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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 5, 2009 1:43pm-2:00pm EST

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opposed it when it was created. they have tried to privatize it. they basically ridiculed it as a government herns program. bu-- government health insurance program. but for 45 million americans, it's a lifeline. a lifeline when you retire so that your savings don't go away. and for most of them, they ignored a vote cast two days ago. one of the most important votes on the floor, in addition to senator mikulski helping women get preventive health services, was senator michael bennet of colorado. he offered an amendment that basically said any of the savings that come forward out of of this medicare change in here has to be put in to giving sound financial footing for medicare, more services for the elderly, and making certain that we protect the services that are already guaranteed. that passed100-0. my friends on the other side of the aisle know that. they all voted for it.
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we're protecting medicare. we're going to put it on sound financiafooting. footing -- sound financial footing. and for the 100 million currently receiving it and for those in the future, this bill is going to make medicare stronger. slow down? no, we're not slowing down. this time we're going to pass health care reform. this time we're going to make america a healthier country with quality, affordable health care for everyone.. madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i yield myself such time as i might consume from this side. i listened to the distinguished majority whip, and i don't know how many times we on this side have to tell him that if they want to read republican bills, here's an opportunity to come and read them. so they do exist, and they've existed for a long time going back to some of their entries into the senate in the spring. another thing that i heard was that republicans have no ideas
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taking on the insurance companies. i would refer him to the coburn-burr bill that does away with the discrimination that insurance companies can't deny health insurance because of preexisting conditions. i heard him say that we're newfound supporters of medicare. well, let me suggest to him that when we learned from the complaints of his party four years ago when they were berating the fact that we wanted to take $10 billion out of medicare and how that was ruining medicare, well, we're faced now with $464 billion out of medicare, and so we think that they've talked out of both sides of their mouth in the sense that four years ago medicare would be hurt if $10
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billion was taken out. well, surely if $464 billion is taken out, it's hurting medicare. i rise not to take on the senate whip -- majority whip at this point, but i rise because we keep hearing from the other side about how premiums are going to go down and i've referred in previous remarks in this past week to a letter sent to senator bayh that provides a very comprehensive analysis of what health insurance premiums look like as a result of this reid bill now before us. and that reminds me of one other thing that the senate majority whip just said; that we want to delay action on this bill. well, what we would really like
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to have is have 99 senators have the time to consider what's in this 2,074-page bill when you got to remember that the -- in the secrecy of the senate leader's office, senator reid's office, from october 2 until about the saturday before thanksgiving, it took that long in the secrecy to put two bills together out of two separate committees. well, that's one senator putting together the 2,074-page bill we have before us. don't they think that 99 other senators ought to have at least that same period of time to consider what's in this bill? i think so. anyway, getting back to the increase in premiums -- and senator bayh's letter from the congressional budget office saying that premiums are going to go up -- i wonder if anyone has actually read that letter?
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i hear a lot of people saying that this letter proves that premiums would go down under the reid bill, even though that's not what that letter says. so i'm here to tell people what the letter really says. the letter makes it very clear that premiums will increase, on average, by 10% to 13% for people buying coverage in the individual market. and i think you saw a specific figure given by the senator from texas that in his state, a large percentage of the individual market premiums would go up just for people in the state of texas. i have a chart here, just in case you miss what had this letter actually said. now that people that keep saying that premiums are going to go down conveniently forth to mention that -- forget to
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mention that this 10% to 13% increase is going to happen for the individual market. no, they'd prefer to talk about 57% of the americans in the individual market that are going to get subsidies. yes, it is true. the government is spending $500 billion in hard-earned taxpayers' dollars in addition to the cuts that they're having in home health care -- that the pending amendment before the senate -- and this cuts -- and these tax increases cover up the fact that this bill drives up premiums faster than current law. i repeat, premiums will go up faster under this bill. supporters of this bill are just covering up this increase in cost by then handing out these subsidies. but if you're one of the 14 million people that don't get a subsidy, well, what? -- you're
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out of luck. you're stuck with the fact that this is a 10% to 13% more expensive and coupled with it an unprecedented new federal law that mandates that you buy and purchase insurance. now, some may say that this is just the individual market. it only accounts for a small portion of the total market. well, again, if you're comfortable -- as the other side seems to be -- with 14 million people paying more under this bill than they would under current law, well, i'd like too also have you look at the employer -- i'd like to also have you look at the employer-based market. the congressional budget office says that this bill maintains the status quo in the small group and large group insurance market. is this really something that we ought to be celebrating, maintaining the status quo? our expectations so low at this
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point that democrats are celebrating that this bill will increase premiums for some 14 million people and maintain the status quo for everybody else? and i'm being generous in using the phrase "status quo," because this bill actually makes things worse for millions of people. this bill is so bad that democrats are trying to convince the american people that this is just more of the same when even that is not the case. what happened to bending the growth curve? in other words, the inflation that we've historically had in health care costs going up three or four times the rate of inflation, going up now 8% or 9% even when we have deflation in the economy at large? and what about the president's program that everyone will save
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$2,,500? according to c.b.o., almost every small business will pay between 1% or 2% more or 2% less for health insurance that. means that compared to what businesses would be paid under current law this bill will raise premiums 1% or maybe decrease them by a whopping 2%. that doesn't sound like this bill is providing real relief. and $2,500 for savings for every american, as president obama pledged repeatedly diewrk the campaign, just is not going to happen. the larger businesses will pay the same or up to 3% less for health insurance. once again, that doesn't sound like relief. it sounds like more of the same. in fact, the congressional budget office has confirmed that between now, the year 2016, premiums will continue to grow at twice the rate of inflation. so i thought congress was
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considering health reform. to put an end to the unsustainable premium increases. so this bill cuts medicare by $500 billion, raises taxes by $500 billion, restructures 17% of our economy, spends $2.5 trillion, and some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are celebrating that they have achieved the status quo when in fact the situation will be worse. and i thought that the status quo was not something that was acceptable to most members of this body. our constituents want to lower costs. that is their main concern. our constituents -- that's what they beg for: lower costs. but this bill files address that concern. it raises premiums. and despite offering new ideas throughout the committee process and on the floor, republicans
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are being accused of supporting the status quo when our bills are right here for anybody to look at if they think that there aren't any ideas that we would put forth. well, the congressional budget office has spoken, and it's pretty clear that my colleagues across the aisle are not only okay with the status quo, they're okay with making things worse. higher taxes, higher premiums, increased deficits, less medicare. just think, we're approaching the christmas holiday season, and a christmas gift coming from this united states senate with a 2,074-page bill: higher taxes, higher premiums, increased deficits, $464 billion cuts in medicare and not doing anything about inflation in health care costs. they're celebrating that they spend $2.5 trillion to raise
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premiums for 14 million people, not bending this growth curve, not cutting costs. don't take my word for it. you got to read this letter i fm the congressional budget office. it's there in black and white, as evidenced by the chart that i have here. i yield the floor. mr. kerry: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: madam president, i yield myself such time as i will use. madam president, i just listened to my friend, senator grassley, and he and i have a good relationship and we work together here -- we both serve on the finance committee and i have enjoyed a lot of the things with that we do together. so what i am going to say is something substantive, not personal. there just is a lack of reality here in a lot of the comments that we're hearing from our friends on the other side of the aisle.
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and a persistence in perpetuating a myth. you know, a lot of us have seen the politics of this country where if you say something over and over and over and over again, no matter how true it is, it request have an impact. i know that personally. but let me tell you, i just heard the senator from iowa say -- quote -- "-- i am going to quote him -- i wrote it down -- "certainly, if $450 billion is being taken out" -- out of medicare -- "it is hurting medicare. " that's what he just said. let me review what is sort of really happening here. i want to go back to the comments much the republican nominee for president just last year. and that is quote. john mccain -- this is from an article in the wawrnlings john
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mccain would pay for his health care plan with major reductions for medicare and medicaid, a top a.d.a. said in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion. now, after i said that on the floor, the senator from north carolina, senator burr, stood up and said, have you seen and i said, i haven't read the specific article, but we didn't see that corrected in the course of the campaign. but now i've seen the article. i wanted to know what the senator from north carolina was referring to so i went and got and went through the obama campaign ads and their ads and factchecked what was being said. and the bottom line is the mccain advisors, a fellow
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named holtz-eakin, and in a conference call with reporters after the ad was released what he said was, no service is being reduced. every beneficiary will in the future receive exactly the benefits that they have been promised from the beginning. well, that's the same thing as we're having. no benefit is being cut. but he didn't say he wasn't going to reduce the overall amount of money. what he said subsequently -- and i'm quoting from -- here it is -- "as late as october 17, about two weeks before the election -- mr. holtz-eakin said in a telephone conference call with reporters, representing the campaign for the republican party, he said, "any shortfall
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in mccain's health care plan will be covered without cutting


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