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tv   Nancy Grace  HLN  October 1, 2009 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT

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it makes health care less affordable not a more affordable. some of my colleagues have dismiss these concerns because the insurance exchange will have catastrophic protection. that is true for regular health expenses. it is not true for long-term care expenses. if a person in an exchange become so disabled that they must live in a nursing home, this tax deduction may be the only protection they have from catastrophic long-term care expenses. even under the mark, millions of americans will not have catastrophic protection and. . .
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>> will be the only catastrophic protection they have. and if the chairman truly succeeds in eliminating catastrophic health care costs for americans, then the score on his tax increase would be zero. and the score on the amendment i am offering would now be zero
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because nobody would take this deduction. the joint committee has told us that the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases in the chairman's mark will drive up out-of-pocket health care costs for consumers. yet this bill weakens a critical safety net for those costs. it defies logic. i wish we could protect every american from this devastating tax increase. surely both sides will agree we should protect the most vulnerable americans from losing this critical safety net. my amendment exempts seniors, people with disabilities and debilitating chronic conditions and people with a terminal illness from tax increases on
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catastrophic health care costs. the amendment is offset by a deduction in insurance subsidies under the exchange starting with the highest income people. in short, my amendment protects the most vulnerable people with catastrophic health care costs by slightly reducing the subsidy for wealthy americans who already have catastrophic protection through the exchange. it seems like a pretty simple choice. if we are truly concerned about afford ability for people who earn less than $90,000 a year we should not cut a hole in their catastrophic safety net. a basic concept of health care is that the healthy pay for the sick by nkedsing taxes on catastrophic medical expenses, the chairman's mark forces the
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sick to pay for the healthy. that is simply wrong. i urge my colleagues to help me to help you keep president obama's promise to the american people. help the most defenseless citizens keep the catastrophic coverage that they have. don't force the sick to pay for the healthy. please do the right thing and support this amendment. >> senator, i appreciate your amendment. as you well know we adopted an amendment which exempts seniors already. >> through 2016. >> well, i also committed to others that we will have that senior protection continued permanently, not just through 2016. it will be amended to permanently protect seniors. you raised the sympathetic
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arguments for sympathetic populations, no doubt about it. those on disability and the chronic conditions. certainly that deserves special protections. i would like to work with you to try to find a way to protect those populations. but paid for in some other way. what you do in your amendment is you pay for it by taxing middle income americans. those americans whose incomes are, i think, the amount required under your amendment will certainly affect those families earning $66,000 and families earning $45,000. basically you are taking out of
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the pockets of middle income americans to pay for a very sympathetic population. i am sympathetic with the goals of your amendment. >> i want you to remember that those people are already covered for catastrophic health care cost. >> i'm sorry. who is? >> the people you are talking about. they have catastrophic coverage through the exchange or insurance or something. they are covered. >> but you want to lower the amount of tax credits they would otherwise receive. i don't think it is wise to lower the tax credits on middle income americans. >> i am willing to work any way we can to make sure it works. >> i am too. that is why i suggest we find a way. but we can't pay for it this way. if you have another way to pay for it i am more than open.
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>> it is not right to take money out of middle income americans to pay for a sympathetic population. there are other ways to accommodate this population. >> i do want to raise that this is now the seventh time that we have seen amendments come forward that would cut tax credits for middle income families. with all of the talk a while ago on amendments, we are right back at it again. maybe michigan is different. but somebody making $66,000 for a family of four is not wealthy in our state. we are talking about folks who are trying to make the mortgage
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payment and stay afloat. unfortunately i can't support this amendment because we are going right back after the middle class. >> no. >> no by proxy. >> mrs. lincoln, no. >> no by proxy. >> no by proxy. >> no. >> no. >> mr. nelson, no. >> no by proxy. >> no. >> mr. grassley, aye. >> mr. hatch, aye. >> miss snow, no. >> mr. bunning, aye.
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>> mr. roberts aye by proxy. >> aye. >> aye by proxy. >> aye. mr. chairman. >> chairman votes no. mr. chairman the final tally is 9 aye's and 14 nays. >> the associated press writing the final committee vote probably will not happen until next week so senators will have time to review the legislation. the bill would reshape the u.s. health care system extending coverage to about 95% of
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americans. that in the associated press. debate on two amendments that would seek to use the same funding offered by senators kyle and schumer. >> i hope because we have been transparent on this side to what we have been trying to do. and if you call on senator schumer, we are being punished for our transparency. so senator kyle should be called upon. >> senator, i appreciate your concern. this morning i think there were about nine amendments that were taken up. they are all amendments on your side. to balance things out a bit, so far it is 2-9. maybe it is 2-8.
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in the interest of balance and fairness it is only appropriate to have a couple more democratic amendments to get back and balance it. >> if that is true it should be somebody other than senator schumer. he should not go ahead of senator kyle because we were transparent in telling senator schumer what amendment we were going to offer and what our source of revenue was. >> mr. chairman the whole point is that revenue would be taken off the table if the schumer amendment is offered now and passed my amendment, which is on the list here, would have to find another offset. i don't think that would be fair. >> the point is mr. chairman everybody has has an offset ought to be able to get it copyrighted and own it. but it doesn't work that way. when somebody else thinks of an offset and steals it -- >> i wasn't involved but let's
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go over the facts. i had always was going to offer an amendment to do the afford ability wafer. because i believed and argued for weeks that 10% was too high. that produced revenues. i hadn't offered it yet. then senator kyle files an amendment before i offer my amendment taking those revenues and using those for something else. i agree you have been transparent but it is not appropriate in my judgment when i have been offering this amendment and talking about this amendment for senator kyle to take the language. i am glad he supports the concept of low aring the afford ability waiver. for him to go first and take it and use it for an offset he wants before i even offer it is not fair.
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>> senator from new york is recognized to offer an amendment. >> thank you. i was told it was not the original offset. he had another one. when we put this amendment in he put it in. i don't think it is unfair to have us go with this amendment. also we used instead of medical devices to eliminate the penalty in the first year and reduce it in the second which is senator snow's original idea. so in a sense we are all like spaghetti on this amendment. but i think us offering it is fair. the original offset came up with ours. i ask that amendment c3 is modified be brought forward. what does this amendment do? let's start out here.
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it is the major amendment today on affordibility. we have an issue of affordibility because of the dilemma we are in. health care is very expensive. middle class families need health care. we know that. some are lucky. they are over 65 they get it from medicare. others are not 65 but their employer gives them good health care. and others are lucky, they have enough money to pay for a decent health care plan. it is harder and harder for the middle class to pay for health care because it is getting so expensive. as we heard before now average families work about one out of five days a week to pay for health care. it will go up to two and a half days per week if we do not reduce the cost. that is why reducing the cost is so important. we are trying to help those families pay for the health care that they want to buy. and so there are subsidies here
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that run from 2% to 12%. and that is a very good thing. those are expensive. health care is expensive, but it is the right thing to do. there are large numbers of families who may not be able to afford the 12%. i know it is the hope of the chairman and many of us we will get that number down significantly as we go to the floor and go to the house. but at the moment it is still at 12 because we have to find the revenues to pay for it. what this amendment does is it says that if a family, and this would be aimed at people in the middle class can't find a health care plan they can afford at 8% they don't have to buy the health care. it is very fair. 8% is still a lot for a lot of families. i spruced amendments to make it lower.
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we also want to have as much coverage as possible and 8% is the balance we seek. maybe it will get lower as we move forward. and what it says again, if you can't find health care at 8% of your income or lower, you don't have to buy it. most personal it removes the burden for families that really can't or don't prefer to pay more than 8% of their income. most families want health care. we know that. but they may be putting two kids through college. they may have had an unusual problem. maybe a small business owner had real problems in his or her small business. and this is as again 8%. original bill has 10%. this bring its down to 8%. the second thing is just as important. we want to make sure that people get as efficient an
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insurance plan as they can. insurance companies will know if they do not offer a plan at 8% they are going to lose a large number of customers. so it will be a large incentive for insurance companies to actually produce a less costly plan. that will be the choice of the average middle class family. this is a very important amendment. those are two good things. helping the middle class. encouraging insurance companies to offer plans that will only be at 8% of income. the third thing it does is raises money.
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and that means that we can use that for something else. and what we have chosen on this side to do is to take the very good idea of senator snow and use that money to eliminate the penalty in the first year that the exchange takes effect and reduce it in half in the second. that would be in the years i believe in 2014 and 2015. so, it gives families a chance to prepare without a penalty. say there are families that want to buy the health care but they are not quite ready and haven't prepared and the exchange is new. this gives them a year to not buy it without penalty no matter what level the insurance is offered at and a much lower penalty for the second year. this is a win-win-win. it is a win for middle class
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families who might not, as much as they want health care, might not be able to afford it at above 8%. it is a win because it makes the cost of health care lower. and it is a win because in the offset we give families a chance to adjust to this new world, and not be publicized for it. incidentally we put language in to make it clear that if you don't pay the penalty and you are supposed to, you may get civil punishment, but not criminal. no jail time or anything like that. we make it clear in this amendment. i want to thank my colleague from north dakota. i appreciate his help in crafting this idea and amendment. >> i would like to be mentioned as a co-sponsor for the gentleman's amendment. if i could be listed as a
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co-sponser of the gentleman's amendment. i would just like to say to the gentleman from new york i appreciate very much the effort and energy you have devoted to this. over and over and over. we simply has got to do better on affordibility. i tried a way to get to 7.5%. but 8% is a dramatic improvement over where we have been. making clear that nobody is going to jail. if you look at case history people might get fined but nobody goes to jail. you have made that clear that it is not going to happen.
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>> that is a good idea of phasing in. i want to thank the gentleman from new york for putting this together in a way i think substantially strengthens the overall proposal. and i also want to thank the gentle lady from michigan. she has gone to colleagues saying we have to do more to make this affordable for the middle class. >> i want to add my thanks to my colleague and ask unanimous consent that she be added as a co-sponser. you have been a force on this. senator rockefeller, bingham,
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menendez. we have had a lot of support for this as have you mr. chairman. very much appreciate it. >> let me indicate my concern" amendment. and i do have concerns. >> there are two concepts that we need to understand. the issue of how do we make health care more affordable for folks and how do we reduce the financial burden that might be imposed by virtyew of this bill. and clearly it reduces the
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financial burden. it says you don't have to get coverage. under the mark the way the mark now reads, you are exempt from getting coverage if your income is 100% of poverty or less. you are heavily subsidized or subsidized, i guess you can argue about how heavily, but you are subsidized to obtain coverage through these refundable tax credits. that is the so-called affordibility waiver that senator schumer is now
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proposing to lower from 10% to 8% as i understand it. in addition senator snow offered an amendment that's been adopted as part of the modification saying any individual who would otherwise qualify for the exefpblgs, that is the 10% exefpblgs. but if this amendment prevails it is the 8% one. >> you said it may have value of as low as 50% is that what you indicated? >> around 50. >> around 50%. regardless of the person's age they could buy a policy of 50% under the snow amendment.
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i thank you will reduce the number of people who have coverage, and maybe staff can tell us the estimate on that. is there an estimate as to how many fewer people will have coverage with this change? >> it will be $2 million. >> is that at the end of 019 is that what that means? >> yes. >> by 2019 there will be 2 million fewer people that will have coverage and it will reduce the resources that are provided to people who obtain coverage because fewer people will be coming in to obtain coverage that. is how i would
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interpret it. overall effect of it, as i see it, would be to reduce the number of healthy individuals that we have in the insurance risk pool because a lot of people will say there is no reason why i should go out and buy this insurance. i will just stay out of it. i don't need the insurance and that runs up premiums for others who are insured. it leaves a significantly larger amount of cost shifting from people who have no insurance to people who have insurance and are having to pay for that and their premiums. i think it goes against a major thrust of the legislation. we want to cover as many americans as we can. we want to provide as adequate
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set of health care benefits as we can. >> couple of points to make here. i think some of these arguments that were made seem very inconsistent. i think he just pointed out some of the inconsistensies. some of our earlier amendments it was talked about fewer people would have coverage that some of our amendments would cause fewer people to have coverage because we wanted to exempt them from an individual mandate. here, you are exempting them from the individual mandate. we were decried earlier for
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saying that that eliminates the goal of universal coverage and it would seem to me that this amendment is doing the exact same thing. the other inconsistensy that i see is we are exempting folks from the criminal fnlt it is for these very folks but they will still apply to the rest of the folks. >> we exempt all criminal penalties, everyone from any criminal penalty. >> from now on. does the criminal penalty also include the $25,000? isn't that part of a criminal penalty? >> never would have happened anyway but just to make sure we said anyone who does not pay the penalty does not get any jail time. >> you said civil penalties. is part of the $25,000 fine part of the criminal penalty?
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>> senator the material i quoted to you from willful failure to file or pay was misdemeanor with the maximum penalties of up to a $25,000 fine and up to one year in jail. >> so, under his amendment they would not be subject to any fines either? >> i think that is great. i think exempting all of them is terrific. i am actually probably going to vote for your amendment. this is exactly what i was trying to do earlier today. i am glad we recognized that they should not be publicized. i am glad you are finally
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joining with us. >> i am glad to have a bipartisan note added to this debate. >> i am going to support senator schumer's amendment. i listened to what senator binghamton had to say. i wish we could be in that position. the problem is that, and the chair tried already to deal with some of this when we took, at the urging of myself and others, when the mark was at 13% in terms of the cap and went down to 12. it was a good effort to make it more affordable. the problem here at the end of the day is really a question of premium costs. so, if a family of four making $66,000 has to pay $661 a
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month, then at the end of the day they may choose to do so if it is important enough for them that out of their budget that is what they are going to take. but if they really can't because there are other challenging issues in their budget, then they need relief. that is what senator schumer does. he provides relief for them not more than 8% of their family income would exempt them from the penalty that. is the big challenge. we would love to have the premium costs be reduced, and i know there is still the floor and the conference and hopefully we can continue to work on the premium cost at the end of the day. that is the critical issue. but in the interim we need to give families relief, middle class families. $66,000, you know, that is two
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people working together entry level one a teacher, maybe another working as a station manager. it is not a lot of money. at the end of the day as we strive to continue to drive down the premium costs, you need an escape valve for those middle class working families. that is what i will be supporting on his amendment as we continue to work to drive down premium costs in the process. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank senator schumer for his efforts. we all know that this is part of a big picture. we have in front of us a bill that creates a safety net so if you lose your job and your insurance with senator cantwell's amendment that we
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just passed, we have now created the opportunity for up to 75% of the people in this country that do not have insurance today to get a lower cost option if their state chooses to do that. so, we are bringing together a number of ways to lower the cost for families. i think the cantwell amendment is a very, very important part of affordibility. my hope is that if we can get a score on that, we can know that it will save. we don't know how much. my hope is if we get a score and get an exact number we can put that back into helping with those above 00%. the middle class, to be able to do exactly what senator menendez was talking about. we need to continue to work. and i pledged to work with colleagues to continue to work and make sure that in the end when all of this is put together. this is truly affordable for
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middle class families and small businesses that we are all trying to help. i think it is very significant that we are talking about making sure that the exchange works, and not starting with any type of a personal responsibility. until we get through the first year to make sure that it is up and working. that is phased in. i think that is very important. certainly for me and i know others will watch that very, very closely to determine how it is going. if it is not working for families, we can always change it. the final thing is after hearing so many times over and over about how somehow folks would end up in jail if they do not have health care. i appreciate senator schumer including the clarification in his amendment. you know, i find it really unfortunate in this country today when we talk about people
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going to jail. when you go to jail you get health care. that is what we are trying to change is that to make sure that people who are following the rules and not going to jail get the opportunity to have health care too. >> they have indicated they have not produced a score for the modified schumer amendment. we don't know the cost or affect of the coverage or whether it will increase or decrease spending. and then also compared to what the original version was versus this version that came out five minutes before it was brought up, i think it would be good if we set this aside and give us a chance to study it. at the very least we ought to know whether or not it increases or what the cost is. >> we have been sent alet they're it is revenue neutral
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at the very least. i introduced amendments for three, five and seven. the 5% saved $30 billion. so there is no question this will save money. we don't know how much. but we do have from c.b.o. a written statement that it is at the very least revenue neutral. >> what you are saying is the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. ok. >> mr. chairman. >> you know we had conversations directly with the analysts. i think we ought to settle it if we have real figures or we don't have real figures. >> frankly a few moments ago i directed my staff to go back and get a deeper analysis to try to answer that question. on the face of it is neutral. it is designed not to have a score.
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moving the level down to 8% is designed to raise $5 billion and phasing in of the penalty over three years is designed to cost that same $5 billion. how do you know that. i am trying to answer your question. >> i thank you very much. >> you bet. >> not being a tax lawyer or lawyer or i.r.a. agent, i wanted to get something on the record. just to be sure, nobody would be subject to any of the criminal penalties regardless. we established that for sure. second thing is that you mentioned that they would be subject to penalties. even the low income people here would be subject to the garnishment of wages, potentially losing their home losing any of the rest of their assets. the i.r.s. could go after their
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other assets for not paying the penalties? >> we do not eliminate the civil penalties. >> so that is correct. they could have their wages garnished or lose their house. i want to make sure for the record that it is correct. >> i don't know the policies of an i.r.s. when a small amount of >> they can go after interest, penalties. i don't know about you but in my state the i.r.s. is not thought of fondly because the i.r.s. is brutal in what they do. they go after everything. my state people are a little afraid of the i.r.s. including cocktail wreasses, dealers, slot hostesses, everything. it is something they think needs to be addressed so that we get it on the record so they would be subject to civil penalties. >> i appreciate.
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this is for all of the penalties if they were not paid. what happens? is senator ensign correct? >> i am going to defer to my tax colleague. >> baker that's easy. >> nothing confusing about that >> with respect to the criminal penalties there are three criminal penalties you would be eliminating in your amendment that would include tax evasion, willful failure to pay and a false tax return. those would be eliminated. >> so what is left if you do not pay? >> the i.r.s. has various civil procedures and mechanisms to collect any amounts that are unpaid and any deficiencies. that would include for example if you had a refund on your tax return and it was determined
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you owe the penalty the refund might be reduced. there are other collection protesters. >> garnishing wages? >> that could be a possibility. that is an option. but i just wanted to clarify that it is a gradation of effort that you would first go to the least invasive approaches and then could proceed to some of those. as someone pointed out the amounts in question, the i.r.s. has to weigh the use of its resources. so it would be unlikely in a situation like this with these amounts we are talking about that you would get to a point where you would have a lien or levy, but it could be possible. >> i would be happy just to work with my colleague i would
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be happy to work with you. >> by the time we go to the floor to get the language very specific. i had somebody whisper in my ear and they say the mark is not specific and it needs to be to have when dealing with the i.r.s. >> that is the debate from earlier today. >> mr. chairman the tax subsidy under the way the mark is written would be available for legal imigrants who haven't been in the country for five years. the law has been that public benefits of this kind are available to such imigrants
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once they have been in the country for five years. my amendment would reestablish that requirement. that is what would be delayed for five years after $initial entry. current law requires medicaid recipients who have lived in the country for five years. if you are eligible for medicaid you would be eligible for this. >> i said the others require a individual be in the country for five years pursuant to a law that dates back to 1882 but we specifically provided in
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section 403 the specific definition which reads aliens are not eligible for any public benefit for a period of five years on entry into the united states. mr. chairman there is more i can say about this. i think obvious we welcome imigrants to our shores and want them to be productive citizens when they become a citizen for a period of five years they agree not to take public wellfare and had is one of those benefits that otherwise would be denied to them. >> mr. chairman, let me put this name out there. specialist gar zazz of san
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antonio, texas. he was the first soldier to die in iraq. he was a legal permanent resident of the united states. under senator kyle's provision he and his family would have been barred. now, this amendment sets up a catch 22 for legal imigrants. unlike the suggestion that they are well fair programs when someone is mandated to be having insurance and pays a penalty if they cannot meet that mandate is much different than a wellfare program. i don't consider any of the subsidies under these bills to be a wellfare. we are talking about creating affordibility for families. secondly, the reality is that
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we are going to put a mandate on legal permanent residents of the united states. had is new. it exists for those who are already here as legal permanent residents of the united states. now they have a mandate placed on them and they are told that even though they serve in the armed forces of the united states , even though they pay all taxes that any other citizens would pay in this country that in addition to the fact they meet all of those obligations that when we mandate them to have insurance and or pay a penalty they cannot have subsidies established for everyone else. this amendment prevents low and middle income families from acquires tax credits and putting quality affordable health care out of the reach of those working families.
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to make matters worse it would force them to pay a penalty for not having insurance under the new individual mandate. under this amendment legal permanent residents would be prevented from accessing federal program which is they help to fund. we have moved in a different direction where in fact we removed that hurdle. it is about health care reform and driving up the cost of health care for all americans.
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we need to make health care affordable for everyone. restricting residents from enrolling in affordable health care coverage at the same time limits the pool of participants and increases the cost of health care for everyone. so, it also creates a set of circumstances under which simple problems that could be addressed through preventive care will be delayed and become more complex and costly at the end of the day. so, i believe you cannot have it both ways having a mandate saying you will have to have health insurance. pay your taxes. serve in the arm forced -- forces. but you do not have access to the subsidies. the amendment should be rejected. >> mr. chairman.
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>> let me under score those points. these are legal permanent residents. they have come here to comply with all of the laws of this country. they are tacts-paying citizens. it would be a great mistake for us to deny them the right to participate in this effort to expand the coverage we are talking about. this mark does not change the law with regard to medicaid. that is my understanding. let me ask staff if i am accurate on that. the thing from arizona is
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trying to impose, which i do not agree with. i don't agree with having the five-year ban on medicaid. we are not trying to change that. what we are saying is that this program of advanced refundable tax credits to assist the people in obtaining the health care coverage they are trying to obtain is not wellfare or medicaid. it is something that is in our interests as a country to see as many people as possible participate in and that is certainly including the legal residents who came to this country. i would strongly oppose the amendment from the senator from arizona. >> he has military care. his family has the benefit of tricare, i would presume. it is true that medicaid is
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different. i would prefer the mandate did not exist either. i would like to preserve the law as it is. as it is, a permanent resident, until he has been here five years, would not be entitled to this benefit. this changes our law. i suggest to keep the law the way it is today. >> call the -- >> no. >> mr. conrad, no. no. mrs. lincoln. >> no. no by proxy. mr. schumer. mr. schumer, no. no.
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no. mr. nelson. no. mr. menendez. no. mr. carper no by proxy. mr. grassley. >> aye. >> aye. mr. hatch. aye. mrs. snow, aye. mr. kyle, aye. mr. bunning, aye. mr. crapo, aye. mr. roberts aye by proxy. mr. ensign aye by proxy. aye by proxy. mr. chairman. >> aye. >> no. no. >> the chairman votes no. mr. chairman the final tal se10 ayes and 13 nays. >> the amendment is not agreed
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to. >> my colleagues and i have a list here. it is unclear how many amendments there are. 11 or 12 amendments. i also note that most are amendments offered by democrats. there are only three on the list that are republican amendments. maybe some of our amendments can be accepted, maybe some can be folded into another amendment. maybe we can knock them on the floor. i just wanted to point out that there are some on our side that can work themselves out without having to vote for them. >> mr. chairman, i think i had two amendments that i offered still pending. i just would notice now that i do not intend to offer those
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amendments in the interest of allowing people to complete their work and get home to their families and live to fight another day. that is my intention. >> thank you senator very much. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. chairman my amendment is pretty straightforward. what we have before us will require all consumers to purchase health care in the private marketplace bringing millions of new customers to private insurance companies. it would set a reasonable limit of $500,000 annually that can be deducted as a business expense for businesses that provide coverage meaning the individual mandate requirements. it does not dictate at all what a business pays an employee,
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but it does limit the taxpayers subsidies for that compensation. let me be very clear on this point. without this change under current law every arkansas taxpayer, every u.s. taxpayer, subsidizes these big insurance executive unlimited salaries and deferred compensation packages. it is my hope mr. chairman that this amendment will encourage the insurance companies to put the additional premium dollars that they will be bringing in as a result of the new manidate. the new insistence that all americans be covered towards lower rates and more affordable coverage for consumers. we heard how important it is that everyone be at the table
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in trying to achieve what we are working hard to achieve, health care reform that is going to benefit all of americans and to be effective for our economy. there is evidence they need thisen colonelment, particularly now. over the last two decades. the formula that determines what percentage of profits goes to patient care vs. the administrative and marketing expenditures which senator rockefeller mentioned earlier has shifted. they spent more than 90 cents of every dollar in the early 1990's that has decreased to 81 cents in 2007. according to testimony and senator rockefeller's commerce committee earlier this year the shift translated into a difference of several billion
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in favor of insurance company shareholders and executives at the expense of health care providers and their patients. we need to do what we can to reverse the trend now when the number of dollars coming into these companies will be increasing substantially. we have heard conversations from the other side about how important it is to create incentives, work to help people have healthy habits. it is so important here as we are providing a whole new marketplace for the american insurance industry to be able to encourage again those healthy habits of moving back to where we were in the 1990's where 90 cents of those dollars were going into patient care.
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again, i don't preclude any of them, any insurance industries or anyone from being able to pay what they would like to pay to their employees. but subsidizing it by taxpayer dollars will not be acceptable. those defending the status quo for health insurance companies and in opposition of my amendment argued that if we do not maintain the existing tax subsidy for this compensation the cost of the compensation will be passed on to the consumers. what they do not really seem to understand is that the american people are the ones footing the bill anyway. this is a tax windfall for health insurance executive pay. with an estimated 20 million new customers and their corresponding dollars rolling
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in we can assume health insurance companies will have additional profits coming in. what exactly will they be doing with those profits? a final point, the opposing view that it will result in higher premium cost to consumers illustrates a lack of forward thinking and understanding of what the chairman's mark actually does. their assumption is based on the current broken marketplace where insurance companies bully their customers and monopolize choices. these companies will have to work to keep the business they have we want to insure our
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private insurers stay health and he want to make sure that as we provide a captive audience in terms of consumers, that there is not a wind fall or a temptation to those not guilty industry to use those tax subsidies to pay executive compensation. mr. chairman, i think this is a fair policy change that is aimed at reassuring american consumers and taxpayers that health insurance executives are not receiving a personal wind fall, and the companies that they work for are not receiving excessive tax breaks while at the same time profiting from a government mandate. i think it is so critical looking forward in what we are


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