagon because the person next to us is doing the same thing. We need to bring this country back to its own dignity and strength that our fore-fathers and founders of this great nation once had and is still alive today if we just open our eyes and be willing to do a little work on our own versus waiting on someone to tell us what to do. The Lord is watching us right now and I believe he isn't very happy right now and until we start turning to him for strength and guidance, this mess will never end.

    Just food for thought.

    October 10, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Marie Laveaux

    Same old lies...new day, so what else is new? Oh, and Coonass, people on welfare are already getting healthcare through Medicaid, so that won't add more to the reform bill's cost. So stop with the racist nonsense, cher, because your racist comments are giving us Cajuns a bad name. And let me tell you something else, I live in Mississippi now, and there are more white people here than black, and more people are on welfare here than nearly every other state.

    October 10, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Mike in Texas

    My 2010 benefits package came out....Guess what? Higher premiums and now I have to cover over $4,000 in out of pocket expenses before the insurance covers anything. But we don't need to rush....b.s. I have to get 1-2 MRI's a year because of a spinal tumor I have. Because of it's location it cannot be entirely removed without the possibility of losing function of my right arm. I have had 3 surgeries in 10 years. This was not brought about by anything I did. I think there is growing support for a public option because people now are seeing the light.....Insurance companies don't care about you and either do republicans. I agree with Rep Grayson.....Lead, follow or get out of the way. Your cost concerns are a b.s. smokescreen.

    October 10, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    The GOP is a Joke, any Dem that votes with the GOP, will be taken care of in 2010&2012.

    October 10, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Mike in Texas

    Republicans had six years of total control to do something about health care reform, yet they did nothing. They don't care! Republicans only care about people before they are born or when they want to send them off to fight. They don't want it! Quit throwing b.s. at us! They know they are full of it but yet there alot of people out there who eat this crap up like potato chips. All you people against health care reform, I can guarantee your premiums are going up for next year and so are your out of pocket expenses. Take the blinders off!! This isn't a Democrat or Republican thing......this is an American thing!!!

    October 10, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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