‘The American people don’t want us to spend trillions of dollars we don’t have on a health care system they don’t want. And yet that’s exactly what Democrats plan to do, even though they can't explain to anyone how they will pay for it’
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the importance of getting it right on health care reform: “The Secretary of Health and Human Services recently said that when it comes to health care, the status quo is unacceptable, and I agree with her. She then went on to say that there are a lot of people on Capitol Hill who are content with doing nothing, though she didn’t name names. On that point, I disagree. Republicans and Democrats all share the belief that health care reform is needed. The question is what kind of reform it should be.
“Some have proposed a government-run health care system that would force millions to give up the private health plans they have and like and replace them with a government plan where care is denied, delayed, and rationed. This so-called ‘reform’ is not the kind of change Americans want. They want health care that’s more affordable and accessible, but that preserves the doctor-patient relationship and the quality of care they now enjoy.
“And that’s why Republicans are proposing reforms to make health care less expensive and easier to obtain without destroying what’s good about our system. Republicans want to reform our medical liability laws to discourage junk lawsuits and bring down the cost of care; we want to encourage wellness and prevention programs that have been successful in cutting costs; we want to encourage competition in the private insurance market to make care more affordable and accessible; and we want to address the needs of small businesses without creating new taxes that kill jobs. But instead of embracing these common-sense ideas that Americans support, Democrats in Congress are trying to rush through a health care bill that will not only lead to a government-run system, but will do so by spending trillions of dollars and plunging our country deeper and deeper into debt.
“Recently, the independent Congressional Budget Office told us that just one – just one – section of the bill being discussed in the HELP Committee would spend 1.3 trillion dollars over a decade. And Senator Gregg, the Ranking Member on the Budget Committee, estimates the HELP bill could end up spending more than two trillion dollars – more than two trillion dollars on a bill that wouldn’t even solve the entire problem.
“The American people don’t want us to spend trillions of dollars we don’t have on a health care system they don’t want. And yet that’s exactly what Democrats plan to do, even though they can't explain to anyone how they will pay for it. Despite the staggering costs of the Democrat health care plan, we’re being told we need to rush it through the Congress for the sake of the economy. When Republicans ask how Democrats are going to pay for it, or what impact it will have on our health care system and the economy, the only words we hear are rush and spend, rush and spend.
“We heard similar warnings earlier this year when Democrats pushed through their stimulus bill, and voted on it less than 24 hours after all of the details were made public. Well, if the American people learned anything from the stimulus, it’s that we should be suspicious when we’re told that we need to spend trillions of dollars without having the proper time to review how the money will be spent or what effect it will or won’t have.
“Democrats also said the stimulus money wouldn’t be wasted and that they would keep track of every penny spent. Yet already we’re learning about outrageous projects like a $3.4 million turtle tunnel that is 13 feet long … or more than $40,000 being spent to pay the salary of someone whose job is to apply for more stimulus money.
“The administration also predicted that if we passed the stimulus, the unemployment rate wouldn’t exceed eight percent. But just last week, the President said that unemployment would likely rise to 10 percent.
“So when Democrats now predict that their health care plan will cut costs, Americans should be skeptical. And they have good reason to be, since independent estimates show that every health care proposal Democrats have offered would only hurt the economy.
“Americans should also be skeptical when it comes to Democrat promises that people will be able to keep their current insurance. Just last week, the independent Congressional Budget Office said that just one section of the HELP Bill will cause 10 million people with employer-based insurance to lose the coverage they have. And that’s even before we’ve seen a finished product. The bill is still missing significant sections, such as a government plan that Democrats want, which could force millions more to lose their current coverage.
“The stimulus showed that when politicians in Washington say the sky’s going to fall unless Congress approves trillions of dollars right away, we should be wary. Yet just a few months later, Americans are hearing the same thing from Democrats in the health care debate: rush and spend, rush and spend. Americans want health care reform, but they want the right health care reform. They want us to take the time and care necessary to get it right. And that’s why the Democrats’ rush and spend strategy is exactly the wrong approach.”