In Case You Missed It – Sen. Cornyn Discusses Health Care On Meet The Press

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, discussed health care reform today on NBC's Meet The Press.  Excerpts of his remarks are below.

 

"{The President} laid out what he called his plan during his speech before a joint session. No one has seen his plan and what he described is not reflected in any of the bills that have been voted out of House or Senate committees so far."

"So far we haven't heard the President be clear about the cost... We need to be honest about what the cost is, what the pay fors are going to be in terms of tax increases, cuts in existing programs that are already very fragile and won't be solvent by 2017."

"The President can't keep his promise that if you have what you like now that you can keep it with a public option or government-run plan."

"I would suggest that this is a case where the 80/20 rule applies, that 80 percent of this we could probably agree with as long as people would agree to leave the 20 percent we can't agree with out."

"I think we ought to offer flexibility at the state level to have state-based insurance exchange to let people buy and have the same choices that members of Congress have among private plans and not undermine the private insurance market and provide a pathway ultimately to a single-payer system."

"This is a time to try to work together to solve a practical problem and we stand ready to do that in if the President will meet us halfway."

Sen. Cornyn On President Obama and Democrats' Health Care Proposals:

"Republicans would like to see health care reform to bring down the cost and make it more accessible to more people who currently don't have health insurance, but I would respectfully suggest the President first has to convince members of his own party with his proposal.

"He laid out what he called his plan during his speech before a joint session. No one has seen his plan and what he described is not reflected in any of the bills that have been voted out of House or Senate committees so far. He has at least 13 senators by my count who disagree with him on the so-called public option or government-run plan, and more than 90 members of the House, either Blue Dogs or conservative Democrats or liberals who disagree with what that bill should look like.

"We would like to work with the President and Democrats to try to come up with a common sense solution. I would suggest that this is a case where the 80/20 rule applies, that 80 percent of this we could probably agree with as long as people would agree to leave the 20 percent we can't agree with out.

 

"People want to see exactly what the savings can be from that before they agree to some big plan, the big expansion of government, unfunded mandates on the states through Medicaid expansion and huge cuts in Medicare, which is currently unsustainable."

Sen. Cornyn On the Need for Health Care Reform:

"I don't think doing nothing is an option. Indeed, I've said here today, we have probably 80 percent...of things that we can probably do in terms of insurance reform and providing lower cost access to health care, providing coverage. 

"What works in Vermont in a relatively homogenous population, a small state, may not work in a big state like Texas with 24 million people with a large number of people who are not American citizens who are living there and who would not be eligible for this plan according to the President.

"One-size fits all is part of the problem and I think we ought to offer flexibility at the state level to have state-based insurance exchange to let people buy and have the same choices that members of Congress have among private plans and not undermine the private insurance market and provide a pathway ultimately to a single-payer system, which is my concern and I think borne out by some of the experts."

Sen. Cornyn On President Obama's Address to Congress on Health Care Reform:

"It was a good speech, but he described what he called his plan and so far we have not seen his plan. There's a difference between campaigning, giving a good speech, and actually governing, and I think we are seeing that disconnect here because the President needs to work with us to make hard decisions in order to solve the problem.

"I want to see the entire picture.  I don't see how to cut $500 billion out of Medicare, which is currently scheduled to go insolvent by 2017. I disagree we should raise taxes on small business that are the primary job creators in our economy."

Sen. Cornyn on The Public Option:

"First of all, the president can't keep his promise that if you have what you like now that you can keep it with a public option or government-run option, it is not just the Lewin group, it's also the Congressional Budget Office.  They said depending on the shape of the final plan, it could be 8 million to 10 million, it could be as many as 119 million according to the Lewin Group. You cannot keep what you have if you like it now, so the President can't meet that promise.

 "Secondly, our goal ought to be, let's give the American people the same kind of choices that members of Congress have when it comes to buying health coverage. Right now there is no public plan for members of Congress. You get a choice between various insurance coverages that suit your family's needs and at a price that you want to buy it at. I think that ought to be our goal. This whole ideological fixation on the public option is just that, it is not a practical solution to the problem. We are ready to work with practical solutions to cover people, to bring down the price, but not a government takeover."

Sen. Cornyn On the Cost of Democrats' Health Care Proposals:

"We have to be honest about the cost. So far we haven't heard the President be clear about the cost. The Senate Budget Committee estimates that the House bill will cost not $1 trillion but $2.4 trillion. The HELP Committee bill, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Senate Committee bill, is estimated to cost $2.2 trillion over a full ten year budget window. We need to be honest about what the cost is, what the pay fors are going to be in terms of tax increases, cuts in existing programs that are already very fragile and won't be solvent by 2017. I think that is what is making people nervous. That's why people are speaking up and expressing their concerns."

Sen. Cornyn On Working With Republicans on Health Care Reform:

"This is not the time to be demonizing anybody or calling anybody names on either side, this is a time to try to work together to solve a practical problem and we stand ready to do that in if the President will meet us halfway."

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Agriculture and Budget Committees.  He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee's Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.