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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 7, 2009 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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the men who have brought us this don't single out a procedure that's used by a man or a drug that is used by a man that involves his reproductive health care and say they have to get a special rider. there's nothing in this amendment that says if a man some days wants to buy viagra, for example, that his pharmaceutical coverage cannot cover it. that he has to buy a rider. i wouldn't support that. and they shouldn't support going after a woman using her own private funds for her reproductive health care. is it fair to say to a man you're going to have to buy a rider to buy viagra and this will be public information that could be accessed? no, i don't support that. i support a man's privacy, just as i support a woman's privacy. so it's very clear to me that
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this amendment would be the biggest rollback to a woman's right to choose in decades. we didn't ask for this fight, madam president. we didn't plan for this fight. we don't want this fight. we simply want to ensure that this three decades-long agreement is kept in place, and that's what senator reid does in the underlying bill. it's very clear that in the underlying bill, there is a firewall, madam president, a firewall between federal funds and private funds, and all we are saying is please leave it alone. we believe it is discriminatory to single out a procedure that only women can utilize and say he to the women of this nation oh, by the way, yes, this is a legal procedure but you can't use your own private funds.
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senator reid is very clear. he puts into place, as i said, a firewall between the federal funds and the private funds. so roe v. wade is still the law of the land. i know a lot of my colleagues don't support it. they would like to see it overturned. they would like to make abortion illegal at the earliest stages. they would like to criminalize it. they would like to put doctors in jail. they would like to put women in jail. the fact is roe v. wade is the law of the land, and at the early stages of a pregnancy, a woman has a right to choose, that's the law. later on, she can't do it. there are restrictions for her, hurdles for her. that's what roe does. so there are many people, particularly on the other side of the aisle, more than on our side, for sure, who want to make roe -- they want to overturn roe. well, they know they can't do it
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because the vast majority of the people in this country support a woman's right to choose at the early stages of a pregnancy. so what can they do? they can make it impossible for her to access, access the doctor for this procedure, and in this bill, they go after her insurance. it's -- it's very surprising to me that such an amendment could pass the house, but it did, and i am asking my colleagues, women and men, both sides of the aisle, to please, please stand up for equality in this country. please don't single out women. what have women done to deserve this? there are mothers, there are daughters, there are grand mass. they -- grandmas. they serve in the military with dignity. why punish them this way? why have such a lack of respect for them that they can't even
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get reproductive health care with their own private funds? it is really, to me, such a rollback of women's rights, and i -- i believe we will defeat this here in the senate and i believe senator reid deserves a lot of credit because what he did in the underlying bill is preserve the status quo. no federal funds for abortion, not a dollar, but a woman can use her own private funds to buy health insurance. thank you very much, madam president, and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, as is the agreed upon procedure by the two leaders, i now send a motion to commit to the desk with instructions as part of the side-by-side procedure that's been agreed to by the majority leaders and ask for its consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report.
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the clerk: the senator from arizona, mr. mccain, moves to commit the bill h.r. 3590 to the committee on finance with instructions to report the same back to the senate with changes that include applying the amendments made by section 3201-g. mr. mccain: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, the motion i'm offering would simply commit the bill back to the finance committee for a short period to apply the same grandfathering provision in this legislation to all medicare advantage beneficiaries. now, the provision in the bill as it is specifically drafted to prevent the drastic medicare advantage cuts from impacting some seniors in florida which compares to the cuts facing medicare advantage enrollees in the rest of florida and the rest of america, including the
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330,000 medicare advantage enrollees in my state. so basically what this amendment -- or this motion does is says that the -- the same benefits that have been granted in the legislation to citizens in florida would also apply to citizens who are enrollees in the medicare advantage program all over america. it's pretty simple. specifically, starting in 2012, this motion would accomplish a fix that allows all medicare advantage enrollees to maintain the same -- to maintain current levels of benefits on the date of enactment. by the way, that would be in keeping with the sense of the
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senate resolution that was agreed to by the senator from colorado, senator bennet, that called for all americans to be able to keep the same level of benefits as they presently have today under medicare and medicaid. let me -- during the finance committee markup, the senator from florida, the senior senator from florida advocated in favor of treating certain medicare advantage enrollees in florida better than the rest of american seniors under medicare advantage. let me read from two articles written at the time of the senate finance committee's deliberation. "the new york times": "senator tries to allay fears on health overall." september 24, 2009.
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and i quote from the article: "mr. nelson, a democrat, has a big problem. the bill taken up this week by the committee would cut medicare payments to insurance companies that care for more than ten million older americans, including nearly one million in florida. the program known as medicare advantage is popular because it offers extra benefits including vision and dental care and even in some cases membership in health clubs or fitness centers. quote, it would be intolerable to ask senior citizens to give up substantial health benefits they are enjoying under medicare, said mr. nelson, who has been deluged with calls and complaints from constituents. quote, i am offering an amendment to shield seniors from those benefit cuts." pretty simple. pretty simple. the senator from florida believes that there would be cuts to the medicare advantage program, and he was able to get
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into this bill an exemption for some, i believe, 800,000 -- i've got the number here -- oh, 950,000 enrollees, i believe it is, in medicare advantage in florida. so what the -- admirably the senator from florida was able to insert in this bill, protection for 800,000, 900,000-some constituents of his who are medicare enrollees. i'd like to respond by saying there are 330,000 of them in my state that are seniors who have paid in to medicare who have the medicare advantage program. under the legislation with the exception of the carve out with the citizens in florida by mr. nelson would also then lose their benefits.
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similar concerns exploded into public view on wednesday as members of the finance committee slogged through a mammoth health care overall bill for a second day. senator nelson said republicans were waging a -- quote -- scare campaign but this highlights the risk for democrats who vote to reassure americans in large numbers. president obama as well cannot afford to lose mr. nelson's vote. white house officials have offered to work with him to address their concerns. mr. obama has said repeatedly, quote, that if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep it. you know, that's one of the more remarkable statements that is obviously contradicted by anybody who believes -- who reads this bill. anyone under any one of the 11 million americans with the exception of senator nelson's constituents that is under medicare advantage will see cuts
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in medicare advantage. that's fact. that's fact. so if those 11 million americans like their health care plan, they will not be able to keep it. they will not be able to keep it. the cost of mr. nelson's proposed fix to preserve benefits for many people enrolled in the private medicare plans could total $40 billion over ten years, and that could also be a problem for the white house. mr. obama has promised not to sign a health bill that increases the deficit. and so far mr. nelson has not said precisely how he would pay for his amendment. approval of the amendment could invite other democrats to ask for similar deals that might make the bill more palatable to their constituents but more costly as well." well, since that september 9 article, obviously, other senators have asked for the same shielding of their constituents who are enrolled in the medicare advantage program. october 20, 2009, a bloomberg
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story: "reid leads democrats into carving out favors for states on health. democrats such as senator bill nelson of florida and ron wyden of oregon secured provisions setting aside $5 billion to shore up benefits for constituents who participate in medicare advantage. that program allows private insurers to contract with the government to provide medicare benefits. nelson said the aid isn't directed solely at florida. "it affects several states, including new york," he said." we're trying to grandfather in seniors so they don't lose the benefits they have." well, i'm trying to carry out senator nelson's ambition. senator nelson says that: "several states -- it affects several states, including new york trying to grandfather in seniors so they don't lose the benefits they have." that's exactly what this amendment is all about. i would assume that i could expect senator nelson's
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affirmative vote along with all others of the -- listed in the motion of the 11 million people who are under medicare advantage in their states. the article goes on to say: "and the deal making continues. we have now learned about the special provisions in the twowp twowp -- in the 2,000-page legislation designed for senators at the medicare advantage members in other states and the american taxpayers. you know, we have had -- i say to my colleagues, we have had to read about such deals because they have been cut in secret closed door meetings without the benefit of the c-span cameras as promised. just the other day it came to light that this legislation has special provisions for oregon, new york, and a special one in florida. now, i have had a conversation with senator wyden of oregon and he says that is not the case. i will certainly take senator wyden's word for it. i want the same protections
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extended to all seniors. that's all this motion is about. the same protection to all seniors -- no special deals for any constituents that -- that is related to the state in which they reside or the influence of their elected representatives. that's not the way we should treat seniors in this country who have paid into medicare advantage. medicare -- the special carveout for some florida seniors is quite interesting. despite beneficiaries in florida hearing the president's promises about being able to keep what you have, it appears that the 950,000 medicare advantage enrollees in florida aren't satisfied with the democrats' promises to protect so-called -- quote -- guaranteed benefits. medicare advantage beneficiaries in florida thawed they would be able to keep the medicare advantage benefits that provide protection from high
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cost-sharing in traditional medicare, wellness programs and vision, hearing and dental benefits that they have come to rely on. however, when florida beneficiaries learned they weren't going to be able to keep what they have, in fact, they were going to see a 64% cut in benefits, a deal benefiting some at the expense of other medicare advantage beneficiaries and taxpayers was added in exchange for support to move forward on the cuts. let me point out that despite attempting to protect hundreds of thousands of florida seniors from benefit cuts, senator nelson's deal still leaves approximately 150,000 florida seniors and seniors across the country unprotected. so even in the proposed deal that was cut, senator nelson was willing to leave 150,000 beneficiaries subject to medicare advantage cuts. now, the medicare advantage
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program is a program that had bipartisan support and the support of a million - a million --11 million seniors who were enrolled in the program. now, just a few short years ago, when congress enacted the medicare modernization act, new funding was intentionally provided to stabilize the medicare health plan program. this was one of the few issues on which there was strong bipartisan agreement during the 2003 medicare debate. it was done to ensure seniors all across america had access to an option in the medicare program, an option for the additional better benefits than are available under the traditional medicare program. now, in june 2003, several of our colleagues, including senator schumer and senator kerry, offered a bipartisan amendment on the senate floor to provide additional funding for benefits under the medicare advantage program, so i find it a little interesting that
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members on the other side want to cut benefits to seniors now even though they supported the funding before they now want to cut them. later in 2003, as the medicare conference committee was completing its deliberation, a bipartisan group of 18 senators signed a letter urging the conferees to provide a meaningful increase in medicare advantage funding. this letter was signed by a diverse group of our colleagues, including democrat senators, such as -- democratic senators such as diane feinstein, christopher dodd, ron by deny, frank lautenberg, patty murray, arlen specter, mary landrieu, and maria cantwell. now, mr. president, here's a letter dated 30 september, 2003. and it says, "dear medicare conferee:" it says united states senate, and it's signed by a
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number of senators, including my colleague, senator kerry. "we're asking" addition -- "we're writing to ask you as a member of the medicare conference committee to ensure that the final medicare bill includes a meaningful increase in medicare choice funding in fiscal years 2004-2005." so i guess that my friend and colleague, senator kerry, was against cuts in funding before he was for it. he was against them before he was for them. so anyway, it goes on to say, "you strongly support additional medicare choice funding for two very important reasons. one, to protect the health care choices and benefits of the nearly 5 million medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in private-sector health plans. and, two, to strengthen the foundation for future health plan choices. we believe that the medicare choice funding provisions are critically important to
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preserving choice and quality for america's seniors. we urge you to include these provisions in the final bill reported out of medicare conference committee." since then, the medicare advantage program has been popular enough so that 11 million of our senior citizens have joined the program. i think that's a pretty impressive number of people who have decided to join the program. now, madam president -- and so i urge my colleagues to vote for this motion just to give equal access to a very popular program to also citizens rather than just give it to several hundred thousands who happen to live -- several hundred thousand who happen to live in a certain part of the country. now, you know, in the --
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mrs. boxer: senator mccain, i just wondered how much longer you were going to go because we have people waiting on both sides to speak up to ten minutes. mr. mccain: i'm not sure. so, madam president, recently there's an article i in the "noh county times" from san diego in the region, dated saturday, december 5, 2009. i would say to the senator from california, in sponsor to question, this is a very important issue, as the senator from california just pointed o out, and i have a lot to say on it. and i have waited my turn to speak and in keeping with the procedures that are in keeping with the agreement between the two leaders, i don't expect to be too much longer but i do not expect to curtail my remarks on this very important issue at 5:20 p.m. in the afternoon. so here's a -- here's an article from the "north county times"
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from san diego and the region, december 5, 2009. region: state ends subsidy for mammograms to low-income women under 50." i repeat -- "state ends subsidy for mammograms to low-income women under 50." and it goes on to say, "the eligibility age for state subsidized breast cancer screening has been raised from 40 to 50 by the california health and human services agen agency, which will also temporarily stop enrollment in the breast cancer screening program." now, i mean, advocates for low-income women whose health care the department helps pay for say the cuts put a two-tier system in place that is based on money rather than medical standards. the cuts will greatly harm the clinic's mammogram program, said natasha riley, manager of vista community clinic's breast health
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outreach and education program. the clinic and others like it in san diego county provide reduced-cost care mostly to low-income people with money from the state and some private donations. quote "more than 50% of the women we give breast exams and mammograms to are in their 40' 40's," riley said. "a majority of our current breast cancer survivors are women in their 40's. the state's decision, announced december 1 and effective january 1, follows a controversial federal recommendation last month that mammograms before the age of 50 are generally not needed." so now we see -- now we see the federal recommendation that was made last month that mammograms before the age of 50 are generally not needed are now being implemented in the state of california. that means -- however, private
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health care systems, such as scripps health, have rejected the federal force's recommendation, choosing instead to keep the existing standard which calls for a mammogram at age 40 with annual mammograms thereafter. that means doctors will be using two medical practice guidelines distinguished not by knowledge but by the pocketbook, said dr. jack clause en, a gynecologist and obstetrician who practices at vista community clinic. quote: "if we're in a situation where we don't screen but the private practice doctor can screen, then we are actually not practicing to the standard of care," claussen said. i ask unanimous consent that this entire article be included in the record, and i certainly hope that a decision like this would not be implemented in discrimination against low-income women in the state of california. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i have found the debate here on
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the floor has been invigorating. i have found it to be educational. not only to the members of this body and this senator in particular but i think to all americans. believe it or not, a lot of the deliberations and the debate and the discussion that we've had on the floor here have been vigorous, they have been sometimes passionate because this is such an important issue. issues such as the one i just discussed, and they have been sometimes tough. but i must say that i have always tried to be respectful of the views of my colleagues even though we've had some -- especially the senator from illinois, the distinguished whip of the -- of the democratic party, who i've engaged in vigorously, but they've always been respectful debate. and i intend to maintain that
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respect, as i have throughout my career here. but i do not mean that that means i won't be passionate. so i was astonished, i was astonished and taken aback to see a article that just crossed my desk titled "reid compares opponents of health care reform to supporters of slavery." "senate majority leader harry reid took his g.o.p. blasting rhetoric" -- i'm quoting from the article -- "to a new level monday, comparing republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago. senate majority leader harry reid took his g.o.p. blasting rhetoric to a new level monday, comparing republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago. the nevada democrat in a sweeping set of accusations on the senate floor also comparing
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republicans who oppose health care reform to lawmakers who clung to the institution of slavery more than a century ago. the nevada democrat in a sweeping set of accusations on the senate floor also compared health care foes to those who opposed women's suffrage and the civil rights movement even though it was senator strom thurmond, then a democrat, who unsuccessfully tried to filibuster the civil rights act of 1957. and it was republicans who led the charge against slavery." so not only was senator reid wrong in his accusations. senator reid was also incorrect in who opposed slavery and who supported the civil rights act. but that's -- that's not the important point here.
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the important point here, as the article goes on to say, "but reid argued that republicans are using the same stalling tactics employed in the pre-civil war era. 'quote --" and i quote from the article who's quoting from senator reid. "instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the republicans can come up with is slow down, stop everything, let's start over. if you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right, reid said on monday, when this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, slow down, it's too early, things aren't bad enough." "he financed continued, when woe up for the right to speak up, they wanted the trite vote, some simply insisted we slow down. today ther there will be a betty
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to do that. the time isn't quite right." he went on to say -- quote -- "when this body was going to guarantee equal rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today." that seemed to be a reference to thurmond's famous 1957 filibuster. the late senator switched parties several years later. senator orrin hatch, republican, utah, said reid's remarks were over the top. quote -- "that is extremely offensive," he told fox news. "it's language that should never be used, never be used. these days are not here now. senator saxby chambliss, republican georgia, suggested reid was starting to -- quote -- "crack" under the pressure of the health care reform debate." and, quote -- "i think it's beneath the dignity of the majority leader," senator tom coburn, republican oklahoma, said.
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"i am personally insulted." so this is a debate which has been spirited. this has been a debate which has been passionate. this has been a debate that i think has been very helpful to the american people. some of the back-and-forth that i've seen i think has been excellent. it's been excellent debate and discussion. i enjoyed it when the senator from montana and i had a discussion about various endorsements. i -- i appreciated the fact that senator durbin brought my record to light and questioned it. but most importantly, most of the conversation has been about the components of this bill and its impact on the future of america.
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and so to somehow compare, as this article says, that we who believe firmly in the principles that are being violated by this 2,000-page legislation as compared to people who supported slavery, i would very much appreciate if the -- if senator reid would come to the floor and if not apologize certainly clarify his remarks, that he was not referring to those of us who we believe are doing our constitutional -- carrying out and performing our constitutional duties and that is acting in the best interests of our constituents on an issue that will impact the future of the united states of america for years and years and years. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the fox
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article be included in the record at this time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: so, if i could return to my amendment, my amendment would make sure that every beneficiary is protected and receives equal treatment. i'd expect strong bipartisan support since i think we'd all like it see the same protections guaranteed for our own constituents. i know the senator from pennsylvania will appreciate this amendment, since he filed his own amendment to spend $2.5 billion in tpt in taxpayers's ds in pennsylvania. i guess the medicare beneficiaries in pennsylvania weren't satisfied with the promise to protect so-called guaranteed benefits either. this motion to commit is a straightforward amendment that will help the president keep his
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promise that if you like your health insurance that you have today, policy that you have today, you can keep it and will protect 6.10 million medicare beneficiaries from the 64% cut in benefits. i think it's been an important debate that we'ven gauged in, and i do not and will not impugn the motives or the integrity of those who are sponsors of this legislation. yes -- yes, i will argue that we didn't have -- we didn't keep the president's promise and commitment over a year ago in the presidential campaign when he said he would have the c-span cameras in, that there would be bipartisan negotiations, with the c-span cameras in, with the democrats and republicans sitting down together so that if his words, the american people could see who's on the side of
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the health insurance companies and the special interests and who's on the side of the american people. i think that's a legitimate statement and a legitimate questioning as to the process that's taking place today where there has been no negotiations with the members on this side and there has been no c-span camera included where these negotiations are taking place. so i hope that there will be. i hope that this legislation is defeated and that we could go back and sit down together, republicans and democrats, and we could agree on medical malpractice reform, on crossing state lines to receive, be able to get the best insurance policy for every citizen and their family, to emphasize wellness and fitness and reward it, to treat -- to enact outcome-based
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treatment for our patients, to make a lot of measures and a lot of significant steps that would truly reduce the cost of health care in america, not enact a $2.5 trillion new entitlement program that is a scam -- it's a scam because of the way that the budgetary process has been set up. right today i can go out and buy an automobile, and i don't have to make a payment for a year. under this proposal, you start making the payments, and four years later you get the benefits. now, that is enron accounting. so i hope -- so i hope that my colleagues will allow us to continue this spirited debate and discussion. i say with the greatest respect these are tough issues and there are strong differences of agreement. but i think the overall of this
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debate and discussion is good for the american people. and hopefully the outcome will be one that we are better informed and can better address the issue of the skyrocketing cost of health care in america and our ability to provide them with affordable and available health care. madam president, i yield the floor. mrs. gillibrand: i ask unanimous consent that no further amendments be in order during today's session. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that no further amendments be in order during today's session. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. gillibrand: i yield the floor now to senator mikulski for ten minutes. ms. mikulski: thank you very much. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: thank you. madam president, i rise to speak on the bill and also in opposition to the nelson of nebraska amendment on the subject of abortion. first of all, madam president, i truly believe that health care reform is the most important
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social justice vote that we will cast in this decade. why? because we are talking about providing universal access to health care, which i believe is a basic human right and should be a fundamental american right. that's why health reform is so important. providing universal access to health care and in this bill ending the punitive practices of insurance companies against women, particularly in the area of gender discrimination, where we pay more and get less in our benefit package, and also where simply being a woman is often treated as a preexisting condition. eight states consider domestic violence a preexisting condition, and you can't get insurance. one woman who had a medically mandated c-section was told she couldn't get insurance again
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unless she had a sterilization. coerced stelzation in the united states of america -- sterilization in the uplts. -- in the united states of america. i thought that's what they did in nazi germany. the other thing this bill does is strengthen and stabilize medicare to make sure seniors have access to health care at all ages and all stages. now, madam president, i consider these principles to be pro-life. i think the health care bill that we are debating is as pro-life as you can be, because what other thing helps maintain, protect, save, or deal with impaired life than providing universal access to having health care? a famous pastor by the name of rick warren who's written the great book that's inspired so many -- "purpose-driven life" --
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talks not about pro-life but whole life principles. now i think that being able to see a doctor or an appropriate health care professional saves lives, and i view this vote on health care reform as pro-life or whole life as anyone can cast. i agree with pastor rick warren when he uses that principle, and i believe to see a doctor when you need one, to save a life or to deal with the health care you need so you don't lose an eye. like in diabetes, you don't lose an eye, you don't lose a kidney, you don't lose a foot, or if you're pregnant and diabetic, lose your child. we want to make sure that women have access to mammograms, that the men we love and who love us have access, if they have high blood pressure -- and sometimes they have it because they don't have health care for their family -- prostate cancer. i believe that's what whole life is. so, you see, in this bill i believe that supporting
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screening for diabetes is pro-life, cervical cancer screening is pro-life. but most of all, if you want people to have healthy pregnancies, healthy childbirth, healthy babies, they need access to health care. so that's why i say that voting for universal access to health care is as pro-life as you can be. making this debate about abortion, i believe, is misguided and wrong. first of all, in the bill we already deal with this topic. now, in the interest of passing health care reform, i believe we deal with this sensitive topic in a sensitive way. we were checked in on amendments on both sides -- for example, we did not seek to change the settled language regarding abortion that is the hyde amendment. there were those in the exuberance of last year's
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election said let's get rid of hyde. many of us took that position trying to find that sensible center. we're principled and whole life people as well. we said let's keep the hyde amendment. it is settled language. i don't use the term settled wrong, madam president, because that is a precise legal term and i know my colleague from pennsylvania and others can argue that. but hyde is settled language. what does the hyde amendment that's been around for almost 30 years do? it prohibits any federal funds to be used directly for abortions except in the case of rape, incest where the life of the mother is at risk. it has a conscious cause to protect providers who do not want to provide institutions. this bill does not seek to change the underlying premise of the hyde amendment, which, as i said, i regard the settled
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language of 30 years ago. the senate bill, the pending bill, goes even further than hyde. it was legislation that came out of the finance committee, and i salute them for once again trying to find a sensible center, engage in civil and rational dialogue. and i would like to compliment them on their efforts. however, the other side keeps changing the midpoint. but seeking a greater good, many of us agreed what was in the finance bill. quite frankly, it went farther than i would if i were writing a bill. but, again, in the issue of comity and so that we wouldn't turn -- we would keep this debate on the issue of providing health care and not turn it into an abortion debate. now what is -- what came out of the finance committee is in the merged bill do? it says loudly, clearly and
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consistently, no federal funds can be used to pay for the coverage of abortion. and it does it by separating out funds so that no public money from federal credits or subsidies would be used for abortions. what more do you ask anyone to do? health care under the pending bill health care plans cannot be required to cover abortion. health care plans can choose to cover or not cover it. and state laws regarding abortion are not preempted. and it again includes the long-standing practice of a strong conscious cause for either individual providers or institutions, for example, catholic hospitals, from performing abortions if it's against their conscience. i believe what we've done here is find the sensible center. and it leaves the decision in the hands of patients and doctors, not politicians or insurance executives. so the question is not what is
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decided, but who decides. and i believe it should be in the hands of patients and doctors, not politicians or insurance executives. let's go to nelson, which is really a senate version of stupak. i reject the ben nelson amendment. i believe it is unnecessary. i believe it is unneeded. and i believe that it's uncalled for. it goes further than hyde because it prohibits the public option from covering abortion. it prohibits individuals from receiving federal insurance subsidies from purchasing a plan that covers abortion. and even if you use your own money, you can't receive -- you cannot be used to pay for an abortion. is my time expired? i'm sorry, i thought i heard a knock. the presiding officer: no, your time has not expired. ms. mikulski: it also allows women to purchase an abortion
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rider. oh, boy, is this supposed to be big deal. is this supposed to be the kind of thing that's supposed to make us happy? what an insulting, humiliating thing to say: if you want an abortion, go buy a rider. i think it demonizes women. why don't you just go into the workplace and paint a scarlet letter on your head? hawthorne still lives in the nelson amendment. let's get an "a." let's paint the "a" word on your forehead. can you believe this? i don't know of any individual woman or any woman in consultation with the man that she loves and loves her saying, yeah, you know, we might have an abortion. yeah, why don't we buy that rider. nobody plans to have an abortion. it's not the subject of what intimate conversations that families talk about as they plan their lives together.
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you realize the intense discrimination a woman would face? and how about why not have men buy an abortion rider for the women they get pregnant. let them bite abortion rider. maybe we'd even give them a discount. we're really hot about this. and we're cranky about it because there's no need to do it like this. we have tried it every step of the way to try to handle this topic with great respect. because there are people with principle. we are all people of principle. some people use the term pro-life, i use the term whole life. what are the rest of us? do you think i'm antilife? all my life as a social worker, i fought for social justice. i fought for access to health care. and to say that i'm going to support a bill that denies access to services for most women -- anyway. i think this language goes
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further than hyde and we'd should be debating health care, not abortion. this legislation on the senate floor should be about women's health, like the the debate we had last week about prenatal health care, about how to improve delivery systems for greater survival things. to minimize birth defects. that's what it should be. women's health care should be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor. the patient protection and affordable act is what we believe is a wonderful compromise. and it does reject the strident few points. because the more pro-life thing we can do is to pass universal access to health care. the most pro-life thing we can do is stablize medicare so that people have health care at all ages and al stages. so reject the nelson amendment. and if you're really pro-life, vote for the senate-merged bill. madam president, i yield the
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floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: for the benefit of my colleagues waiting to speak, i don't think i'll speak more than 10 minutes. before i speak on my purpose for coming to the floor to support senator mccain's amendment, i want to take just a couple of minutes to go over a source of information that's no longer credible, that's been used in debate on this floor several times, used throughout the year. information that's even been in letters to the editors of iowa newspapers. and the most recent hearing of this was when the senator from california rose to talk about the quality of our health care. and the reference to the fact that the united states is 37th
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out of -- of all of the nations in the world in quality of health care. and i don't deny that we have to do a lot to improve the quality of health care in america. and i even admit that in this legislation, even though i oppose the bulk of this 2,074-page bill, that there's even a lot in this bill that has to do with the enhancing of quality of care. so we keep hearing, madam president, about the united states being 37th in quality. well, that comes from a world health analysis that was made back in the year 2000 ranking the united states among all the other nations. it is a 10-year-old report that was flawed in its analysis at
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the very outset. but, yet, it's repeated as if gospel truth by almost anybody that wants to denigrate america's health care system and build a case for this monstrosity of a bill that we have before us. and when i call it a monstrosity, i say it even has some very good provisions in it that enhance quality of care. the world health organization no longer produces such a ranking table because of the complexities of the task. the rankings were flawed because they judged health care systems for problems, cultural, behalf yoral and economic that -- behavioral and economic that aren't controlled by health care. there's no differentiation between the quality of medical systems and other factors such
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as diet, exercise, and violent crime rates that ought to be taken into consideration when considering a nation's delivery in quality or not quality of health care. you nonow the editor in chief os 2000 report philip musgrove called the numbers -- figures many madeup numbers and quote, unquote, unranked. the deputy general of the journal health affairs said that he was hired to edit the report text, but didn't fully understand the methodology until after the report was released. once -- one said he left the world health organization, he -- once he left the world health organization, he wrote an article in 2003 for the medical
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journal lancet, criticizing the rankings as quote, unquote, meaningless. the u.s. health system spends more than any other country per capita and was ranked 37th out of 191 due to that spending alone. prior to considering how much we spend, the united states was ranked 15th, not 37th. the dominican republic, costa rica more racko ranked 34, 35, 94th before justing for spending levels. after ranking for spending levels, they ranked above the united states, 35th, 36th, and 29th respectively. the united states ranked first in responsiveness. that means respect for persons and prompt attention. americans understand and
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appreciate that this quality -- this quality of care. this will be lost in this massive health care reform bill when the government takes more control. experts in the field of health such as mark peerson, head of health for the organization economic cooperation and development, the oecd was quoted as saying -- quote -- "it's -- it's a very -- i'm going to start with the quote. "it's a very notorious ranking. health analysts don't like to talk about it in pilot company. -- polite company. it's one of those things that we wish would go away." i hope my colleagues will take that into consideration when they bring up the rational for this bill that it is because of the w.h.o. study, which i think what i just said and a lot of
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other things you can say about it ought to put it in proper perspective. now, for my support of the mccain amendment to bring equalization among the 50 states for the medicare advantage portions of this bill. i spent the past 28 years in congress working to make sure rural iowans have the same access to the same quality of health care as people living in more urban areas. you know, medicare, since 1965, has been a national program. well, it is a national program with traditional medicare. but before we brought equity to medicare advantage, it wasn't a national program. it was a program for california, arizona, texas, new york, florida, chicago, or near the midwest, maybe for omaha.
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so since medicare advantage was not a national program, and since medicare, since 1965, has been a national program, i set out in the medicare modernization act to bring equity to rural america just like we have urban america. so i fought to make sure that seniors living in rural areas would have the same choices as seniors living in miami, new york city, or los angeles. and that's simply saying wherever you live in the united states, you've got medicare -- traditional medicare. before then, where have you lived in the united states and most rural areas, you didn't have medicare advantage. but since medicare's a national program, people living in rural america ought to have the same choice as those in urban areas. and so today that is the case. seniors in every county in iowa
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have a choice between traditional medicare and medicare advantage. that's a big improvement since prior to medicare modernization act not all iowans had that choice. and i can narrow it down to one out of 99 counties, powatame county across from omaha, had medicare advantage. the other 98 counties did not have it. but i want to tell you there are still inequities because iowa providers offer higher quality care that leads to less utilization. iowans get approximately $1,500 less per year in medicare advantage benefits than seniors living in florida. and under this bill, iowans will see even less in medicare advantage benefits. and it looks like that won't be the case for some lucky
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floridaians. in just another one of those backroom deals, a backroom deal that seems to be needed to get 60 votes. backroom deals that are still being attempted to get 60 votes. the senator in one of these backroom deals, a senator from florida, was able to secure a provision in the finance bill that would make sure that seniors in certain florida counties are able to maintain their current benefits. and i'm not talking about the so-called guaranteed benefits that democrats say that they're protecting. the provision is secured by the senator from florida will also protect additional and extra benefits for floridaians. in pushing for this amendment the senior senator from florida said -- quote -- "it would be intolerable to ask seniors --
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senior citizens to give up substantial health benefits that they're enjoying under medicare." i guess florid floridians werent satisfied with the promise that's been made in the past two weeks of debate on this bill for just so-called guaranteed benefits. seniors in florida still wanted the lower cost sharing, wellness programs, and vision and hearing and dental benefits that they've come to rely on. and now we have the senator from pennsylvania, now filing an amendment, to help medicare beneficiaries in pennsylvania provide protected to get these extra benefits that people of medicare advantage have. i'm guessing seniors in pennsylvania must have also picked up on the democrats' hallow promises to protect guaranteed benefits, but not worry about other benefits.
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in fact the president's -- the presence of these special deals is proof that this bill is cutting medicare benefits. it's even proof that some senators are worried about going back to their constituents and trying to explain the difference between cutting guaranteed and additional benefits. and explain why they voted to cut medicare advantage benefits by 64%. why else would these special deals be necessary. so i'm here to ask my colleagues, why should seniors in florida or pennsylvania get to keep their extra benefits while more than nine million seniors in other parts of the country see an average cut of 64%? to quote the senator from florida, "isn't this also
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intolerable?" my colleagues on the other side of the aisle talk about efficiency and fairness, but they're supporting a bill that maintains the highest medicare advantage payments in the country while slashing benefits in higher-quality rural areas. and one of those higher-quality rural areas is the state of iowa. where we're fifth in quality but near the bottom of 50 states in reimbursement on medicare. whereas there's other states that are 50th in quality and number one in reimbursement on health care. so all of this doesn't sound very efficient or very fair to me. senator mccain's amendment's pretty straightforward. it goes state by state. and i'm not going to read all 50 states. but it says here that one million -- it's going to benefit
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the 70,000 medicare advantage enrollees in arkansas. it's going to benefit the 198,000 medicare advantage enrollees in colorado. and in my state of iowa it's probably something in the neighborhood of 63,902. it will just make sure that seniors in every other state in the country, red states, blue states, get the same deal as senator nelson got for florida. so a vote for the mccain amendment is simply a vote for equity. but a vote against the amendment is a vote to favor back room deals that put the interest of a handful of floridians above 10 million seniors across the country, so i urge my colleagues to support all seniors and vote for the mccain amendment. i yield the floor.
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mrs. gypped: madam -- mrs. gill: mr. president? i rise to offer an amendment to the amendment offered by my distinguished colleague from nebraska. there has been a lot of misinformation about what the health care bill we are debating would mean for women. the legislation before us maintains a historic compromise that we have had this country by barring the years of federal funds for the full range of reproductive services except for in the cases of rape, incest, and to save a woman's life. that is the current law of the land and the senate bill goes to great lengths to maintain current federal law. the legislation would segregate public funds from private funds so that only people's personal private money will contribute for their reproductive coverage. this is not an accounting gimmick as some critics have falsely charged. in fact, this kind of arrangement is often used when public funds are given to parochial schools or other
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religious institutions to maintain the separation of church and state. the senate version would also require that at least one plan within the health insurance exchange would offer a plan that covers reproductive services and one that does not, and it would authorize the secretary of the department of health and human services to audit any and all plans to make absolutely certain that abortion is not being paid for with federal dollars. this arrangement is squarely in line with the historic compromise that we have had in this country for 30 years that keeps federal funds from being used to pay for abortions. as we debate the solution to the deepening health care crisis that has affected every citizen, business, and community in the country, this is not the time nor the place to instigate a new battle over reproductive rights and reproductive freedoms. families and businesses who are getting buried under the weight of the current cost of health care deserve much better. proponents of the stupak-pitts amendment claim that this is a continuation of current federal law, but that is simply false.
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this proposal goes far beyond federal law and will, in fact, bring about significant change and dramatic new limitations on repowf access in this country. it establishes for the very first time restrictions on people who pay for their very own private health insurance. this is not partisan spin. this is fact. a new study boy george washington university of public health services concluded the treatment inclusions required under the stupak-pitts amendment will have a industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage for medically indicated abortions over time for all women. not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange. this is government invading the personal lives of americans and it puts the health of women and young girls at grave risk. mrs. gillibrand: opponents are actually correct in this bill. this would truly limit the access to medical care by giving
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the government the power to make medical decisions, not the patient or the doctor. we all agree that it is important to reduce abortions in this country, and i will continue to work on many ways to reduce unintended pregnancies and to promote adoption. however, the stupak amendment prohibits the public plan as well as the private plans offered through the exchange if they accept any subsidized customers from covering any abortion services. this effectively bans full reproductive coverage in all health insurance plans in the new system whether they are public or private. creating a system into which women are forced to purchase a separate abortion rider is not only discriminatory but it's ridiculous. it would require women to essentially plan for an event that occurs in the most unplanned of circumstances and often in critical emergency situations. there are currently five states that require a separate rider for abortion coverage and in these five states it's nearly
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impossible to find such a private insurance policy that covers full reproductive care. in one state, one insurance company holds 91% of the state's health insurance market and refuse toss even offer such a rider. there is no doubt a lack of access to full reproductive health care puts the lives of women and girls at grave risk. the stupak measure poses a greater restriction on low-income women and those who are more likely to receive some kind of subsidy and less likely to be able to afford a supplemental insurance policy. denying low-income women reproductive coverage in this way is not only discriminatory but it is dangerous. without proper coverage, women will be forced to postpone care while attempting to find the money that they need to pay for it. such a delay can lead to increased costs and graver health risks, dominican republic for -- particularly for younger girls or these women will be forced to return to dangerous, back alley type providers.
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women and girls in america deserve better. i'm optimistic that we can defeat this kind of radical change to federal law, pass a health care bill in the senate that respects current law, and strip the dangerous stupak measure during the conference process. as i said before, i think there has been a lot of misinformation about what the stupak measure does and a level of danger that this kind of sweeping change could pose to women and girls. madam president, this health care package must move us forward toward quality health care for every single american. i ask my colleagues to oppose the nelson amendment and any similar measure and i ask that we work together to preserve current law and respect the private choices made between a woman and her doctor. thank you, madam president, and i yield -- i yield the floor. mr. specter: madam president, i
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have sought recognition to join senator boxer, senator mikulski, and senator gillibrand in opposing the amendment. the controversy set forth on this issue has been debated in this body and in the house since the hyde amendment was enacted in 1977. and what is attempted by the pending amendment here in the senate and the stupak amendment in the house is to alter that to the disadvantage of a woman's right to choose. the decision in roe v. wade, 1973, was admittedly and obviously, no dispute, a landmark decision which recognizes the constitutional right of a woman to choose, and there have been some limitations
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put -- drafted as we have moved through the process. there have been many, many debates on this floor on the mexico plan and many aspects have been subject to challenge, but the provision which is in the bill presented by the distinguished majority leader, senator reid, the pending bill, maintains the careful delineation which has been worked out up until this time, and that is that there wouldn't be any federal funds used for abortion, but there would be no limitation on the ability of a woman to have abortion coverage if she chose to do so as long as she paid for it herself. and the provisions of the statutes are -- provisions of the statute are very plain. section 1303-it.
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-a provides for the prohibition of the use of federal funds, and i am inserting the meaning of the language where it has references to many subsections. but the prohibition on the use of federal funds, "in effect, if a qualified health plan provides coverage of services for abortion, the issue of the -- issuer of the plan shall not use any of the federal funds for abortion." then there is a provision on segregation of funds. section 1303-2-b which provides: "in effect, in the case of a plan which covers abortions, the issuer of the plan shall segregate an amount equal to the cost of services for medical services other than abortion
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from the costs of medical services for abortions." now, that sets it out about as plainly as you can, and the precedent on medicaid coverage which involves federal funding where some 23 states have chosen to add abortion coverage where the states are putting up their own money so that there are no federal funds involved but the medicaid services do cover abortions. but they are with funds other than federal funds, state funds. just the same analogy as no federal funds under this bill but with moneys provided by the woman who wants the coverage for herself. so the precedent from medicaid it seems to me is totally dispositive of the matter as a matter of public policy.
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also, it ought to be noted that there are some 80% of insurance in the private market which covers abortions, and insurance in the private market provided by employers has the feature of deductibility. so while there is not a direct payment by the federal government on policies which do cover abortions, there is an indirect factor here because there is a tax break. the federal government does not yet fund the -- does not get taxes on items which the employer deducts on the costs of the insurance coverage. there is also a consideration here on an underlying issue of discriminatory practices as
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to -- as to women on the limitation of what the women and generally concerned conceded is a reasonable medical coverage. there is an analogy -- none of the analogies are really compelling, but the argument has been made that -- where you have a pharmaceutical coverage on viagra, for example, which deals with reproductive capacity. nobody would think of saying that the pharmaceutical coverage ought to be limited. and similarly where there is the right to an abortion and a woman wants to have it in which she pays for it herself, it has all of the ring of discrimination.
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a principal concern which i have is that if this issue results in a stalemate, that the entire bill may well be defeated because of this issue. there are two remaining matters to be resolved which have some significant import which could lead to the defeat of the bill. one is on the issue of the public option, and it is my argument and contention that we still ought to have a robust public option. well, i think we ought to have. there is vast misunderstanding that the public option does not mean that the federal government is taking over on insurance coverage. that's singlepayer. that is not the public option, which is what it says an option. it is one alternative. and there are efforts they made to find an accommodation here.
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i hope we stick with the robust public option. but the other issue which could lead to the defeat of this bill, bring it down, is this controversy on abortion. it is still unclear how the stupak amendment emerged in the house bill. lots of objections to it, and why the dichotomy of hyde with no federal funds being used and people could pay for their own wasn't followed in the house bill i do not know. now, i do not ascribe any inappropriate motives to any of my colleagues. i would not do that, but i think a consequence of this controversy -- and i think there may be some who do want to kill the bill. certainly, the delaying tactics on the other side of the aisle make it plain that there are those who would use whatever procedures are available,
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whatever arguments are available to defeat the bill. well, that would be very, very regrettable, in terms of the long struggle. and we have discussed this on this floor again and again and again what has happened since theodore roosevelt and f.d.r. and the efforts made to have coverage of all -- have coverage of health care for the uninsured. but if we stalemate on this issue, that could be the consequence. there is no reason to stalemate when there is such a clear-cut path. provides that no federal funds may be used for abortion, that any federal funds would be segregated. that is the precise precedent of medicaid. so i urge my colleagues to defeat the pending amendment so that we can proceed to move for
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final enactment of this important legislation. i thank the chair and yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: madam president, i rise today to speak in opposition to the nelson-hatch amendment which replaces the compromise language in the current bill with unprecedented restrictions on women's access to safe and legal abortion services. i think we can all agree that women's health is fundamental to our nation's health. we all know that when women are healthier, families, communities, and countries are healthier. but i also know that the issue of abortion is difficult, no matter where you stand on it. and i truly respect the fact that we have a range of opinions
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among us here. women have abortions for different reasons. some of these reasons may not seem right to some of us. but even if we disagree, it is better than each woman being able to make her own decision with her doctor. in a perfect world, no woman should have to face the decisions we're discussing today. but the reason we have insurance coverage is to help us deal with the unexpected. no woman expects to have an unplanned pregnancy. no woman expects to end a wanted pregnancy because of fetal anomalies or risk to her own
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health. if we limit options in private health insurance coverage, we take away a woman's right to make a decision that may be best for her and for her family and their circumstances. but, unplanned pregnancies do occur. and we have a responsibility to supply women, to provide women with the full range of choices regarding their health. the supreme court has repeatedly ruled on this issue and made it clear that women have a constitutional right to access abortion. it's our responsibility to make sure that abortions are safe, legal, and rare.
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supporting a woman's right to make decisions about her health means more than keeping abortion services legal. it means supporting a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy safely and with dignity. it also means teaching honest, realistic sex education. it means the right to choose contraception. it means standing with women who choose to continue their pregnancies with the hope and expectation that a compassionate society will support them in their responsibilities raising the child. it's about respecting women's personal decisions and the challenges they face, especially at times when they are the most vulnerable. i strongly oppose the
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nelson-hatch amendment because it undermines the status quo and breaks new ground by restricting women's fundamental rights. the amendment stipulates that health plans cannot cover abortion services if they accept even one subsidized customer. even if the abortion coverage would be paid with the private premiums that health plans received directly from individuals. if adopted, this would mark the first time in federal law that we would restrict how individuals use, can use their own dollars in private health insurance -- in the private health insurance marketplace. i also oppose the amendment because we have a workable solution. the existing compromise in our bill represents genuine
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concessions by both pro-choice and pro-life members of congress. the current bill prohibits federal funding of abortion but also allows women to pay for abortion coverage with their own private funds. it makes clear that abortion can't be mandated or prohibited and stipulate that federal funds cannot be used for abortion. let me be clear, the compromise within the current bill is as far as we can go. we have negotiated to get to this point, and we cannot negotiate further without literally undermining the compromise that we have made on behalf of women's health in this country. we are on the verge of passing an historic health reform law that will do more to improve the health of women and families than any legislation in recent
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history. we will end discrimination based on health history, on gender, or history of domestic violence. we will provide access to preventive health services so women can get annual exams and mammograms at no cost. and it is our responsibility to guarantee women are not worse off under the health reform that we're going to pass. that they're not worse off than they are today. as my friend, paul wellstone, used to say, if we don't fight hard enough for the things that we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we don't really stand for them. i urge my colleagues to stand with me today to oppose this
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amendment. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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mr. brown: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, madam president. i'm troubled, madam president, by what i've seen in the chamber of the united states senate in
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the last week. actually i'm troubled by what i've seen is in the united states senate -- seen in the united states senate chamber for the last several weeks when i've looked at this slow walk that so many might have colleagues who oppose health care reform, this slow walk that they're doing, anything to stall, anything though slow things down, anything to distract the public. it began last summer when some negotiations were going on and it was pretty clear there was no real interest in any kind of real compromise and any kind of constructive input in these negotiations. and i can say that, madam president, because i remember what happened in the health, education, labor, and pensions committee in july. in july, we -- in june and july we wrote the original, the first health care bill that passed the senate committee in the health, education, labor, and pensions. we took, we processed hundreds of amendments. the markup took -- which is the discussion inside the committee -- took 11 days, the
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longest markup in anybody's memory. everybody got a chance, all 23 members of the committee -- 13 democrats, 10 republicans offered amendments. most of those amendments were voted on or agreed to. nobody filibustered. there was certainly lots of discussion. sometimes we're a long long-winded around here than we should. but amendments were passed, either agreed to and actually voted on and passed in the committee. i vote ford most of those -- i voted for most of those amendments. probably ten of them or something like this. the point is there was a lot of bipartisanship in this legislation. of the bigger questions the differences are ideological, more fundamental. for instance, democrats support a strong medicare. republicans over the years, who originally opposed medicare in the 1960's, not for partisan reasons, for ideological reasons. they don't think government should run medicare. that was pretty clear. in the 1990's when i was a
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member of the house, speaker gingrich, the first time the republicans had a majority in the house and senate, they tried to privatize medicare. president clinton mostly blocked it, then when the republicans for the first time had the house, senate and the white house in 2003, republicans dramatically privatized medicare, shoveling all kinds of money into the insurance companies, giving huge subsidies to the drug companies and look what we got. we got more difficult problems with medicare, more budget problems, a budget surplus to budget deficit partly because of that bill and because of the war. but, but -- so my point is, madam president, that this bill was bipartisan in many ways but on the big fundamental questions: should government be involved in things like medicare, what do we do on worker safety issues? what do we do on consumer protections? the democrats want to see strong consumer protections, no more cutting people off their
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coverage because of preexisting condition, no more discrimination against women as the presiding officer knows in her work in new hampshire, she has seen too many of her constituents, female constituents paying higher prices than male constituents. what's fair about that? the republicans have generally sided with the insurance companies. the democrats have generally sided with consumers. on those fundamental questions, they aren't really partisan as much as they're identify i don't see lodge. what happened since the -- ideological. what happened since the first of december, since that night when we actually began the debate, no republican voted to allow the bill to even be debated. that was the ultimate stall tactic -- keep it off the floor. the democrats voted to put it on the floor. what bothers me about this stalling is not just that they're stopping us from doing what we really need to do in this country. but what bothers me is there are 400 -- in my state alone, 400 people every single day from toledo to athens, from bryan to
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saint khraeursville, to middle town, 400 ohioans lose their country. across the country 45,000 people die every year, according to studies, almost 1,000 people a week die because they don't have insurance. as the presiding officer knows because of her work on health care, a woman with breast cancer without insurance is 40% more likely to die than a woman with breast cancer with insurance. think about that, if you've got breast cancer, as anxious as you are, as fearful as you are, as sick as you are, if you have insurance, you at least don't have to worry about that. you can get decent medical care and many times your life is saved particularly if you caught it early enough. if you don't have insurance, you can't go to the emergency room. they'll take care of you at the end of your life, if you go to the emergency room when you're
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dying. at the end you might get emergency room care. people like that are out of the system. a woman with breast cancer without insurance is 40% more likely to die. that is why these delays from my friends, they write memos on the best way to delay the bill. they try every motion they can think of. for three days we couldn't get a vote when we wanted to vote on one of their amendments. senator mccain's amendment on medicare, we literally couldn't get a vote because the republicans blocked the vote. we finally did. again, 400 people -- 400 people in findlay, mansfield, zanesville, 400 people every day lose their insurance in my state alone. 45,000 people a year die because they don't have insurance. madam president, let me just read a couple of letters. i come to the floor most days and read letters from people from my state. and many of these letters -- not everyone, but many of them come from people who -- if you would
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have asked them a year ago, they would have said i've got pretty good insurance. then they have a child born with preexisting condition and they lose their insurance. then maybe they got sick and their hospital bills were so high that the insurance company cut them off. or maybe they -- they lost their job and they lost their insurance. in so many of those letters, as i said, are from people in thought they had good insurance and found out when they really needed the insurance, it wasn't such good insurance. so let me just read from a couple of letters that i got. i recently -- this comes from amy from franklin county. franklin county is the middle of the state, the state capital is located in franklin county. "i recently had two minor surgeries but in the last six months alone, i've had to spend about $4,000 to cover the costs of the surgery. that's about 15% of my income." she said then, "thank you for take a strong stance on health reform." what amy writes about is, you know, when you're spending one-sixth of your gross income on -- on health insurance -- on health care, then, you know,
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there are -- this is somebody that's work, she's playing by the rules, she's doing everything they can and she got really sick and there wasn't a safety net for her that there should be. our bill will take care of that. our bill says if you've got health insurance and you like it, you can keep t. but you're going to get -- keep it. but in addition, you're going to get good consumer protections, no more preexisting condition, no denial of care that way. second thing, if you're a small business, you're going to get assistance, some tax incentives, some tax credits to insure your employees. most small business people i know in busyress, ohio, in galion and in crestline, in shelby and all over my part of the state, people like that, most of them want to cover their employees. but if you've got 20 employees and one of them gets really sick, your insurance rates are going to go so high that you can no longer afford it oftentimes or you'll get cans evmentd and . and the third thing our bill says is it gives them assistance so they can get insurance. so people can get a better
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insurance policy rather than having to spend that kind of money out of pocket. amber from morrow county, that's an area of the state sort of north central, north of columbus, mount gilliad. she said, "at age 19, amber was disconnected --" this is more a story about her than an actual letter. "at age 19, amber was discontinued and of under her step-father's insurance plan because of her preexisting condition. needing constant medication and treatment for her diabetes, she tried to obtain her own health insurance plan. she was unable to afford any of her treatments because she couldn't get insurance. as a result of inability to treat her condition, she suffered two heart attacks and lost most of her vision. she's 22 years old now. she's now legally blind, has lost feelings in her hands and feet, missing many of her teeth and she has kidney and intestinal problems. she feels lucky now to qualify for government disability benefits. but imagine -- i mean, i don't know amber and i know what -- what her family members sent to
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us about her, but because she couldn't get insurance, because she -- she was -- she was taken off her step-father's insurance because of a preexisting condition, she was not able to do the kind of care that diabetics are able to do. diabetes is a horrible disease but we all have friends -- my best friend had diabetes. we all have friends and neighbors and family members and colleagues and stheeshts have diabetes. most of them if they have a good health insurance plan are able to live normal lives and don't have these kinds of things happen that happened to amber. what's happened, losing her -- lost feelings in his hands and feet, has kidney and intestinal problems, all the awful things that come out of diabetes are because it's a chronic disease and are manageable. you know that what will happen, amber ends up in the hospital, it costs -- because she doesn't have insurance. it costs other in morrow county who have insurance. they all pay more because they have to take care of amber in a very expensive situation. instead of providing insurance for amber so she can manage her
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diabetes at much less cost and much more humanely. it simply doesn't make sense to continue to stall. and i -- i've been around a good while in government, but i -- identifi've never been more upst watching these stall tactics. these are not -- these are not games people should be playing when you think about the human lives, you think about amber, you think about amy, you think about how we all have people in our states who -- who have suffered because they don't have insurance. we know how to fix it. we need to move forward and -- and get this done as quickly as we k.400 ohioans losing their insurance every day. 45,000 americans dying every year because they don't have insurance. those things simply are not acceptable. madam president, i yield the floor. and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: mr. brun: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. brown: madam president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session, that the foreign relations committee be discharged en bloc from further consideration of the following p.n. 1001, p.n1 on 02, 100, 105, and 1016, and that the senate then proceed en bloc to the no, ma'am nairksz that the nominations be confirmed enblocks, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table enblork that no further motions be in order -- en bloc, that no further motions be in order and that all be placed in the "congressional record" as if read, and that the senate be immediately -- president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until tuesday, december 8. the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and the senate resume consideration of h.r. 350, the health care reform legislation. that following leader remarks,
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the time until 12:30 be debate only with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each and with the majority controlling the first hour and the republicans controlling the next hour. finally, i ask the senate recess from 12:30 until 2:15 to allow for the weekly caucus lunches. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
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>> you can find more information online. it contains the bill itself, information about amendments, interviews, and briefings. it's all on american icons. three original documentaries now available on dvd. a unique journey through the three branches of american government. see the detail of the supreme court through the eyes of the justices. go beyond the velvet ropes of public tours into the rarely seen spaces of the white house. and extremely the history, art,
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and architecture of the capitol. americans icons, a three-disc dvd set, it's $24.95 plus shipping and handling. order online at >> the senate receded a amendment from being used for unrelated programs. the amendment was sponsored by budget committee ranking member judd judd gregg. he talks about the measure on the floor before the vote. >> well, the senate? wyoming always raises an important point. that is the this is the largest expansion in the history of government. let's begin right there. $2.5 trillion expansion the side of the government with the massive growth in size of the government.
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and most of that growth comes from the expansion of government in two areas, the expansion and creation of new title and medicaid. how is that paid for? how's the huge explosion in the size of government paid for? well, a large part of that is paid for by reducing money in medicare that's paid to medicare providers, and that is available to medicare recipients. $460 billion in the first ten years, $1 trillion in the second -- in the ten years from the program is fully implemented. that would start in five years. and $3 trillion by our estimates, which are linear, i
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suspect it will be more over the first 20 years. reduction in medicare benefits, now we heard arguments from the other side, that's not going to effect benefits. well, you know, that's not believable. we know that. you can't reduce medicare provider payments and medicare advantage, total cuts of both combined in $3 trillion in the first 20 years and not effect benefits. this is money that's going to have the most significant impact we have ever had cur on our seniors and the medicare system. this is a fundamental change in the way medicare services are
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paid for, and the insurance is available for seniors on the medicare. we know for a fact, 11 million people, approximately 1/4 of them will lose it. simply lose their medicare. we also know that hospitals groups, providers groups, doctors, are all going to see significant reductions in their reimbursement rates which means, of course, that they are going to change the way in which they treat seniors. they are going to find it harder to have a doctor and find it harder to get the procedure they need. the reimbursement rate is going to be cut significantly under this bill. home health care will be dramatically impacted. in fact, the senator from wyoming had an interesting letter from his home health care groups from wyoming which related to have percentage of health care agencies would agency close. there was a very high percentage
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under this proposal. now there's no question, but that medicare was in dire straights. it is headed towards insolve yen si, it going into a negative cash flow in two years. we have no idea how we're going to pay for them. medicare reform is important. and i support it, i proposed it. it's always been voted against by the completes on the other side of the aisle. but any reform in medicare this size, $464 billion the first ten years, $3 trillion over 20 years. anything that's going to cut medicare by those numbers, those
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savings, those reductions is going to benefit making medicare more solvent. what happens under this bill? that's not what they are used for. they come out of the pocket for seniors and the people who provide seniors care, and the seniors ability to purchase insurance. those dollars go from the senior over to creating this new -- these new major programs, these new entitlements. in fact, some of those dollars go to get votes around here. isn't that incredible? doesn't that take money away from seniors and use it to get votes to pass this bill by sending back to states on members who are waiverring. that's where it goes to. most of them create the new entitlements for people, who may
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be deserving, but are not seniors, and who probably have not paid into the insurance fund the seniors have paid into all of their life. that's totally inappropriate to do that. and so i have amendments, very simple. it's amendment that has real. it's an amendment that follows up on a number of statements on the other side of the aisle. which says simply, no medicare money can be used to fund other parts of this bill. the savings occur on the result of the cuts, the home health care puts. cuts to provider groups. those dollars will not be taken and used to fund new entitlement for people who are not on medicare. they are will not be taken to fund the purchase to pass this bill.
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this is a real amendment. people stand up and say oh, i'm for that. exactly what i just said. the census had no impact at all. they are just political coveting. this is amendment has structured will actually accomplish the goal of not allowing medicare dollars -- cuts in medicare, the $464 billion over the first year, $1 trillion over the 10 years, and $3 trillion over the 20 years, will not allow those dollars to be used to fund new programs in this bill which do not benefit seniors. so that's all it says. seems to me if you are going to stand up, a responsible action in the area of medicare.
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if by the sense that has voted here, you have to stand behind your word, as the sense of the senate has called for. that medicare money be used for medicare. and that medicare money not be used to fund extraneous things, medicare cuts. then you have to vote for the amendment. will the senator yield for a question? >> i'd be happy to. >> it strikes me to the senator amendment is very straightforward, very simple, and very clear. and that is that any savings that come out of the medicare program cannot be used to fund a new entitlement program. in other words, -- >> if it's not related to seniors. >> correct. to me it seems at least your amendment gets at what some on the other side have argued through their amendments. could the senator from new hampshire describe now the effect, the legal effect, of his amendment differs from say, for
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example, where it was 101 vote on the amendment, which the impact on the senator from new hampshire's amendment would be relative to the some of the previous votes that we've had. it appears to me they were completely meaningless. short of cover votes to try to get people on the other side the opportunity to say we voted to protect medicare, when, in fact, they didn't. how does the senator from new hampshire's amendment, how do you distinguish it from those who have been voted on previously. >> my amendment has force of law. they have no effect at all. they were as you said, a political statement, an editorial comment, a piece of paper written. this amendment, if passed, will have the force of law. and it will very simply, it's structured in a way that the money cannot be taken out of medicare if it's going to be used for the purposes of funding the new programs where entitlement programs for people who are not seniors, or whether
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they are for the purposes of getting votes to pass the bill. >> if the senator on either side of the aisle, the republican or democrat was serious about protecting medicare and ensuring that medicare solvency is protected in this debate, and that these funds are not going to be reallocated to create some new entitlement program or spend money on some new $2.5 trillion expansion that the government is going to require enormous amounts of revenue, which seems to me has to come from somewhere, what the senator's amendment would do, is simply say and force the other side to really put up or shut up with regard to the argument that they have that they are in fact supporting medicare. the senator's amendment would essentially say very clearly, very straightforward way that funds that come in out of savings and medicare have to be
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retained in the medicare account. >> that's correct. this is the first and only vote to make it clear that medicare dollars will not be used for something other than medicare. >> would they yield for another question? >> the language in the bennett amendment that passed 100-0 the other day said that medicare savings should benefit the medicare program and medicare beneficiaries. that sounds pretty straightforward and pretty simple. but let me ask the senator. >> if i might finish, anybody that voted for that amendment would want to vote for this one. >> that's exactly the question i'm getting to. is there anything in the bennett amendment that removes the expenditure of almost $500 billion from medicare in the base-reed bill that would require the restoration of those cuts to benefit medicare, versus
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using it as a fund to pay for the underlying reed bill? >> well, the senator has made the excellent point. the bennett amendment has no teeth. it has knossos stantive effect. it's just a statement of purpose. it's a statement of purpose is as just resited by the senator from georgia, then you need to vote for this bill if you voted for the bennett, my amendment that has the teeth that backs it up. >> if i understand what you are saying in your bill, you are requiring the office of management and benefit else cms to certificate to congress that the savings are in fact being used to fund medicare benefits, versus being used to fund other benefits outside of medicare until such time as medicare is fully funded? >> that's essentially what it
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says. omb just certificate that no funds are being used to fund the additional activity that does not relate to medicare with medicare funds. it does not say that medicare savings. it agrees to the medicare savings. those medicare savings would basically be used for the purposes of reducing the outyear fiscal imbalance of medicare. so it doesn't contest the medicare savings has proposed in this bill. although those amendments, we already voted on a number of those. we voted on home health care and medicare advantage. to the extent those savings go in, they cannot -- the revenues from those cuts cannot be used and spent to expand the size of government in some place elsewhere has something to do with senior citizens. >> if i can follow with a question there from my colleague from new hampshire. as i read the sunday "new york times" it says the bennett amendment was completely
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meaningless. the bennett amendment was meaningless. and it also goes on to say that senator mccain is trying to keep that $500 billion in medicare, but the democrats are trying to take it out of medicare, and the article says here to -- the editorial says to finance coverage for uninsured americans, but not people in medicare. so it does seem that the "new york times" got it right. the bennett amendment was meaningless, that the cuts are going to come out of people who depend upon medicare for their health care, to pay for a whole new government program. and not to focus on medicare. shouldn't -- don't we owe it to the seniors who have paid in the program, who have been promised the program to save that program first? >> the senator from wyoming is absolutely right. i think the "new york times" got it right. it's the convergence, it should
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be on the exact same page and both be right. >> i wonder if they, characterize the discussion this way. in order to -- as a i'm hearing it, in order to protect medicare , senator wouldn't want to say i voted for the bennett amendment and then i voted against the greg amendment when it really counted. >> it would be impossible to make that argument with a straight face, i think. >> well, the question from my colleague from south dakota is here. we heard the majority leader, senator reed come to the floor just a few minutes ago, and talk about how this bill was going to get premiums under control, keep the cost of people who have insurance, keep their premiums under control. now i saw a chart from the senator from south dakota yesterday that said for 90% of americans those who have
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insurance now, that if we did nothing and did not pass this bill, that the premiums would be lower. than if we do pass this bill. that passing this bill is going to raise premiums despite the fact that the president of the united states promised while campaigning that he would lower the cost by $2500. i would ask my colleague from stack, isn't it true that if this bill passes, americans wanting, they've been promised the premiums would be reduced. aren't they doomed to disappointment? >> senator is correct. this is where the real rub in this bill comes into play. because what we were told, promptses were made. of course many promises were made throughout the course of the campaign. most of which will never be realized with this legislation. there was also a promise made that taxes wouldn't go up for people making less than $250,000. not payroll, income, not any kind of taxes. in fact, we now know that 38% of
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the people who make under $200,000 are going to see their taxes go up under this legislation. so promises are made during a campaign season, tend not to necessarily be adhered to when it comes time to legislate and make -- to follow through. i think that's clearly the case here. with regard to the senator from wyoming's question, the whole purpose of health care reform, at least as i understand it, or how the people from south dakota who i represent understand it, is to lower cost. the thing you hear the most, you go back, senate from georgia, wyoming, south dakota, the thing you hear is do something about cost of health care. we have the year over year double digit increasing, and we're dealing with it, small businesses are dealing with it, more and more people are struggling with the high cost. nobody argues that. obviously we all i think basically accept the premise
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that health care cost have been going up. and that health care reform aught to be focused directly on trying to get those cost under control. the irony in all of this is after cutting half a trillion of medicare on the first ten years, and if you go into the fully yeted time period, it's about $1 trillion, and half a trillion in tax increases, what happens with premiums? according to the budget office, 90% of americans would be the same or worse off. in other words, 90% of americans would see no improvement in their health care premiums. in fact, if buy in the small group or large group, your premiums go up by about 6% a year, year over year. a family of four, let's put it into perspective. if you are a family of four, this is according to the congressional budget office, if you are a family of four paying $13,900 for insurance this year, and you are getting it from the
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large-group market, in 2016, jr. insurance cost is going to be over $20,000. your insurance is going to go up just about a little under $14,000 to $20,000 in that time period. what americans in their right mind is going to say, that's reform. i think most americans are going to say, what are you doing? you're spending $2.5 trillion, you are raising my taxes, and cutting my grandparents medicare benefits, for what? so that my premiums can stay the same or go up? if you buy your insurance in the individual marketplace you're insurance premiums, according again to the congressional budget office, are going to go up anywhere from 10 to 13% a year. so you get medicare cuts, tax increases, and for 90% of americans, you stay the same or are worse off. in other words, your insurance premiums are not going to be impacted. you've achieved the status quo or worse yet, were insurance premiums are going to go up 10
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to 13% if you are buying in the individual market. that is according to the congressional budget office. the point that you make is exactly right. we're doing all of this. the exercise ought to be about reducing cost. clearly that's not the case of this legislation. >> let me address a question to a friend from was who is medicare doctor and outstanding senator. you know, what we're being asked to believe from the folks on the other side and what the american people are struggling with and having a hard time believing is that they are saying that even though they are cutting medicare by a total of $450 billion plus over a ten-year period that medicare is actually the solvency of medicare is going to be extended. information that we received this spring from the bipartisan medicare commission that, unless something is done, medicare is
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going to become insolvent in the year 2017. peer and simple. and -- pure and sivment and what we're dewing here is not take being the savings that they are proposing and while we don't agree with them, but irrespective of that, i irrespective of the savings that they are saying are going to be achieved, instead of applying that back, we're going to use that to grow the size of government, tie some payments -- reimbursement payments to physicians to the medicare program, and now we're looking at about 23% reduction in payments to physicians as reimbursement under medicare if we don't take some action next year. when you put all of this together, the american people together, the american people two positions as reimbursement under medicare for gothic mansion next year. when you put all this together the american people are saying you've got to be kidding me. how when the world are you going to extend the life of medicare by cutting it by almost $500 billion. >> and as my colleague from
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georgia knows, there's no way you can save medicare when you cut that kind of money out of it. and how when they cut physician payments by 22% are we going to have positions going to another of small communities in south, georgia, wyoming, where we have many people who depend on medicare for their health care. i worry about access to care. your colleague senator isaacs and yesterday talked about home health care and how pennies on the dollar you can help people that provide a lifeline for people who are homebound. deep them out of the hospital, out of the nursing home. instead, the senate yesterday voted to cut $42 billion of home health care, which people and our small communities and the rural natures of our state depend upon. so there is no way this program can stay solvent and it is -- it is hard for me to fathom and clearly hard for the people of wyoming to fathom how with all
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this budget trickery it's going to work for people who need to go to a doctor, to see a doctor or to have a home health care provider in many of our rural communities. we at townhall meetings. when i go to townhall meeting people say, don't cut my medicare. don't raise my taxes. and don't make things worse for me than they are now. they might if the senator would yield. the senator is one of the only two positions and knows what it's like to serve and provide health care services to people in rural areas like wyoming, south dakota, in some places of georgia. but i think with the shifting to an assembly from georgia was here as was i. and the senator from wyoming by three or four years ago, 2005 now we have a debate about medicare the senator from new hampshire proposed adding $10 billion in medicare. taking $10 billion over a five-year period and paid for it by income testing the part d
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benefit that people got. in other words, the premiums that are paid for the higher income categories would have paid a higher premium for their hard d. drug benefit then what does with lower income categories. i mean, via apocalyptic about what that was due for medicare. $2 billion figure -- $10 billion over five years. you are the other side describe it as a moral, cruel comment was a a disaster monster mental proportion. i was some of the terminology that was used around here at the time. that was for $10 billion over five years and i basically was to save people who had higher incomes, the warren buffets of the world, i took a little more for their prescription drug benefit under medicare than those in lower income categories. and people just went nuts. on the other side, went nuts about that. and here we are talking about
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cutting $465 billion over a ten-year period. 1 trillion over ten years when it's fully implemented and it seems to me mr. president and i would say to my colleagues that the other side is going to have a lot of explaining to do to the american people about why $10 billion in reductions was immoral, cruel, and the disaster of monumental proportions by cutting have a trillion dollars out of home health care in nursing homes and hospitals and everything else somehow to pay for an entirely new entitlement program $2.5 trillion expansion somehow makes sense. >> i appreciate the comments for my colleagues. i think those hearing all around the country think we do the kind of a health care reform. we need to get the costs under control. we need to outpatient centered reform, not government centered reform, not insurance centered reform. we need to not cut medicare. when he did not raise taxes. we need to not make things worse for the american people. and mr. president, i would just say that for what i've seen of
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this bill and work my way all the way through it, this bill makes things worse for the american people, not better. this is the not the right prescription for people. and without mr. president i yield the floor. >> mr. president i like to take a few moments to discuss the amendment that senator gregg offered yesterday. the gregg amendment has been billed as protective medicare. that seems to be the new fashion on the other side of the aisle is to say that the bills frankly, that's a misleading statement at best and it is inaccurate basically. in reality, the gregg amendment is a killer amendments. it is designed to prevent health care to take effect. that's the purpose of the gregg amendment. it's a killer amendment to stop health care reform from taking effect.
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never has more details to it that you can get the flavor of it with a few excerpts behind it. let me quote from the amendment. the first subsection of the amendment is quote, pm a new spending taking effect, end quote. you really don't have to go much further to get an idea what the amendment is about. just focus on that statement in the amendment to ban new spending. let me quote further from the first subsection. it says that the secretary of secretary and the health of human services are prohibited from implementing the provisions of an amendment made by sections 1401, 1402, 2001, and 2101, end quote. what are those sections? what are those sections would stop taking effect? section 1401 is refundable tax credit providing premium assistance for coverage. those are the tax credit, the
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tax reduction that help people to buy health insurance. the gregg amendment says you can't help people buy health insurance. you cannot have those tax credits. a second section of the gregg amendment which is the section 1402, what's that? 1402 is the reduced cost for individuals. that's the part that would make co-pays out-of-pocket expenses affordable. the gregg amendment says can't have them reduced cost sharing for individuals. got to keep those co-pays and effect. got to keep those out-of-pocket expenses high. the gregg amendment prevents and expenditures that would help people with those co-pays out-of-pocket expenses. the third section that the gregg amendment would stop is section 2001. 2001 is a section that provides medicaid coverage for the lowest income population. that's the one that provides expanded medicaid average punter in coverage. the gregg amendment says can't have those amendments.
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can't help for people with health care, prohibited. the secretary is prohibited from making those payments to medicaid if that is adopted. the fourth section that the gregg amendment would stop is section 2101. what's not? section 2101 is a section that provides additional funding for the children's health insurance program. can you believe that? a senator gets up on the floor and wants to stop funding to the children's health insurance program? that's what that section would provide. so if you don't like tax credits and tax reductions to help people buy health insurance, you don't like making health insurance affordable, you don't like health care for the lowest income americans, you don't like health care for kids, then the gregg amendment is for you. now, folks on the other side of the aisle have spending a lot of time this year, that's about all i hear from them talking about
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medicare. they make it sound like they want to help medicare. in effect, they are hurting medicare. a lot of folks say they want to help
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sometimes you're going to make a miss a shot, but i'm saying if you disgrail with me, challenge he, but challenge me on the merit of the idea. >> find out how kevin johnson, now sacramento's first african- american mayor is making the difference in in his own home town. and it's not just johnson making an impact, we'll profile several former athletes now making the political rounds. and you're the biggest hockey fan on the planet, right? but where do you draw the line between the casual fan and the hockey obsessed? net impact starts right now.
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and hello, everyone, and welcome to this edition of net impact, i'm art finell. you know, there's a long list of former professional athletes who later segued into a life of politics, guys like bill bradry, j.c. watts, steve largent, just to name a few. they've all made valuable contributions in the political arena for sure, but you canned a kevin johnson's name to that list. he was called k.j. on the court, and he was a huck of a point bard for the phoenix suns, made the all stars several times, but now he's called his honor, as the first african-american mayor of his hometown sacramento. we look at a day in the life of kevin johnson. >> reporter: it's 5:00 a.m., the city sleeps, but kevin johnson has traded in his
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comfortable bed for a pair of running shoes. moonlit pavement. and the biggest day of his young political career lies before him. >> for me, it's about staying in good shape, mental, physical, spiritual, and running allows that happen. when you get up at 4:30 to run, there's no distraction, it's quiet out. it allow use tow think and reflect, and a chance to certainly get the right perspective and early in the morning allows that really take place, because once the hustle and butle of the regular day starts, it's very, very difficult to have a private moment and get a peace of mind. >> reporter: with his workout behind him, the mayor begins what promises to be a very long day. even a quick car ride to a local television station is an opportunity to conduct business. >> this is kevin johnson
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calling, the mayor of sacramento, is the congresswoman ready? yes, ma'am, how are you doing this morning? i'm doing very well. yes, ma'am, i just finished a run and a workout. yes, indeed. >> on my desk, there's a gavel that my brother gave me on christmas day of december of 2007. i announced my canadacy on march of 2008, so my brother was the first one to kind of somehow have this vision that i should run for mayor of the city of sacramento. the next thing i know, i'm throwing my hat in the ring. >> reporter: the ride to sacramento's state of the city address is a familiar one. >> when i was growing up, everything that impacted me was in this two-mile radius.
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i do remember this growing up, that in my neighborhood, which was a poor are in city community, didn't have sidewalks. now as mayor, i know how to make sure to there's no equality across neighborhoods, not just the nice neighborhoods get things that others don't. >> reporter: he may have the home court advantage, but johnson is no longer in his comfort zone. in a matter of hours, the eyes of his hometown will be on him. the clock is ticking. >> good morning. >> how are you? first and foremost, i would like to report on the state of our city the economic crisis comes opportunity. can you go back? isn't this letter size here different than what we just had? >> yeah, that's the way it came to me. >> this will also help us in our goal to decrease crime and
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improve public safety. in terms of education, it's the first time we've brought together superintendents of the city to discuss the challenges that we are facing in our city. people's livelihoods hang in the balance. i can't read and talk. i'm not good at both. that's my weakness when i try to read and do that. >> ladies and gentlemen, join me in giving a rock and roll welcome for the 55th mayor of the city of sacramento, mr. kevin johnson. >> i'm not asking you to always follow everything i say. as i said earlier, sometimes i'm gonna be wrong, sometimes i'm gonna miss a shot, but what i am asking you is, if you disagree with me, challenge me, but challenge me on the merit
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of the idea, not because it flies in the face of the way things have been done in the past. our attitude and our perspective is going to to be the difference on how we navigate through all of these challenges. it is our ability to give back, to serve, especially for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. thank you very much for your time, and god bless each and every one of you. (applause) >> really a great job. >> thank you. >> at some point did your heart take over that speech? >> yeah, you know, early on, i was trying to just get my thank yous and my formalities out of the way, but i started off by saying i'm living a dream. i love this. there is nothing else i would rather do, and somewhere through the speech, you know, it just became the kid from sacramento talking to people in his city and saying, look, i want to do all i can, and i need your help and we can collectively get through this, but we're going to need everybody to be on the same
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page. and you did great. >> hey, thanks. we also wants to actage the special guests who are with us this evening. mayor kevin johnson, the mayor of the city of sacramento. >> i want you to put your hands together for mr. jim brown. (applause) >> governor arnold schwarzenegger! >> (applause) >> thank you very much karen for the wonderful introduction. also thank you for inviting me to be part of this great operation here. tonight it's about honoring those who break down the barriers and to promote social justice. tonight's heros have excelled in all walks of life. i think that each and every one
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of those honorees are also, at the same time, a great inspiration to millions and millions of people. and i will say especially for the young people, because that's the important thing. they need this extra push to know that the american dream is also there for them,. that they can reach whatever dream that they have, and so this is why we have inspired them to show them that there's more out there than just gangs and violence and drugs and alcohol and those things. there are positive alternatives. >> i have felt very strongly that athletes have a responsibility, whether they like it or not, or whether we like it or not, to be role models. those who had the biggest impact on us as kids growing up are the people we came in contact with every day. >> i would like to thank the governor for his remarks, and speaker bass for hernandez, and
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the legislative black caucus for being here today. i do want to poke fun at a couple of people really quickly. one of our honorees joe morgan. joe, raise your hand. and i saw joe morgan few minutes ago and said how are you doing? and he said i want you to know that even though i don't live in sacramento, i voted for you, so thanks joe. (laughter) >> i get a chance to spend a little time with our governor here, and i don't know if you know this, the governor has a little rhythm, got some dance moves. i think we might have to think about inducting him next year as an honor airy african- american. thank you very much. (laster and applause). >> reporter: a day of accomplishment here is concluded. but there is still time to reflect on the magnitude of what has happen, and what is still to come.
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>> even in a day among days, that has to be a big highlight. >> like i said, i'm living a dream. effect i get to do is somehow beyond my wildest expectations. jim brown. i couldn't even mess with him, that's too emotional. >> at some point, you realize there's not enough people that are doing good work in elected office, and i shouldn't stand on the sidelines and complain. if not now than when the? all of those things led me to saying i need to get in the ring and do my part to not just make sure the neighborhood i grew up in, but the city i'm so proud of, reaches its potential. >> thanks, matt for that report. by the way, you saw govern toker schwarzenegger featured in that piece, as well. but this generation may not even realize that in 1970, at the age of 23, schwarzenegger became the youngest person to be named mr. olympia. he would go on to win that
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competition six straight years. of course schwarzenegger was elected governor of california in 2003. you may also remember former nfl quarterback heath schuller who is now making his rounds in the u.s. capital. he was the third overall pack in the 1994 draft by the washington redskins. he played just three short seasons before finally retiring in 1997 because of a foot injury. well, he is now congressman schuller, and he represents north carolina's 11th district. still to come on net impact, one athlete recall as vivid memories of war as a youngster in war-torn bosnia. >> they kidnapped us and took to us where my dad was staying, which, and we just kind of hid there for a couple of months. >> now that same athlete is living his dreams out on the soccer field right here in the united states. and the husband saving his
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wife's life, but they say the philadelphia phillies played a major role in her recovery. we'll tell you how that happened, and you'll hear her amazing story. you're watching net impact on
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here is another tidbit for you. former president dwight eisenhower, gerald ford, and ron at reagan all reached the highest office in our land, but before they were president, they were each standout athletes in college. wow. now this. what a year it's been for this next athlete. his name is bofgio. the chicago fire welcomed the rookie mid-fielder to her roster, and being all to play in front of his own hometown has been. a a dream come true, especially when you consider that his journey began in another
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country where his memories of death and destruction still remain a big part of him. josh mora has gee or geo's story. >> i spent a lot of time playing with my family, so that's really basically it, that i remember, is just playing around with my cousins, running in the wood, and that sort of thing. >> reporter: peaceful life. >> yeah, very nice, very peaceful. >> reporter: until he was 7 years old, he lived an idealic life in bosnia with his parents and older brother. his family owned land and had money, but wars a all around them. >> it's war, you see people dead. i lost my brother to, you know, yes, i lost my brother. yes, a lot of people dead, you can see it right there, bombed everything, you know, it's war. >> there are stores like they held up father, you know,
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rained the mom and just kind of left the kids. >> reporter: they left behind their family, their money, their home, their lives. >> had worked in the office 17 and a half years, she worked in the office, too, and war come, and we lost everything. and how she say, we left august 20, '94. just take a couple of bags in car and we stop at the border. >> my dad paid off a soldier, or i think he gave him our car to let my dad come across, and he stayed with his niece, who was located in croatia. so my mom told me and my brother to fake that i had a ear ache, and my brother had an eye problem. so when they let us come
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across, because, i mean, there was no way we could get across, you know. i remember they would read off names for like nurses to come take and you bring you in, and wire kind of in the middle of the line, they & they read our names off, and they wouldn't allow us -- you know, other people were in line, had been waiting there for days, you know, just like everyone else, and i remember the guards shooting, like, guns in the air, and they kind of ran away, and the guards came and grabbed me and my mom and my brother and took us across, and while we were there, a soldier who my dad paid off to, like -- he kidnapped us, and, like, took us to where my dad was staying, and we just kind of hid there for a couple of months, you know, and it was like we were, like, we had nothing. >> reporter: for a short time, germany accepted bosnian refugees. >> it was pretty hard.
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there was a lot of racism going on. we were an easy target for a lot of the kids. we were all put together with nothing, you know. you know, you could tell the way we dressed and everything, we had nothing. and we were made fun of so much, i mean i was fighting every day after school. three years later, the german government ended its program for families who didn't have visas, so the husidics had a choice, go back to boss the kneia, or end up in the united states. they went to chicago. >> that's when i finally felt like you can enjoy life now, we've made it. you can relax now. you know, it's yours, so, you know, i always, like, wanted to have a house i could have friends over and stuff, and every day, like, since we had the house, i always have people over, there's not like one day where my mom is not cooking for everyone. but in bosnia, it's just like that. you always have family over,
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friends over, you're grilling. >> reporter: and from there, life was good. boggio starred in soccer, and now he's getting plenty of playing time for the fire. >> i can't really describe like how you feel, like -- because you, like, you remember, when you go back, it all comes back to you like everything happened yesterday, and its just like, you know, it's -- you try to make it happy where you get to see your family again, but as soon as like that goes away, like, wow, like i left all of this behind. what if i didn't have this sort of future? >> reporter: and so you can understand when the practices get long and the guys get sweaty and the work seems difficult that boggio doesn't seem to find site hard. he is living a life that years ago simply didn't eve exist for him, not even in his dreams. >> when we played columbus, it
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was like a pretty packed house, and starting in that game, i it was like the best feeling work like such a big feeling of accomplishment, like everything my family and i have been through. >> you watch him after 15 years behind, i will show you he was involved, unbelievable. not just one, almost two guys, you know, oh, feel good. >> it has been a pretty good year for the chicago fire, they may have had in the playoffs, and the team is hoping for bigger things in their future. now let's talk baseball. what a season it was for the philadelphia phillies. one of the things that always feeds the philadelphia phillies is their fan support, which is always off the chart. by the way, they had more than 50 sellouts at sipsens bank park this past season, but this next story takes fan support you might say to a whole new
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level. as sportsnet philadelphia reports, one couple's love of the phillies truly became a matter of life and death. >> reporter: don has seen hundreds of phillies games, but it's the one he didn't see that he'll always remember. don and his wife sandy had tickets to see the phillies play the angels last june in what turned out to be a forgettable 7-1 loss. the events that drains spired that night, however, they will never forget. >> i went upstairs to get ready, and i got a splitting headache like i've never had before. i mean, this was the most intense pain i've ever had. he came upstairs and found me rolled into a fetal position on our bed, and all he could decipher from what i was saying was bad pain, hurts bad. >> i was just totally -- you know, company can see your life just flash in front of you. i took her into the hospital, they took her in for a cat scan, the doctor came out and said we have a helicopter dispatched from the university of pennsylvania coming down to pick her up, and this was,
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like, three hours after this first when i came home that this happened. it's, like, what is going on here? the skull is full of blood, it's a bleed, we have to get her up there immediately. she came in between annal and a 9 and 10 is fatal, and usually they don't make the flight, but they said we have her stabilized, next morning they twenty in and operated on her, and long, long road to recovery, and 50% of then people don't make this, they told me. >> reporter: if he was not at home to find his wife, it she likely would have not survived what turned out for a brain aneurysm. with that, they believe the phillies saved her life. >> don came home from work three hours early. the only time don comes home from work is when he's going to a phillies game. otherwiseny stays the rig rather time >> if it wasn't for me going to watch the phillies game that night, she would. >> reporter: be here for this interview. >> reporter: a speech and language therapist by trade,
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she's had to deal with the harsh irony of struggling with basic communication. under normal circumstances, degrees may have completely ravaged their lives, but a phillies title drive proved to have therapeutic powers. >> she followed the phillies games through the playoffs, light late in the year, and he was able in the hospital bed to to watch that, the world series. her sister came down and watched her for game four, which i winter up to see, and she weighed in the hospital bed in our house, and she watched the whole game there, and it just played out that the phillies won that world series that year, and it was almost like, you know, somebody was watching up above there. >> one of the things that they would do is every day they would come in asking what day it was, you know, what's the next holiday, things like that, to see if my brain was functioning. so when the phillies were there in the playoffs, they would come in every day and ask me, okay, who won last night? so i would have to remember who won, what the score of the game
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was, because they knew i was watching the phillies. so it was a big part of my recovery watching the games during the playoffs. >> and you can't blame them for believing that the greatest save in fills hist -- phillies history didn't take part of the field. >> they were just a major part of her recovery, and for sure part of my recovery. >> my neurosurgical team knows what they did to save my life. the phillies have no idea what what they did to save my life, but i consider them my heros now inspect >> and we certainly wish her the best on her recovery and for the philly, be a speedy return to the world series. coming up next, there are hockey fans who take obsession to a whole new level. we'll explain. south africa, an 8-year-old boy picked up the game of golf from his father.
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by the age of 9, he was already outplaying him. the odds of this gentle lad winning the junior world golf championships at the age of 14? 1 in 16 million. the odds of that same boy then making it to the u.s. and european pro-golf tours? 1 in 7 million. the odds of the "big easy" winning the open championship once and the u.s. open championship twice? 1 in 780 million. the odds of this professional golfer having a child diagnosed with autism? 1 in 150. ernie els encourages you to learn the signs of autism at early diagnosis can make a lifetime of difference.
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finally, you know their names, crews by, ovechkin, preair. they are among the les of the top selling jerseys in the national hockey lead, but as chuck found out, blackhawk fans take their passion for hockey jerseys to a whole new obsession. >> reporter: blackhawk fans love their jerseys. how many blackhawk jerseys do you have? >> i have about probably 20. >> reporter: 20 jerseys? >> at least. >> reporter: from pure hockey passion to borderline addiction. you have your own separate closet for them? >> i actually do. >> reporter: that's sick. >> it's very sick, and i'm horribly embarrassed right now. >> reporter: so if you can't actually be them, you might as well ware them, even if you can't spell them. put you on the spot, how do you spell -- >> how do i spell it the
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american way or the right way? >> reporter: the way it's on the back of your jersey. >> byful -- let's see here, byfug -- >> oh, okay. du. >> reporter: no, no,llu. ien. but hawks fans really remember those special ones from the past. >> this is signed by bobby hull, 1983, the year got in as a hall of famer. >> reporter: and who on the back? >> stan mckeithia, number 21. >> that's awesome. >> if i could get him to sign it, that would pretty much take the cake. >> dennis hull, you're the only person i've ever seen besides dennis hull to wear a dale earnhardt this hull jersey. why dennis hull jersey, why is
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that? >> to be different. >> reporter: i'm looking here, there's a kane number 14. i hate to say this, but past 88 what happened here? >> no, i'm 14, i'm pat kane, the real pat kane. >> reporter: you were born on the 14th? >> exactly. >> reporter: you were born april 14th, 1960? >> yeah, exactly. >> reporter: do you have your driver's license? let me see this. i need more on that within sense of license. your plummer's license. that says pat kane. okay -- think i'm gonna believe him. but then you might not believe this. you show up showing whose jersey? >> eric, my favorite. >> reporter: and he happens to be here. >> he happens to be here, i came here with my three nephews, they government me the
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jersey, and he hannans to be here. it's awesome. >> reporter: have you ever seen a fan wear one of your jerseys? >> no, it's the first one, i'm serious. >> i figured what better way to honor him than to get his jersey. that's the way to go. >> reporter: why were you named after hem? >> my dad's favorite player on the blackhawks. he said he was the best on the pk, swooping up and down the ice. >> reporter: ask and here you are today, and he's right over there, the guy you were named after is signing autographs right over there. >> what better way to come in here and get an autograph, and i added some research to do. i asked him if he tipped in bobby's 50th. so i heard it from the horse's mouth. >> reporter: what did he say? >> absolutely. >> reporter: so at your next
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hawks game, remember, everybody can be somebody, and we mean anybody. >> i don't normally ask people this, but can i have of have your autograph? >> sure. >> reporter: i really appreciate this. >> where do you watch me to sign? >> caller: just sign my sweater. thank you, i appreciate pit. >> and that will do it for another edition of net impact. i'm art fennell, thanks for joining us. coming up next months on net impact as the year comes to an end, we'll take a look back at some of our top sports stories that shaped 2009. and to find net impact in your area and for the law enforcementest breaking local


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