WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) today spoke on the Senate Floor in opposition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) new health care bill, which was unveiled over the weekend. The measure cuts even more from Medicare for seniors than the previous version and adds additional taxes.
“This bill still cuts Medicare for seniors, it still raises taxes, and it still does nothing to lower the costs of health insurance. In fact, for many Americans, it will result in health care cost increases,” said LeMieux. “Why do we need to rush this bill through before Christmas, before we have had a chance to read it and amend it and improve it? The issue of providing affordable access to health care is too important and too big an issue to move hastily. In its current form, this is not a good bill for America.”
During his floor speech, Senator LeMieux offered an amendment to extend to the state of Florida the same benefit that will provide 100 percent federal funding to the state of Nebraska for the expanded Medicaid program mandated by this bill. Senator LeMieux’s amendment to give Florida the same treatment as Nebraska was objected to by the Democrats.
The 2,733 page Reid Amendment was unveiled Saturday, December 19, 2009. The Senate is expected to vote on the health care bill possibly as early as Christmas Eve, December 24, 2009. The bill:
Cuts Medicare: $470.7 billion
Increases Taxes: $518.5 billion
o The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the gross cost of the insurance coverage expansion is $23 billion higher under the manager’s amendment.
o Federal revenues (mainly because of the payroll tax) increase by about $26 billion.
o All told, the amendment reduces the deficit an additional $2 billion (from $130 billion to $132 billion).
o The $132 billion in deficit reduction is less than the $156 billion deficit for October. In other words, any possible savings over 10 years of this bill are already erased by the deficit spending in the last month alone.
o CBO said that the range of uncertainty for their estimate outside the 10-year budget window is “quite wide” and “subject to substantial uncertainty.”
The federal cost curve still goes UP:
“Under the legislation, federal outlays for health care would increase during the 2010–2019 period, as would the federal budgetary commitment to health care. The net increase would be about $200 billion over that 10-year period.”
· There is a slight increase in coverage, with 23 million left uninsured as opposed to 24 million in the base bill.
Premiums: Despite the fact that Democrats have said that changes in the manager’s package would improve the delivery system, CBO said that it is likely the amendment would have little impact on premiums.
Unfunded Mandates: State spending on Medicaid and SCHIP would increase by about $26 billion over the 10 year budget window (up from $23 billion in the earlier bill). Only one state, Nebraska, was given relief from this unfunded mandate.