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. Ivan

    Continue your negative, obsessive whining, all you loser repugnicans out there. Your absurd, unAmerican ravings will put you out of existence, and the sooner the better, for America.

    October 10, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Brian Dodge

    "Health care politics are now at a stalemate: Public enthusiasm for the president’s plan has precipitously declined, but its opponents have failed to capitalize on its obvious flaws and kill it outright. This is just a temporary lull, however. The plan is due for resuscitation–unless a strong counteroffensive is mounted. In political terms, that task falls mainly to members of the Republican Party. What form should their opposition take?

    A simple, green-eyeshade criticism of the president’s health care plan–on the grounds that it’s numbers don’t add up (they don’t), or that it costs too much (it does), or that it will kill jobs and disrupt the economy (it will)–is fine as far as it goes, but it is not enough. Such opposition can only win concessions on the way to a "least bad" compromise."

    Sound familiar? That was Republican leader William Kristol in 1994 talking about the Clinton Health care plan.

    He went on to say "But the Clinton proposal is also a serious political threat to the Republican Party....But the long-term political effects of a successful Clinton health care bill will be even worse–much worse... It will revive the reputation of ...the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government."

    Why are Republicans opposed to health care reform? Because it would show how they put politics ahead of the welfare of the country.

    October 10, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Larry

    When are these Republican morons going to get the message.....this isn't about politics and Dems vs Repubs.....it's about much needed health care reform.

    I'll be glad when what is left of the Republican party is out of office.

    October 10, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Knight McCall

    I'm glad that this great nation of ours, the U.S.A, finally buckle down to tackle this perilous issue about the state of our healthcare. It's appalling & shameful to think that the most powerful and wealthiest country on earth does not have an adequate healthcare system to care for their citizens. For this reason alone, I will go along with anyone with a reasonable and not necessary a perfect proposal for healthcare reform. The republicans are arguing that the Obama's healthcare reform proposal will incur cost for the U.S. It is ridiculous to hear their arguments and it is more so every day. Of course, this reform will cost money and it will absolutely be very costly, but in the long haul healthcare reform will benefit America overall and all Americans know this. A good example is our neighbor, Canada, we should model our system similar to theirs. If you look at the anti-healthcare reform arguments from the republicans, all their arguments seem to cater to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. They succumb to these industries' demands and they are not progressive to further American benefits. As Obama stated, we need "CHANGE" and the time is ripe to do so. Now, that Obama received the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize, particularly from our European allies. We as Americans should be proud, stop the bickering, and pass this healthcare reform legislation. If the reform is not perfect, we will have time to amend or make modifification.

    October 10, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. David

    Health insurance companies take 30% of premium costs off the top, provide no actual health care whatsoever, and are in business to deny as many claims as possible. Why do they even exist?
    The government that the Republicans consistantly rail about include Republicans, doesn't it, who expanded government more than any other administration in history during the past 8 years. They also passed into law government flood insurance, easily and without fanfare. So...the protection of property trumps our very lives in their concept of what the insurance world should look like?

    Let's take the Republicans at their word. Scrap the 5 proposed health care bills and start from scratch. Pass Medicare For All, have the CBO score it, and easily fund the entire package by raising the insanely low taxes that the obscenely rich pay.
    When the top 2% control 95% of this nation's wealth, that is by definition an oligarchy, NOT a democracy.

    October 10, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. gg

    do away with health insurance companys employers paying insurance, get goverment out heathcare go back to pay as you go system no more fighting

    October 10, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. mjm

    The CBO did not say it would reduce the deficit and bend the cost curve. Go to the CBO website and read the letter.

    It's clear on the cost, $829 billion, but the letter states that they cannot accurately predict how they will meet the cost.

    It's clear that the Baucus plan will try to save money by NOT PAYING doctors and hospitals. It's clear that they want to cut payments to hospitals that serve poor areas...not sure why. It's clear they want to tax insurance companies to help pay for this "exchange", as if that will help keep cost down (what planet does Baucus spend his time on?)

    Read the letter and you'll see for yourself before you pop off on how the Republicans are this and that.


    October 10, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. We Won Get Over It

    I would love to round up all the republicans stick em with truth serum and ask them the question...why are you against any thing the democrats propose for the American people. then ask them why they are so FOR anything for big business.

    Wouldn't that be a hoot and it would finally let the real Americans in this country know just what kind of anti-American scums they are.

    October 10, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. don

    same old lies! no pragmatic alternative from the propaganda "just say no" gop. watch out america are discovering your lies!
    they just feed on the ignorant and naive demographic.
    why and how on earth do some vote for the gop if its not only because of hate? they sound pathetic, has no solutions and retrogressive

    October 10, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. mike.texas

    They push for more war and death but wont spend a dime on saving americans who die from lack of healthcare.

    October 10, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Ray

    If you have been listening to the Health Care debates on C-SPAN
    you know that the Republicans are again trying to protect the Medical Insurance Association and are LYING about the costs of enactment.
    Every proposal must be approved as no impact on the Budget of the US.Republicans know this and are still trying to scare Seniors,of which I am a part,into believing that this bill will affect their health care.
    Sadly there are many Seniors who are ill equiped to realize that they are again being deceived by the Republican Party Leaders.
    Any Health Care Plan which takes Power away from the Insurance Industry will be rejected by Republicans and indeed any plan proposed by the Democrats.

    October 10, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Carl Justus

    Take away the free health care for the congress and I will bet you my home that they will pass health care reform within a month.

    October 10, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Susan

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

    It also doesn't mean stalling on needed tax increases on one day while supporting massive troop incursions into Afghanistan the next. These wars have decimated all of us, just as Bin Laden predicted. He wasn't planning to bring down more buildings; just bring down the US economy by his expectation that Bush would be unable to stop himself from sending troops to Iraq, the only war in our history that asked for NO financial sacrifice from her populace, thus the budget deficits. Bush hid the true costs of the wars from the budgets....Obama does not.

    October 10, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Matt

    If the Dems want to pass true healthcare reform, why not add tort reform which conservative estimates put at over $50b in savings. To pay for the ridiculous costs of the bills the Dems want to pass, they will need to cut costs at some point and this would be a great place to start.

    The Dems have only one year to do this. They have been a bigger nightmare than I would have thought leading this country and they will be losing several seats in 2010 – the polls do not lie. Hopefully the two sides of the aisle can come to some sort of agreement and get something passed that works for the people of this country.

    October 10, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. larry

    It seems that the greatest threat to anything in our country is really the GOP ! They are against everything! Even if its good for us!
    Remember when you were at school and the kids that beat you at sports were always really BAD sports when you won a game? The gop act just like that!! Spoilt kids in adult bodies!

    October 10, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Runofthemill

    So - let see if we all have the sotyr -

    of it is good for aAmerica or Ameicans then republicons are opposed.

    If the Olympic committee snubs the US - rejoice

    If the POTUS recieves worldwide recognition and honor, have a tantrum and call him names

    If there is a plan to help people live better lives and boost the economy - oppose it.

    Got it/ Just like Chairman Limbaugh said - conservatives want America to fail.

    October 10, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Ernesto López

    I just can't understand how the United States of America, a country wich is supposed to be so great and so awesome to live in just can't get done something so basic such as a health care reform that is fair and good for the people, if american politicians were really interested in people's health and well being they would have get this done already a long time ago, if they haven't done it already it's because they simply don't care or just care more about something else. Many countries, first world and even third world countries, and some even supposedly more corrupt and unfair to people have been able to pull this out, why can't the USA ?

    October 10, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. Silent Majority

    We are watching both sides... We will not stand for ignorance and intolerance. We will vote against the "no solution" representatives in our House, Senate and Governor arenas. And we will vote for those who can claim and prove that they were part of the team that passed legislation that lifted this country out of its recession. We are watching both sides.

    October 10, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. liberalshavenoballs

    Clint, your answer seems to be tax and spend with no regard for how healthcare is going to be paid for for? Where is the answer as how to pay for it? I have yet to see Blobama"s answer to this important question. Take from the haves and give to the have nots or just borrow more from China and de-value the dollar further. Either way the more the libs spend the more the dollar is de-valued which includes everyone's savings. This government needs to think before it continues to add to the deficit. Vote Democrat to get free stuff and cover illegals.

    October 10, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Simmy

    If Republicans weren't so hateful they would be more agreeable.....They are so focused on not allowing illegal immigrants to get healthcare, not letting those from impoverished areas get registered (ACORN), and so determined to remind President Obama that he is more black than white, that they can't enjoy the beauty of the forest.....They only see tall trees – all the same, despite their differences.....

    They (the GOP) have missed out on a golden moment in time to rise above their ancestries and be humans.......Oh, well......What is that they say about old dogs?

    And Steele, Mr. Going Nowhere Man, is getting paler by the day....By 2010, he'll be paler than Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck combined.......Peace......

    October 10, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Jeff Koons

    Great speech but it must have been cut off. All I saw was what the Democrats shouldn't do, but nothing about how the Republicans would solve the problems.

    October 10, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Zion

    Remember, the only valid argument that Republicans had against health care was potential costs. They said, they would wait for CBO estimates, and when the estimates pointed towards savings, they still do not want health care reform. Again, when will American start treating them like the idiots they are.

    Again, congrats Pres. Obama on your WELL DESERVED NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. God continues to bless even in the midst of mess.

    October 10, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. James In Atlanta

    The GOP continues to show its true colors and who they represent. They represent big business, the top 5% of the wealthy Americans and the extreme right wing religious cults.

    The GOP has shown time and time again that it is not willing to work to find viable solutions to the nations health care problem. They use fear and smear campaigns to convince people who do not know any better that a health care system ran by the government would be evil and a loss of freedom.

    The GOP often uses other developed countries like UK, France, and Canada and say these systems are broken and do not work and have a high cost. This is the fallacy they expect us to believe. The reality is that the people in these countries have a lower infant mortality rate, live longer and enjoy better health than the citizens of the USA.

    There is an election coming and the incumbent better be ware that the people of the United States have a Vote and we will be showing up in greater numbers than ever before to remove those in office that do not have our and the nations best interest at heart.

    James In Atlanta

    October 10, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Rob

    More ranting from the Republicans with no offers of any other type of program. No suggestions for improvement. No presentation of alternatives. The Republicans have become anti-American in every statement and in every action. They are not for the people they are only out for themselves and the insurance companies. If it were not for the Republicans we would have a working bill already. The Democrats have given them their chances now it is time to move on without them.

    October 10, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. robert

    Sen. LeMieux is right about what he said. We now have our first Marxist Communist President ever who wants to bring everything under communist controll.

    I don't want the goverment in controll of my health. They can pay for it and fund it but stay the f@#$k out of all decision making! The republicans are not the party of no like the communist democrats claim they are.

    What they are saying no to is the Marxist Communist democratic takeover of America all being done under the guise of health insurance and of course the greedy beauracrats who run the program and gets to decide who gets to live and who does not will not only line their pockets with tax payers money but since they all belong to the communist controlled public employees union millions will be going to the communist controlled labor unions so they the unions can turn around and spend the money to get more communist democrats elected.

    The communist democrats want the non communist democrats eg, republicans and independents to hurry up and die. Thats the whole point behind socializing medicine so the goverment can let live who they want and let die who they dont want mainly non marixist democrats. The democrats are the facist far left .

    I will be glad when the capitalist republicans are back in and the Marxist Communist Democrats are thrown out and jailed for trying to bring about the communist takeover of America.

    Barack Hussein Oscuma and Joseph Stahlin are one and the same. Period !!!

    October 10, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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