Chosen by Republican Leader to discuss health care reform legislation
Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is delivering a national address on the health care legislation expected to be considered by the U.S. Senate Saturday evening. Crapo was chosen by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to offer the Republican response to the President's weekly radio address. The address airs Saturday morning on many radio stations.
"Americans are calling on Congress for health care reform because they can no longer tolerate its skyrocketing cost," Crapo said. "They want us to stop the punishing increases in insurance premiums and health care costs that, year after year, are driving families across this nation to the edge. And, they want us to ensure that they have meaningful access to quality health care. But, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally revealed the 2,074-page bill that has been crafted for weeks now behind closed doors, that's hardly what we got.
"This two-thousand page bill will:
• Drive up the cost of health care insurance and medical care, not down;
• Increase taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars;
• Cut Medicare for senior citizens by hundreds of billions of dollars;
• Grow the federal government by over $2.4 trillion in new spending;
• Push the needy uninsured into a failing Medicaid system;
• Impose a damaging unfunded mandate on our struggling states;
• Leave millions of Americans uninsured; and
• Establish a massive governmental intrusion into management of our health care economy.
"This is not true health care reform, and it is not what the American people want. This bill will result in higher premiums and higher health care costs for Americans - period.
"At a time when we are experiencing record double-digit unemployment, the Reid bill raises taxes by nearly half a trillion dollars. A significant number of these provisions violate President Obama's promise to the American people, namely that lower- and middle-class Americans would not see a tax increase under his proposals. And, yet, this bill clearly breaks that promise as it taxes a wide range of Americans: the uninsured and the insured; families with so-called high value insurance plans; employers who create jobs or provide retiree drug coverage; individuals who need medicines or medical devices; and many others. It also levies fines and penalties on individuals, families and businesses.
"Medicare faces cuts of nearly $500 billion to create the new government entitlement, even though Medicare is already facing enormous unfunded liabilities and looming insolvency. These cuts will reduce access to and the quality of care our seniors receive from a number of Medicare providers, including hospitals, nursing homes, home health and hospice services. And, as they see their access to and quality of care reduced, seniors enrolled in the popular Medicare Advantage plans will also lose many of the benefits that they enjoy today.
"We are already experiencing record deficits and debt, and yet, this bill creates a massive expansion of government, growing the size of the federal government by over $2.4 trillion over ten full years of implementation. When you take away the budget gimmicks used in the early years of the implementation that make the total cost look smaller, the truth is glaring and the Congressional Budget Office agrees: this plan will increase federal spending and health costs, not lower them. That means both you and the federal government will see costs go up.
"The legislation pushes 15 million people into the failing Medicaid system rather than giving them access to health insurance. And, in addition to forcing the neediest of the uninsured into a failing entitlement program, this expansion will result in $25 billion in unfunded Medicaid mandates on the states, which are already struggling financially. This mandate further jeopardizes state budgets as it forces them to drive up spending.
"The bill creates a government option insurance company and establishes unprecedented expansion of governmental control over health care. It establishes the government as the determiner of what kind of insurance Americans can purchase. It also imposes new federal mandates on all Americans. The first mandate would apply to the individual: buy insurance or the IRS will collect a fine from you. Then, on employers: face a penalty if you don't provide a government-approved health plan. The bill imposes $28 billion in new taxes on employers who don't comply. Those new taxes would be passed along to employees in the form of reduced wages and lost jobs.
"You're going to hear a lot about this bill. That's why I encourage you to read the bill yourself and form your own opinion. The bill is available on my website as well as a number of other Internet sites. Take a close look at how the bill is funded and who and what it covers and doesn't cover and how it may impact you and your family. It's a real eye-opener!
"In recent months, I've heard from many Idahoans in my home state about health care, and they echo what Americans want in health care reform--lower costs and better quality. What Americans really want is the kind of step-by-step reforms that Republicans have been advocating for years - common-sense ideas like the ability to purchase insurance across state lines, allowing small businesses to pool together to offer more affordable health insurance to their employees; changing the incentives in our system from numbers of procedures to quality of outcomes; eliminating pre-existing condition limitations, equalizing the tax treatment of insurance; eliminating waste, fraud and abuse and promoting wellness and prevention programs that encourage people to make healthy choices. These are the kinds of reform that make sense and would really make a difference for all Americans. Thank you for listening."
Crapo's comments can be viewed on his YouTube site at: http://www.youtube.com/senatorcrapo