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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 10, 2009 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT

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healthy. we have choice in our health care system and that is a good thing. you can choose the health plan or you can choose your provider in many cases. i think that adds competition to quality of care in our system. we have to correct what is wrong much the first thing we have to correct is the cost, bringing it down. the first way to bring the cost down is for everyone to be in the system to deal with the uninsured and i congratulate the committees for bringing proposals that include every american in our health care system. that's the prerequisite. secondly the proposals that are coming forward recognize the advantage of preventive health care. in 1997 we amended the medicare bill. it included preventive health care services keeping our seniors healthier, better lives, and less costly to the system itself if we can detect diseases at an early stage and in some
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cases we can prevent diseases with preventive health care. it saves money. the services costs in the hundreds of dollars. the surgery-related to diseases not caught early are in the continues of thousands of dollars. it makes sense economically and president obama's right to invest in health information technology that will save money and also manage individuals' care in a more effective way. so there are a lot of ways to bring down the cost of health care but let me talk about one issue that has a lot of attention on this floor by some of my colleagues that seem to be opposing health care reform before we have a bill before us. that is the conversation about a public insurance option. mr. president, i'm somewhat bewildered by the discussion because i don't hear to many of my colleagues suggesting the medicare system should be done away with. the last time i checked medicare was a public insurance program.
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but let me differentiate because this point has been misled on the floor that within you is a government or option it doesn't mean the government provides the health care. it means it pays for the health care as it does in medicare. the doctors that our seniors and disabled population go to are private doctors, a private hospital, as it should be. they have choice, as they should. the public insurance option just provides the predictability of a plan that will always be there. my constituents in maryland remember all too well the private insurance companies within medicare who are here one day and gone the next day. thank goodness they had the public option available to them in order to make sure they had coverage. that's not true in part-d today. we don't have public insurance option and that was a mistake. so we need a public insurance option first and foremost to deal with cost.
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we've got to bring down the cost of health care. we've got 46 million people without health insurance today. are we going to let them try to figure out what insurance, private insurance to go to without controls on the cost? that's just going to add to the cost, not bring it down. we've got to at least have the comparison on a fair competition between public insurance and private insurance. i favor private insurance. but i want to have a public insurance option because i want the people in maryland and around the nation to have choice. to be able to choose the plan that's best for them. stay if the plan they have now if they are satisfied with it. we want them to and we nowrchl them to. but we want them to have choice and we want the market to work. and that's why the public insurance option is more and more important. let me just point out the two programs that we recently changed: medicare advantage, the private insurance program within medicare that our seniors
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voluntarily have the option to join. when medicare advantage starts, medicare plus choice it was a savings to the taxpayers because we paid the private insurance company 95% what we pay the fee-for-service public option, saving money for the s made sense. guess what? today we're paying the medicare advantage plans, the private plans, 112% to 117% of what we pay those in the practice additional public option in medicare. every person who picks private insurance costs the system money. the congressional budget office, a nonpartisan objective scorekeeper here says the medicare advantage premium we pay over what we would pay if they were fee-for-service costs the system $150 billion over 10 years. so the public option is not only to offer choice to the people of
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our country between a plan they want, that's available to them, whether it's a private plan or public plan. remember, the providers are going to be private. it is not who provides the benefits but who pays for it, who puts the plan together, the save the system money. part-d, this is no public option in part-d. many of us raised that issue back then that they would have saved taxpayer money and saved medicare money if we at least tried to keep the private insurance company honest by having a public plan that we know what is being charged in paying for prescription drugs. most of it is the cost of medicine. why can't we have transparency? why do we have to pay the high overhead without the competition of a model that could save the taxpayers money and save our system money if this is not a government takeover as some of my colleagues have said. medicare was not a government takeover.
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medicare pays for the private doctors and hospitals so the disabled and seniors can get access to health care in america. i think those who make the argument which are basically scare tactics, they're not adding to the debate here that is worthy of this issue. this is a very important issue to people of our nation. this is our opportunity to fix our system by improving what's right, building on it, and correcting what is wrong. strpten the goostrengthen the ge system, where it is working, but correct the runaway costs in our system and let's provide a reasonable way those who don't have health insurance can get health insurance. and if we can work together, democrats and republicans, this is an american problem. this is about america's competitiveness. this is about american families
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being able to afford their health care. this is about balancing our budgets in the future so america can continue to grow as stron strong -- the strongest economy in the world. it starts no idea this debate about fixing one of the underpinnings of our economy that is out of whack. we need universal coverage. we need to have openings available that will keep health care aforrable fo affordable foe in this country and provide quality care for each america. that's what this debate is about. i applaud our committees working on this and i applaud all the members of this body and the house who are seriously engaging if this discussion. i think we can all learn from each other. and if we work in go faith we can develop a health care reform proposal that will maintain quality but provide access and affordability to every family in
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america. that should be our objective. i hope we will all work toward that end. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. kaufman: thank you, mr. president. i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. kaufman: i ask to speak in morning business for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kaufman: mr. president, i rise today to congratulate the american society of mechanical engineers on its 125th anniversary of its codes and standards. as the only serving senator who served as an engineer, i worked as a mechanical engineer, i was proud to sponsor a resolution with a lasting impact, asme codes and standards have had on our nation and other parts of
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the world. may sound like a lot of jargon and pretty boring stuff. but as an engineer, i'm proud to say that i believe that the nuts and bolts of how to build things, how to create hour to standardize and grow equipment and industries have been at the very heart of american economic growth engine for more than a century. that kind of nuts and bolts thinking and creativity will be what leads america out of this recession and towards sustained economic growth once again. so i'm pleased that the senate has joined me in celebrating a success story of american engineering. this story begins when asme was founded in 1880. asme currently includes more than 127,000 members worldwide. it is a professional organization which promotes the art, science and practice of mechanical and multidisciplinary engineering and live sciences.
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one of the chief functions since its founding has been the development of tool an machine part standards, along with uniform work practices to ensure mechanical reliability. this week asme will celebrate its 125th an verse of codes and standards development. this is truly a tribute to the dedicated service and technical experts and engineers whose results in international standards, standards not only that enhance public safety and promote global trade. its first published test code was entitled -- quote -- "code for the conduct of trial of steam boilers." since then amse has pressure vessel technology, elevators and escalators, gas pipelines, engineering drawing practices and other processes and processes. asme codes and standards as well
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as conformity assessment programs are used in more than 100 countries. does engineering sound boring to you? let's hope that american youth doesn't think so. we need to excite the minds of thousands of young americans about the possibilities of being an engineer. engineers have always been the world's problem solverrers. it is impossible to know the effect asme's effect and codes have had on global development. during the period of rising industrialization as machines were expand and used in complexity on farms an fact sis, asme ensured the safety of engineers an workers using these machines. today these codes and standards are continued to be revised and updated to reflect changes in technology. as a result asme's codes and standards are accepted across the globe and help to advance international commerce. the american society of mechanical engineers has adapted
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to meet the changes an challenges in the engineering profession. i commend their accomplishments and contributions to the health, safety and economic well-being of our nation. i'm pleased that the senate yesterday approved senate resolution 179. america's competitive spirit helped us meet the challenge of those times. thousands of interassociations created a myriad of opportunities for growth an development. we can do this again. the financial crisis could lead to a cultural shift of innovation know how that have always been the american way. i'm glad that the federal government invested in supporting the basic scientific, medical and engineering research that will spur the discovery and innovations to create millions of new jobs and shape a bright american future. i want to thank my fellow senators for joining me in celebrating one small chapter in an economic success story with hope that we can have similar
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successes in the coming years. mr. president, i wish to speak again about our excellent federal workforce. in my years of government service, i met so many wonderful people who give so much of themselves for the benefit of us all. that's why i believe it is essential for the american people to have confidence in our federal employees. americans need to know that they can place their trust those in charge of carrying out the people's work. our government is filled with talented individualsls performig their job with excellence. i cannot count the federal employees who deserve to be praised in this chamber because the number is so great. i hope to share one story today that is exemplary of our civil servants overall. the ancient philosophers used to compare the government of a state with that of a vessel at sea. in order to keep the ship afloat, to keep it headed in the proper direction, it required a
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captain and crew who were disciplined and responsible. moreover, everyone on board down to the lowest rank had a job to do and every task was critical. so it is with government. every federal employee, no matter how large or small one's job, keeps our ship afloat and sailing ever onward. i have not chosen analogies by chance, it fits well with a hard-working civil servant who i wish to recognize today. the federal employee honored today has spent more than a quarter century working as a civil engineer for the navy department. though today brian persons is civil director of the naval system command, he began as a ship architect at the long beach naval ship yard. a michigan native and a graduate of michigan state, brian went to work in 1981 for the navy department designing an maintaining the ships of our fleet. brian distinguished himself in
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the design division and made supervisory architect within a very few years. while there he worked on the overhauls of service ship including the u.s.s. new jersey and u.s.s. new jersey. in 1988 when the u.s.s. samuel b. roberts struck a mine in the persian gulf, the navy sent brian to provide analysis options. though he only asked to spend a week in the gulf, he remained with the stricken vessel for 45 days until it was again sea worth yism describing the experience he said i quote -- "i'm still amazed at authority i was given to execute this project. i was lucky to have an opportunity at such an early stage in my career." i want our nation's graduates to know that careers in public service are full of opportunities like the one given to brian. federal employees at all levels get to work on exciting and relevant projects every day. after his superb performance in due buy, brian was given


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