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Remarks Before the Rules Committee, H.R. 3962 and the Republican Alternative, “Common Sense Health Care Reforms and Affordability Act”

November 06, 2009

(Remarks as Prepared)

Madame Chairman,

The people have spoken: they do not want a trillion-dollar government plan to replace their health care.  Republicans have listened to the American people; it is clear from the Speaker’s health care bill, H.R. 3962, the Democratic majority has not.

The bill Speaker Pelosi crafted over the last three months, behind closed doors – which doubled in size from 1,000 pages to 2,000 pages – will do lasting damage to our economy, medical innovation, and heap mountains of additional debt on our children and grandchildren, especially when combined with an unpaid for bill to address the flawed Medicare physician payment system.

This bill will kill American jobs.  Using methodology developed by the President’s top economic advisor, this bill could cause us to lose another 5 million jobs, something we can’t afford to do when our unemployment rate just reached 10.2% and shows no signs of improvement.

The Democrats’ bill will cut Medicare – by up to one-half trillion dollars, which will harm the health care 11 million seniors currently have and like.

The Democrats’ bill will pile debt on our children.

The Democrats’ bill will increase the federal commitment to health care by $600 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office.  And an earlier report by the non-partisan Medicare actuary confirmed that the bill approved by Ways and Means would bend the curve upward, meaning health care would consume an even faster-rising share of our economy.

Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag has stated that, “The single most important thing we can do to improve the long-term fiscal health of our nation is slow the growth rate in health care costs.”

If the Budget Director is to be believed, then the worst thing we could do for our nation’s long-term fiscal health is to increase the growth rate in health care costs by enacting the Speaker’s health care bill.

The Democrats’ bill will raise taxes by over $700 billion.  Many of those tax increases will hit families with incomes below $250,000, something the President has repeatedly promised he would not do.

The Democrats’ bill will use federal funds to pay for abortions.

The Democrats’ bill will allow taxpayer money to subsidize health insurance for millions of illegal immigrants.

I share the commitment of each of the Members on the panel here today that we must do something to make our health care system better and more efficient.  But the solution put forward by the Majority’s deep flaws make it one I cannot support. 

Republicans have a better solution and I am here to let the American people know, and urge the Rules Committee to make in order for the purposes of a substitute, the House Republican alternative to this government takeover of health care.

Let’s be clear about the Republican bill: it delivers what the American people want – lower health care costs. 

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican health care reforms would reduce premiums by up to 3 percent for Americans who get insurance through a large business, up to 8 percent for Americans without employer sponsored insurance, and up to 10 percent for those working for a small business (50 or fewer employees).  CBO has not made a claim that the Democrats’ bill would lower premiums.

The Republican bill will significantly reduce health care premiums, insures millions of Americans, guarantees those with pre-existing conditions have access to quality, affordable health care and does all of this without raising taxes, without spending $1 trillion we don’t have, without cutting Medicare and without putting some new Health Czar in between doctors and patients, which is what the Democrat majority does in their government takeover bill.

Americans’ health care is too important and too complex to risk on Democrats gamble.  Instead, Republicans are promoting a step-by-step approach to comprehensive health care reform, and the first step is to make health insurance affordable for families, affordable for small businesses and affordable for America.

Finally, unlike the Democrat plan that increases taxes almost immediately but delays health reforms for several years, the Republican plan will immediately begin to lower costs. 

Madame Chairman, clearly the bill offered by the Speaker is not what the American people want.  Americans are clamoring for lower cost health care and that is what the Republican plan offers – lower costs health care without tax increases, without Medicare cuts, without adding to the deficit and without eliminating jobs.