tv [untitled] CSPAN June 23, 2009 9:30pm-10:00pm EDT
allowing a missile to land and hit the united states or to do an early strike because we don't really know, but here's another scenario, this cloud has been cast over the intelligence community and it echos over the top of our entire defense network that's there. there are people in this capitol that work to please the speaker. and many of them are staff. and these are staff that are on committee. the speaker's staff. they are in position to write these bills in the middle of the night that get dropped on us about the time that the rooster crows in the morning and we have to figure out what's in them or not them in a modified closed rule and the rules committee is deciding the debate is in the rules committee. and we don't get a debate here on the floor, an opportunity to put people on record -- and we may not and probably will not get that vote, but to put people on record and find out what this congress thinks, the collective wisdom of the american people is to be reflected here, and we can
see that the funding for the defense intelligence all the way across the board systemically undermined and reduced by staff people who are protected because we can't even offer the amendments here on the floor, who are seeking to please the speaker because she made a comment into the record. how do you fix that lack of trust? it undermines the resources going to the intelligence community that's there and causes others to look more critically upon the intelligence group along with the c.i.a. and others, which undermines the support of the public, congress and undermines the resources they have to use. and if we don't have people out there whose lives are on the line, they have to question themselves why do they do this and put themselves up for this kind of scrutiny and allegations. if i were leon panetta and sending someone up to brief the speaker, i don't think you would
get volunteers. i think that has to be a direct order, brief the speaker. you will have a job when you get done. i yield back. . mr. carter: let's put it this way, if you're listening to what we're talking about here today and you'd like for us to have this addressed by the members of this house, it takes the ability under the rules to raise the issue and if we have what they call a closed rule or a modified closed rule where only certain agreed-to amendments to a bill can come forward, we hate to talk about process, but that's how we're prevented from asking the question that i hope many people that might be watching this would say, somebody ought to ask the whole house about that. do we need that missile defense mr. gingrey mentioned? i kind of think we do. i would like my member of congress to do something about that maybe they'd even go to the trouble to write their member of congress and say i'd like to see
you vote on this, vote in favor of it. but how are they going to see it if we're closed off from even offering it on this beloved floor? which of course is the sacred people's house. and that's why we think the rules ought to be opened. mr. gingrey: if the gentleman would yield on that point and just briefly, that's exactly right. that people in these 435 congressional districts, republican or democrat, they need to know how their member would vote on an issue such as that. something that that's important to this country in this time, they need an opportunity to hear that debate on this floor, you know, up or down, they need to know how their member votes and the point the gentleman makes from texas is absolutely on target and i just wanted to emphasize that. mr. carter: reclaiming my time for a moment. i think most everybody understands that these bills that come before this congress have sometimes thousands -- well you saw the one john boehner dropped on the floor, it's about that thick.
i mean, they got thousands of pages of things in them. so how you vote on a bill doesn't necessarily tell you what's in the weeds like a couple million dollars for missile defense or a couple of billion dollars for missile defense. it doesn't tell that you and if it's not discussed you don't know. and there's not any way we can tell you. that's why the openness of this house is so important. but its open rule, it's so important. mr. king i yield to you -- mr. king, i yield to you. mr. king: i thank the gentleman from texas and i'm watching the clock tick down here but -- i'll just conclude in a couple of minutes, but as i said, i just came from the rules committee and there's really not room in there for a tripod and camera and not really room for the press to operate the way they need to and not room for staff to come and make sure they're there to run the err ands we need and i know the gentleman from georgia knows this very well, he served on the rules committee. it occurs to me that if the rules is where the debate's going to take place in this
congress, let's move the rules committee down to the floor of the house of representatives and let's elect the members of the rules committee from the full house and let's make sure they're equally represented between republicans and democrats and put the c-span cameras on them and have an opportunity to have a full -throated debate on every amendment that would be offered to the rules committee as if they -- as if this were actually the full house because they are functioning with the function of the house of representatives in the rules committee. we've got to turn the sunlight on hass going on up there. eith that are ear we're going to have to go -- teether that or we're going to have -- either that or we're going to have to go back to the open rules process. this is unprecedented to see the systemic destruction of deliberative democracy taking place on the third floor, out of sight of the public eye and i'd yield back to the gentleman from texas and thank him. mr. carter: we've raised a lot of issues, we talked about a lot of things. i think we've expressed our personal concern about this issue of the veracity of our
c.i.a. and whether or not they've been lying to the congress and to the speaker of the house, the third most powerful person and most important person in line for the presidency. these are issues that as the ethics issues week of raised recently, issues that have places they can be resolved, either in the leadership of this house or the ethics committee, they need to be resolved, madam speaker. we need these issues resolved and i would file this argument by saying, especially this intelligence issue before the world blows up in our face. i'd thank my colleagues for being here with us and helping me he with this today and i appreciate them expressing it and now we'll yield back the balance of my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas yields back.
under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the gentlewoman from maine, ms. pingree, is now recognized for 60 minutes ased he isingny of the majority lead -- as the designee of the majority leader. ms. pingree: thank you so much, mr. chair. mr. chair, it's a great honor to be here tonight. the freshmen members would like to take a little bit of time and come to the floor and talk about issues that we find are a great concern to both this country and what we're hearing back home in our own district and so tonight i'm going to be joined by a couple of my freshmen colleagues and we want to devote our time to talk about the issue of health care. given the late hour we may not see as many of our colleagues as we would at other hours of the day but we know this is an important issue at any hour of the day and i'm very happy to be here and have this opportunity to talk a little bit about it. this is certainly an important time about the -- for the issue of universal access to health care and expanding the access to
health care. i don't know about other members, but i think it's a universal feeling out there that this is the number-one issue for so many americans. i started campaigning a long time ago, i got sworn into office last january and i can say during the entire time i was campaigning and since i've been elected tos of to, for so many people this is their number-one issue. i hear this from individuals who don't have health care coverage, people who have insurance and don't find that their company is there when they need it, i hear it from big business owners who are challenged by the cost of health care from small business owners who don't know if they can continue to cover their employees, this is a universal issue. i hear it from providers, from doctors and nurses and others who say, you know, when i signed up to take care of people, to make sure that their health care needs were to be met, i didn't expect a system that would fall apart in the way that it has.
this is, as i say, a universal issue. people say to me, health care ought to be a basic right, it is extremely important that this congress does something about the issue of health care and we want to see you do something. the good news is that this congress is working very hard on putting together legislation. the president budgeted for $634 billion for health care reform in the budget that we've already passed. and the speaker of the house is committed to passing a bill by the end of july. the president has asked us for a bill on his desk this fall. the discussion draft was released in the house just this friday and i personally can say that i'm happy to see a lot of the good things that are included in there. a public plan option, better insurance regulation, insurance companies won't be able to cut people out who have pre-existing conditions, reasonable amount of cost sharing and emphasis on prevention and wellness, investments in medicare and medicaid, many of the things that we've been talking about and that i hear about all the
time from constituents in my district are in this bill. more than anything else, people say to me, you need to pass universal access to health care, you need to do something now and i feel like we are right here in the middle of this and we are moving forward on this. in my own district, like many other of my freshmen colleagues, every chance i get during the break, on weekends, we have been meeting with groups of individuals and as i said, this spans from constituents who i meet in the grocery store who tell me about their individual challenges to doctors, nurses, providers,ontraditional providers, to chambers of commerce and once again, what i hear is that they all want change and they want things to move forward. i had the good fortune of being a state legislator in the past and this was back when i first ran for office in 1992 as a state legislator, again, one of our number-one issues and it's
amazing to me now 17 years since then, it hasn't gone away and in spite of the many things we attempted to do in my home state, the state of maine, to take on the pricing of prescription drugs, to attempt to expand access to more individuals in our state, each and every one of those we made progress, but we haven't gone far enough. and when i hear from my colleagues, my former colleagues in the state legislature, my daughter who is the speaker of the house and i, as you can imagine, am very proud of her, the one thing they say to me is, you've got to do something about this. we've tried as hard as we can in our home state, but we can't go it alone. states across the country are feeling the exact same challenge but they want now to have us at the congressional level to do something about this. now there are many things that we could talk about tonight. we have a few charts and graphs but let me just get started by recognizing my good friend and colleague, mr. boccieri, from ohio. i know he's hearing about this quite a bit in his home
district. it would be great if you could talk a little bit about some of the issues and concerns and then we can keep going on this topic. mr. boccieri: thank you. i thank the gentlelady from maine and her extraordinary work not only on the house floor here but also on the rules committee. we appreciate your efforts to help move our country forward. there's no question, perhaps the biggest issue that we will address in our freshmen tenures and perhaps for the time we serve here in the united states congress is health care. and there's perhaps and arguably no more important issue that we could tackle as a nation than to get our health care costs under control. and i know the gentlelady from maine is hearing what i'm hearing back in my district and that is that people work, working families in our district, are one accident, one medical emergency, one diagnosis away from complete bankruptcy. and in fact 2007, 60% of all bankruptcies were due to medical costs. some accident that a family had
sustained or unsustainable cost that have as i raisen because they contracted a disease or some sort of cancer and we need to do our part here in congress to make sure that we're working on this issue and getting these costs under croil. they predict right now that -- control. they predict right now that 60% of our gross national product for paying health care and that in a few decades that cost could grow as high as half of our gross national product. that is absolutely unsustainable for our future and we have an obligation to make sure that our country can be competitive, that we can have a workforce that is not only well-educated and trained but has access to the basic fundamentals of prevention and healthy lifesometimes and access to seeing the doctor that they choose and when i speak to my constituents back in ohio, in northeast ohio, i talk about the five p's of health care. the five p's. the fact that we need to cover
all people. now, when we talk about covering all people, we need to understand that by not doing so, it's actually costing all of us paying into the system more money. those 46 million uninsured or underinsured people who can't seek access to their doctor because their health care effectively ended when they got their pink slip at their job because they can't afford a cobra payment, they are uninsured or underinsured and when they use the hospital emergency room as their primary care physician, they're costing all of us paying into the system four or five times more by using the hospital room, the emergency room, as their primary care physician. we need to cover all people. and to those americans who might be listening tonight, we need to understand that the american people -- the american taxpayer right now is paying to make sure that every man, woman and child in iraq has access to universal health care coverage. now, it's inconsistent that we would pay for iraqis to see the doctor that they want to but not
americans. the second p is that we have portability. is that our workers, when they get that pink slip, god forbid, that they can take their health care from job to job to job. portability, covering all people and certainly one of the third p's, one of the third p that we have in our five p's is making sure that we provide incentives for prevention because prevention should be tied into all of this with respect to healthy lifestyles and ending the chronic diseases that plague so many. . insurance companies using as a notion of disqualifying people from seeing their primary care physician. when the worker in a factory in canton, ohio, loses their job and gets hired by another factory with another set of health care opportunities and they were a diabetic, god
forbid, it becomes a pre-existing condition for routine coverage. we need to end pre-existing conditions. and making sure that physicians and doctors are making and prescribing the types of health care that our patients should seek. those are the five p's that we have on this great dialogue here on capitol hill. i thank the gentlelady from maine on discussing this issue and hope we can have a spirited discussion. ms. pingree: you mentioned some of the cost issues and since we have a couple of charts, i thought i might put them up here right now. you talked about the expenses of health. and here's one that shows how our national health expenditures, as they say, gone off the chart. this is one of those charts, actual and projected that shows we can no longer afford this.
people say how are you going to pay for health care? when i talk to businesses and individuals, i say how are we going to afford the system the way it is. and this is one of the charts that really shows this. let me show another one. we don't have to tell any of our constituents, we again hear it all the time, from business owners, who say and worried they can't cover the costs of their employees anymore. but since 2000, health care premiums have dobbled while wages have gone up by just 3%. it is no wonder that people everywhere we go are saying to us, we are just dropping our coverage. they are going without coverage or going for the $10,000 deductible. how many constituents have you seen say, i have a $10,000 deductible and i spend the whole year paying that $10,000. why do i even have insurance?
i hear that all the time. why don't we welcome our other colleague, the other night owl, congressman shalvor son from illinois. mrs. halvorson: i thank congresswoman pingree leading the special orders. health care has been a health care topic that comes up every year but no one finds the time to put their nose to the grindstone and get something done about it and it is probably the top issue to all americans every day talking about how are they going to afford the skyrocketting costs. it's an important topic for businesses across our country and especially for our national budget. tonight, i want to focus, i think, on the urgent need for health care reform. and it's a personal story for
me. it's personal to me and my constituents who are struggling with the medical costs and it's personal for so many americans that are struggling with these health care costs across our country. i know what it's like for someone to struggle with health costs because of a lack of access to gl health insurance. i've seen my parents take this battle on growing up. my dad was self-employed. and my parents just couldn't afford health care. being self-employed, it was virtually an expense we could not take on. in fact, i'm not even sure i remember going to the doctor. it's something we didn't do. later on in life, my mom was only 49 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. and i can remember my parents spending all their time focusing on how to pay for the bills instead of focusing on her
health. and it was very, very depressing for the whole family. and i can remember her talking about -- and remember she was only 49. she's ok today, but i can remember her spending the next 15 years of her life just wishing and hoping she could make it to 65 so she would have health care again. because virtually, we have pre-existing illness and could never have health care again. and that was so sad to our entire family. and i'm not the only one that's been through it. i hear story after story after story. and certainly true with so many people with pre-existing illnesses. my mom was very fortunate. she won her battle with breast cancer. but even today, many, many families find themselves in that same situation. and it shouldn't be that way. you know, even families who do have health insurance find these
rising costs or they have the false sense of security that they have health insurance, only to find some of these costs and some of these tests that they're denied. so in order to compensate for the care, for the insured -- uninsured, families are paying $1,000 in additional costs each year in their own health care care to cover insurance. it's obvious we need health care reform. as congress takes up this health care issue, we have to follow and focus on the following priorities. we need to reduce costs. we need to preserve everyone's choice of doctors and their plans. we need to improve the quality of care. these are the keys to successful reform health care and reforming of health care in america. the cost for an average
american, for businesses and for our country are out of control. and they're still rising. and as representative boccieri said, 15% of our gross national product and it's going up every year and it's becoming one of the biggest burden, not only on families, but on businesses also. so, you know, we need health care reform. we need to reduce these costs. secondly, when we are talking about health care, i don't think there's anything more important than a person's relationship with their doctor. and we need the health care reform that's going to allow you to keep that relationship with your doctor and your health care plan if you like them. and finally, we need to improve that quality of care. and we need good access to preventative medicine. and we need to encourage americans to stay healthy. this is a cultral thing and not
going to happen overnight. but we need to invest in health and wellness and help change the culture of our society. so, you know, i'm glad i have the opportunity to spend an hour here with my colleagues talking about some of the things we need to do. so, representative, thank you for having us tonight to make sure that we talk about this very important issue. ms. pingree: i know that not too many of the american people are still up and watching us on c-span, but those who are and those who see this later, i think will be just so grateful that they're hearing one more conversation about moving this forward. what they don't want to hear from us is, well, we talked it all over, but we backed down and just tinkered around with it around the edges and couldn't pass anything and couldn't find a way to get to a conclusion. they don't want to hear that from us. we are go go to work hard and
pass a bill before we go home on recess. i hope you continue with stories you are hearing, but just as you said, there are so many families with those kinds of stories that say, you know, we never had health care coverage. i pulled a few out of our office this afternoon. and they're endless, the sad things that people come up and tell you. here's one that says, i earn $20 ,000 a year. what good is a mandated policy with ar $5,000 durkt i believe. i have been stripped of my wealth and i made more when i was 24 years old than i make now as a 53 years old. we need taxpayer-funded health care. if it's good for elected officials, it is good enough for us. another person said to me, something i mentioned before and i hear a lot of this in maine.
people who are self-employed. we have a lot of fishermen, wood cutters in our area, they go out and get these plans with huge deduct i believe so. somebody said, ki only afford a catastrophic plan with a $15,000 deductible. it is insurance to save my home if my wife or i get sick. i can't afford a colon os coppy. with a family histories of colon cancer, the chances of dying from this cancer are pretty good. but the health insurance industry doesn't care about my health, but only care about the profit and will help those who help them. he is just feeling angry and saying, you've got to do something about this now and that's one of the things you mentioned. i mean, we need a plan in the proposals before us talk about wellness, early intervention,
getting treatments and checkups before you need it. i want to share my own story or a little bit of it. i had a brother who died of mel noama, which is a difficult form of cancer. he was diagnosed 20 years ago and would be 60 years ago. he was 40 at the time. sadly, most of them haven't changed, but his employer dropped his coverage and unable to get the kind of coverage he needed. he and his wife had turned overall their assets to be eligible for medicaid. i can guarantee you that my brother worried about how he was going to provide for his family when he was gone. that shouldn't be. it shouldn't have been that way 20 years ago. it's shocking for me to think this is 20 years later and people have these problems or worse. and we haven't fixed the problem. it's only gotten more difficult.
mr. boccieri: the gentlelady from maine is correct that this dilemma that is facing our country has impacted many families across the country. and we have a responsibility and obligation to fix this issue so we can remain competitive as a country and help our citizens. now, i want to tell you a personal story of myself. as a fair force pilot who was deployed all over the world, i had to get shots so i wouldn't get sick when i went overseas. and i received a couple of anthrax shots as part of our mobility deployment and i was having the terrible reactions. my knees were swelling up and getting red. the flight surgeon suggested i go see a rheumatoid specialist. and i waited three months to see this rheumatoid specialist and waited 2 1/2 hours in a doctor's office.
when the nurse ushered me in, i sat on the table for about 20 minutes. the doctor came in. he did some movements with my knee and said, son, you're getting older. i said, doctor, i could have made that diagnosis. but i said, these are recuring to the cow insi dens of the shots i'm getting. he said, call me in a month after taking these pills and see if this works. i said doctor, i'm 30-something years old and i'm in good shape and i want to figure out why this is happening. and he said, i have to see 15 other patients so i can keep the lights on in this building. and i thought to myself, is that what we have reduced health care to? is that what we have enabled our system to give and administer to our citizens in this country? that's why the bills we are
introducing are going to add significant improvements. one, we're going to make sure that americans have more choices to see the doctor they want, to develop and sign onto the plans that they want and to make sure, number two, the number two guideposts is that bean counters aren't deciding the type of health care american citizens should get. families should understand there is enough money in the system. the other side says, how are we going to pay for this? there are going to be more resources coming down to capitol hill and being disbursed out. we know that 1/3 of the $2.5 million we spend on health care, 1/3 never reaches the doctor or patients. it is out in the administration of the system. and we know that 1/3 of that money could be given and could be used to cover the 46 million
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