Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 8, 2009 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT

3:30 pm
the financial services committee of the house of representatives. one might call it the house bailout committee. congressman frank's phone call to general motors always is likely to be returned since the united states treasury recently purchased 60% of g.m. and 8% of chrysler with $62 billion of your tax dollars. according to the june 5 wauplt journal -- quote -- "the latest self--appointed car czar, barney frank, who intersraoed this week to save a g.m. distribution center in massachusetts. the warehouse, which employs 90 people, was slated for closing by the end of the year under g.m.'s restructuring plan. but there was a new lease on life for the facility. unquote. the congressman's woke spann said that the congressman was -- quote -- "doing what any other
3:31 pm
congressman would do. precisely the reason for these cars are awards. as the journal put it -- quote -- "that's the problem with industrial policy and governmental control of american business in washington every member of congress now thinks he's a czar who can call old fritz and tell him how to make cars." unquote. i will continue to confer car czar awards until congress and the president enact my auto stop for every taxpayer legislation, which would distribute the government stock in general motors and chrysler to the 120 million americans who pay taxes on april 15. that's the fastest way to get ownership of the auto companies out of the hands of meddling washington politicians and back into the hands of americans in the marketplace. it also may be the fastest way for congressmen to get themselves reelected. according to "the national
3:32 pm
tennessean," an auto pacific survey reports that 81% of americans polled -- quote -- "agreed that the faster that the government gets out of the automotive business the better." and 95% disagreed that the government is as gd -- disagreed that the government is a good overseer of corporations such as general motors an chrysler. unquote. 93 disagree that having the government in charge of general motors and chrysler would result in more cars and trucks than americans want to buy. unquote. mr. president, there should be plenty of material for these car czar awards. for example, last week auto executives spent four hours testifying before congressional committees about dealerships. i assumed the executives drove to washington, d.c., from detroit in their congressionally approved modes of
3:33 pm
transportation. probably hybrid cars, leaving them very little time on that day to design, build, or sell cars and trucks. i've counted at least 60 congressional committees an subcommittees with the authority to hold hearings on auto companies and, no doubt, most will. car executives trying to manage complex companies will be reduced to the status of some assistant secretary hauling briefing books between committees answering questions under oath, of course, about models, about sizes, about paint colors, about plant closings, about fuel efficiency, and about why the g.m. volt's battery is being made in south korea. and should congressmen run out of reasons to meddle, the president and his aides stand ready. already general has been warned that it is making too many
3:34 pm
s.u.v. eap and that the chevy volt is too expensive. the president has weighed on whether general motors should move to warren, michigan. here's an invitation for those who may be listening, if you know of a washington car czar who deserves to be honored, please e-mail me at car award at and after you write me, i hope you'll write or call your congressmen and senators and remind them to enact the auto stock for every taxpayer act as soon as general motor emerges from bankruptcy. all you need to say are these eight magic words: i paid for it, i should own it. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to include in the record the wall street article entitled
3:35 pm
"barney frank car sphwhrar." thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor. -- car czar". thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: mr. president, let me be very clear, our health care system is disintegrating. today 46 million americans have no health insurance and even more are underinsured with high deductibles and h and co-paymen. at a time when 06 million people do not have access to a doctor of their own, over 28,000 americans die every year from preventible illnesses because they do not get the medical care that they should. this is six times the number of people who died at the tragedy
3:36 pm
of 9/11, but this occurs every single year after year after year. in the midst of this horrendous lack of coverage, the united states spends far more per capita on health care than any other nation and health care costs continue to soar. at $2.4 trillion and 18% of our g.d.p., the skyrocketing cost of health care in this country is unsustainable from a personal and macro economic perspective. at the individual level, the average american spends abou about $7,900 per year on health care. $7,900 per individual every year. despite that huge outlay, a recent study found that medical problems contributed to 62% of
3:37 pm
all bankruptcies in 2007. from a business perspective, general motors spends more on health care for automobile than on steel. more on health care than on steel while small business owners are forced to divert hard-earned profits into health coverage for their employees rather than new business investments. and because of rising health care costs, many businesses are cutting back drastically on their level of health care coverage or they're doing away with it entirely. further, despite the fact that we spend almost twice as much per person on health care as any other nation, our health care outcomes lag behind many other countries. we get poor value for what we spend. according to the world health
3:38 pm
organization, the united states ranks 37th -- 37th in terms of health system performance and we are far behind many other countries in terms of such important indices as infant mortality, life expectancy and preventible deaths. in other words, we're spending huge amounts of money, but what we are getting for that investment does not compare well to many other countries that spend a lot less than we do. as the health care debate heats up near washington, we, as a nation, have got to answer two fundamental questions. first, should all americans be entitled to health care as a right and not a privilege, which is the way every other major country treats health care and the way we respond to such other
3:39 pm
basic needs as education, police, and fire protection? 100 or more years ago this country decided every young person, regardless of income, is going to get a primary and secondary education because that is the right thing to do and good for the country. but unlike every other major industrialized nation we have not come to that same conclusion that health care is a right. second, if we are to provide quality health care to all, the next question is: how do we accomplish that in the most cost-effective way possible? you can provide health care to all people in a lot f ways, but some of those -- of ways, but some of those ways will eventually bankrupt this country. what is the most cost-effective way to provide quality health care for every man, woman, and child in this country?
3:40 pm
in terms of the first question that i asked: should all americans be entitled to health care as a right? i think that the answer to that question is pretty clear, and, is, in fact, one of the reasons that barak obama was elected president of the united states. most americans do believe that all of us should have health care coverage and that nobody should be left out of the system. the real debate is how we accomplish that goal in an affordable and sustainable way? in that regard i think the evidence is overwhelming that we must end the private insurance company domination of health care in our country and move toward a publicly funded single payer medicare for all approach. our current private health insurance system is the most costly, wasteful, complicated, and bureaucratic in the world.
3:41 pm
its function is not to provide quality health care for all of our people, but to make huge profits for the people who own the companies. that's what private health insurance is about. with thousands of different health benefit programs designed to maximize profits, private health insurance companies spend an incredible 30% of each health care dollar on administration and building. 30 cents of every dollar is not going to doctors, nurses, medicine, medical personnel. it is going to bureaucracy and administration. included in that spending are not only general administration and billing, but exorbitant c.e.o. compensation packages, advertising, lobbying and campaign contributions. public programs like medicare,
3:42 pm
medicaid, and the v.a. are administered for far less money. in recent years while we have experienced an acute shortage of primary health care doctors, as well as nurses, as well as dentists, and many other health care personnel, we are paying a huge -- we are paying for a huge increase in health care bureaucrats and bill collectors. over the last three decades the number of administrative personnel has grown by 25 times the numbers of physicians. so instead of investing in primary health care -- insteading of investing in doctors, instead of addressing the nursing shortage where our health care doctors are going is into health insurance bureaucrats who spend half of their lives on the telephone telling us that we are not covered for the procedures we
3:43 pm
thought we had paid for, that is a dumb way to spend health care dollars. further, and not surprisingly, while health care costs are soaring, so are the profits of private health insurance companies. from 2003 to 2007 the combined profits of the nation's major health insuranceompanies increased by 170%. health care costs are soaring. people can't afford health insurance, and, yet, the profits of the private health insurance companies have gone up by 170% from 2003 to 2007. and while more and more americans are losing their jobs and their health insurance, the top executives in the industry are receiving lavish compensation packages. it is not just william mcgwire,
3:44 pm
the former head of united health, who several years ago accumulated stock options worth an estimated $1.6 billion, or cignac.e.o. who made more than $120 million in the last five years, it's not just them. it's the reality that c.e.o. compensation for the top seven health insurance companies now averages $14.2 million. 46 million americans have no health insurance, more are underinsured and we, apparently, have the money to pay exorbitant compensation packages to the heads of private health insurance companies. moving toward a national health insurance program, which provides cost-effective universal comprehensive and
3:45 pm
quality health care for all will not be easy. and that is an understatement. it will not be easy. the powerful special interests, the insurance companies, the drug companies, and the medical equipment suppliers, among others, will wage an all-out fight to make sure that we maintain the current system which enables them to make billions and billions of dollars every year in profits. in recent years these special interests have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying, on campaign contributions, and advertising, and with unlimited resources. they can make out a check as big as they need. they will continue to spend as much as they need in order to preserve this dysfunctional health care system from which they profit so much. but, mr. president, at the end
3:46 pm
of the day, as difficult as it may be, the fight for a national health care program will prevail. like the civil rights movement, the struggle for women's rights and other grassroots efforts just as in this country is often delayed, but it will not be denied. we should overcome. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. president, i have one unanimous consent request for a committee to meet during today's session of the senate. it has the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that this request be agreed to and that this request be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: mr. president, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
3:47 pm
3:48 pm
3:49 pm
3:50 pm
3:51 pm
3:52 pm
3:53 pm
3:54 pm
3:55 pm
3:56 pm
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on