Washington, D.C. – In his remarks today in Italy, President Obama put himself squarely at odds with the health care reform plan being pushed forward by Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee when it comes to cutting costs, controlling the deficit and letting Americans keep the care they have.
“President Obama again laid out clear goals for health care reform today, and the HELP Democrats’ bill doesn’t meet any of them,” said Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the HELP Committee. “I agree with the President – we need health care reform that will reduce costs, let Americans keep the care they have and not drive up the deficit.”
According to statements by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to the HELP Committee this week, the Democrats’ bill before the HELP Committee would drive up health care costs, increase the deficit by over $1 trillion and force millions of Americans to lose the health care they have now.
In a news conference today, the President said, “So I think it's important just to recognize we are closer to achieving serious health care reform that cuts costs, provides coverage to American families, allows them to keep their doctors and plans that are working for them.”
The President continued, “My job is to make sure that I've set some clear parameters in terms of what I want to achieve. We have to bend the cost curve on health care . . . I've said that it's got to be budget neutral, it's got to be deficit neutral, and so whatever bill is produced has to be paid for . . . What cannot be denied is that the only way to get a handle on our medium-and long-term budget deficits is if we corral and contain health care costs.”
Enzi, the Senate’s only accountant, said, “The Kennedy bill bends the cost curve, but in the wrong direction. It would drive up premiums for millions of Americans and increase the national deficit by $1 trillion.
“I look forward to voting for a bill that meets the President’s goals, but the HELP Democrats’ plan isn’t that bill.”