Corker: Medicare Savings Should Be Used to Make Program Solvent, Not to Fund Government-Run Health Care

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., today delivered remarks on the Senate floor urging Congress to use Medicare savings to help restore the solvency of the Medicare system and not to pay for a new government-run health care entitlement program.

Excerpts from his speech are included below.

“This is a momentous time in our country's history as all of us in both bodies on both sides of the aisle find ourselves focused on the issue of health care reform. Madam President, in the middle 1990's I had the tremendous honor of serving the state of Tennessee in a position that allowed me to oversee the state's Medicaid program and many other programs in our state that focused on the needs of many of the underserved in our state. Since that time, I have been convinced we, all of us, have a moral responsibility, to do everything we can in this country to ensure Americans of all walks of life have the opportunity for affordable, quality, private health insurance.”

“It's my hope we will end up with a bipartisan solution. I have been very disappointed in the results, though, of legislation that has come forward thus far. My sense is that the House of Representatives is promoting a bill that to me does not meet the mark. The HELP committee just passed out, on party-line vote, a bill that, again, does not meet the mark.”

“I think all of us understand that our biggest obligations exist in entitlements with Medicare and Social Security, and I think that most of us thought as we came into this Congress one of the major focuses we would have would be to get our entitlements under control.”

“What is being discussed in this body and what has already been agreed to by many on the House side is taking money from Medicare, a program which is insolvent, one that, instead of taking money from we should be trying to make solvent but we're taking money from that program to create a whole new set of entitlements that, again, will add incredible amounts of debt to our country's balance sheets.”

“I have delivered today to the majority leader of the senate a letter signed by 35 senators, making this body, making the President, aware of the fact that we will not support further jeopardizing Medicare by using it to leverage a new entitlement…I have delivered this letter in hopes that the Finance Committee, the leadership on the Democratic side in the Senate and the President will seek a solution that is different than taking money from this insolvent program that aids our seniors to create a new entitlement.”

“I believe that this country does need to figure out a way that all Americans can access affordable, quality health care. I know all Americans are concerned about the cost of health care. I stand here as one senator committed to doing that in the right way. But I also stand here with 35 other senators saying that to do that and make another program that exists more insolvent is not acceptable. I oppose that. I hope that is not used to create a new entitlement.”